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HSE FEE FOR INTERVENTION VISITS

Freedom of Information enquiry reveals construction on frontline 

The Construction Enquirer has reported the results of a Freedom of Information (FoI)  request by business law firm DWF concerning the number of visits undertaken following introduction of the HSE Fee for Intervention regime.

The DWF FoI request is reported to have revealed that that 373 construction sites were visited under the scheme between October 1 and November 30 2012 and that construction made up more than a third of the 903 visits which could result in a “Notification of Contravention.”

Steffan Groch, DWF regulatory partner, said:

“Little over three months into the implementation of its Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme, provisional statistics obtained from the HSE under the Freedom of Information Act show that it’s been busy at work. Although unable to provide the exact number of Notifications of Contravention, details of the 903 premises against which the HSE have recorded FFI time between 1 October and 30 November 2012, indicates there’s been work done across all industry sectors.

 Most notably, of the premises where FFI time has been recorded, 373 are within the construction sector. This figure is likely to be lower than the true number of construction sites at which the HSE spent time, as transient construction work is recorded against the head office address for the relevant duty holder. As such, there appears to have been a particular focus on this sector. It’s difficult to say why this is, but it could be due to the sector being an easy target for inspectors, or because greater clarity is needed around the legal obligations of the construction sector. Whatever the cause, operators in the construction sector should be aware.

 Anyone receiving an FFI invoice will have 21 days from receipt in which to query it, should they believe they weren’t in material breach of the law or the time the fee is charged for is incorrect. If they remain unhappy after the HSE’s response they will then have a further 21 days in which to lodge a dispute. With the resulting FFI invoices not due to be published until the end of this month, we will have to wait and see how many Notices of Contravention will be issued, and how many appeals result.”

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