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FIRMS FEAR HSE CHARGES WILL DAMAGE BUSINESS RELATIONS

Survey reveals worry over costs, consistency and collaboration

International law firm DAC Beachcroft has reported that over 65% of organisations responding to a survey by the firm international law firm expect to incur higher health and safety costs as a result of the HSE  Fee for Intervention’ (FFI) scheme which cam into operation at the start of October 2012.

Over 100 organisations across a range of industries, including construction, completed the DAC Beachcroft survey revealing that

  • Principle – some 80% of respondents agreed that the principle of an organisation having to pay the HSE for the cost of its inspectors resolving any breaches of H&S law was correct;
  • Consistency – concerns about the financial impact on their business were coupled with two thirds of respondents being concerned about the lack of consistency over implementation of the FFI scheme;
  • Collaboration – approximately 70% were worried that their relationship with the HSE would become less collaborative with 58% said they would be less likely to approach the HSE for advice.

Sally Roff, head of the Safety, Health & Environment Group at DAC Beachcrof, commented:

“The introduction of this new regime will significantly alter the relationships between organisations and the HSE, as its role changes from being predominantly advisory to largely enforcement.

We still need a far clearer definition from the HSE on what will equate to a ‘material breach’ so that it can’t be interpreted in different ways by different inspectors.

The best way for business to prepare is to ensure their health and safety processes and procedures are water tight and that their employees are well informed about the HSE’s new approach.”

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