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HSE to charge employers who contravene Health & Safety law

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed that the“Fee for Intervention” scheme will come into force on 6 April 2012. Under thescheme, employers who contravene health and safety law will be forced to paythe HSE’s formal enforcement costs at a rate of £124 an hour.

The FfI scheme will be introduced by the Health and Safety(Fees) Regulations 2012 and will be subject to annual review. Costs will berecovered where the HSE has to make a formal written intervention to address analleged contravention of health and safety law, such as the issue of anenforcement letter or enforcement notice.

For the avoidance of doubt, FfI will not apply in relationto verbal advice and the HSE's existing power to recover prosecution costsfollowing successful conviction (in England & Wales only) is unaffected.

The scheme will apply in nearly all sectors enforced by theHSE other than those where a charging scheme already exists, such as offshoreenergy and certain other hazardous industries.

The scheme will not be applied to activities regulated bylocal authority inspectors for health and safety (e.g. shops and office-basedbusinesses). It remains to be seen exactly how the charging regime will work inpractice and whether the inconsistency of the HSE charging for interventionwhere local authorities cannot will prove problematic.

This article first appeared in Law-Now, CMS CameronMcKenna's free online information service, and has been reproduced with theirpermission. For more information about Law-Now, click here.

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