FFI Increases to £154.00 per hour
In 2012, the HSE instigated its Fee for Intervention Scheme, the cost of which was £124.00 per hour. This was subsequently increased to £129.00 and now, as of the 6th April 2019, the hourly charge for the Fee for Intervention has increased again to £154.00, nearly £1250 per day for advice that you did not request and, will probably wish you had never needed.
Originally the charge was a way of transferring the burden of the cost away from the tax payer and onto businesses who were failing to manage their health & safety as per their legal requirement. However, with the HSE again operating at a loss 2017- 2018 the increase is seen to be needed and is still only targeted at companies who are not keeping to their legal responsibilities.
The HSE normally invoices on a two monthly basis (January / March / May / July / September / November) for these costs and will expect the payment within 30 days if you have not queried the invoice within 21 days.
If the investigation involves more than one inspecting officer, the fee will increase as, on occasions when specialists are required to accompany inspectors to provide expert advice, costs will be recovered for this. In effect, for each inspector on site you could be charged £154 per hour unless their activities are specifically excluded from the Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme.
There is only one sure way to avoid these costs and that is to ensure that you are never in a position of material breach, a breach so significant that the inspector feels it necessary to inform you of their opinion in writing.
Look to make it as difficult as possible for the HSE to justify taking any form of formal action to which FFI could apply. Commitment from the management team and demonstrating a proactive approach to managing the risks will go a long way to winning over the hearts and minds of HSE inspectors. Do not be one of the employers who pay scant regard to the law as these will be the HSE’s priority, not employers who are trying their best to ensure their workforce is safe and free from ill health caused by work.
You must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the real risks in your business, those with real potential for causing harm and show a proactive approach to dealing with them. There is only one method of getting this right and that is with the effective use of risk assessments that have been undertaken by individuals that are familiar with your operations and understand the effect your activities can have on individuals or groups.
Risk assessments provide the foundation; your actions will 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 as things happen or change, as 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 it is to be up-to-date if and or when an inspector calls. If they are happy with the way you run things and the steps you have taken to reduce existing risks, then it is probable they will spend their time looking at another employer who really does need their help and intervention.