Since 2012 when the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) first instigated its Fee for Intervention Scheme (FFI) at £124.00 per hour, the cost has increased regularly with the latest increase of 2.2% (effective from 1st April 2021), bringing the hourly rate you can be billed to its current amount of £160.00. This is a daily rate (8 hr.) of £1,280.00, for advice that you likely did not request and, will probably wish you had never needed.
There is only one sure way to avoid these costs and that is to ensure that you are never in the position of presenting a material breach to an Enforcement Officer, i.e. a breach of the regulations so significant that the inspector feels it necessary to inform to you of their opinion in writing.
Employers will be able to make it difficult for the HSE to justify taking any form of formal action by being in a position to demonstrate that a proactive approach to managing the risks pertaining to their work activities is in place. HSE’s priority, will always be those employers who are not ensuring their workforce is safe and free from ill health caused by or at work.
There is one method of getting this right and that is with the effective use of risk assessments that have been undertaken by competent individuals that are familiar with your operations and understand the effects your activities can have on individuals or groups.
Risk assessments provide the foundation; your actions will then demonstrate that you have correctly allocated the required resources to areas where you will derive real benefit in terms of risk reduction. You must be able to show that you:
- Acknowledge all risks identified in the risk assessments;
- Aim to achieve specific control of these risks by detailing how they will be tackled;
- Assign responsibility for the implementation of control measures;
- Allocate resources needed to implement the control measures;
- Establish an overall monitoring and reviewing process to determine the level of progress you are making.
Constantly review the situation. Things happen or change and you need to ensure your policies and procedures develop and grow, just as your business develops and grows. Changes may be within your control, i.e. new processes or new people, or outside of your control, i.e., new technology or changes in the law. Each must be considered and incorporated into your health and safety plans.
The more often you review things such as risk assessments, the more likely they will be up to date when the Enforcement Authority calls. If they are happy with the way things are being run and the steps you have taken to reduce existing risks, then it is probable they will go and spend their time looking at another employer who really does need their help and intervention.