The Fee for Intervention Scheme (FFI) has been running since October 2012 and still shows no sign of letting up when it comes to fining companies. The scheme means that a fee is payable to the HSE if:
- A person is contravening or has contravened health and safety laws
- An inspector is of the opinion that the person is or has done so, and notifies the person in writing of that opinion.
Put simply it means that if an inspector finds a material breach of your business, then you will be required to pay a fee. Currently rates are at £129 per hour, however it isn’t just the time spent on site which you will be billed for. Your fee may include the inspector’s time:
- at your business or workplace
- preparing reports
- getting specialist advice
- talking to you or your workers after the visit
The fee can vary depending on:
- the length of the original visit
- the time the inspector spent helping you put things right
- the time it took the inspector to investigate your case
- any time the inspector or HSE spend on taking action against you and your company
Currently the average fines across all sectors are coming out between £650 and £750 however in the extraction, services and water or waste management industries this average rises to between £800 and £970.
How common are they?
Between the years of 2013/2014 the HSE conducted 23,472 pro-active investigations into UK businesses. Of those investigations about 32% led to a material breach being discovered and a further 15.9% of all inspections led to enforcement action. Therefore almost half of all investigations led to fines and further punishment.
Currently businesses in the manufacturing and construction arenas are the most likely to receive a FFI, and in August 2015 alone these industries were dealt with fines totalling £750,000 and £591,000 respectively.
The amounts are likely to be even higher today as in 2016 the fees increased by 4%, way above the national inflation rise.
To talk to our team about managing your health & safety risks in your business, contact us on 01302 341 344.
By Ian Clayton CMIOSH – Health & Safety Manager