Inspectors now quicker to identify breaches than provide support
A ‘client survey’ by international law firm DAC Beachcroft is reported to have found that “the dynamic around HSE visits has changed dramatically” since the introduction of Fee for Intervention.
Since 1 October 2012 organisations have been invoiced at £124 an hour when notified in writing that an HSE Inspectors has identifed a ‘material breach’ during a site visit.
The charge covers HSE time spent in identifying, investigating and resolving the breach. The charges must be paid within 30 days.
Sally Roff, Partner and Head of the Safety, Health and Environment team at DAC Beachcroft, commented:
“We have been working closely with our clients to understand how FFI is being implemented on the ground and to support them with action plans for future visits.
The overwhelming feeling from our national client survey is that the dynamic around HSE visits has changed dramatically, with organisations complaining of a ‘double whammy’ in that HSE inspectors are quick to identify a material breach, yet the advice they have provided to organisations in the past is frequently less available.
The HSE’s 12-month review of the scheme is an opportunity for it to look at balancing its requirement to self-fund with the importance of maintaining an advisory relationship with the organisations it regulates.
Our survey also showed that fewer than 50 per cent of those who oversaw the HSE visit in the workplace had heard of FFI prior to the inspector turning up on site. Organisations must ensure that those in key positions on their sites, not just in the board room, understand the implications of FFI, are given the resources to ensure compliance and know how to keep costs to a minimum in the event of a material breach being found.”