Health and Safety Executive new procedures: how they affect your business

In June 2012the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced a set of new procedures, termed Fee for Intervention (FFI). These would allow the HSE to recover its investigation costs from businesses directly. It would be applied only in cases where a business fails to observe health and safety law.

Apprehensions have been running amok amongst business owners, managers and charities especially smaller ones as there seems to be no upper limit to the costs, which, will only be billed after a complete inspection.

The FFI’s (Fee for Intervention) hourly rate has been set at £124, and until the business corrects the issues (with HSE’s help), it will continue being charged.

The HSE has pointed out earlier that businesses and organisations which comply with the law have nothing to fear. However, Steffan Groch, the head of regulatory and litigation team at business law firm DFW points out that “If the operation of your business puts others at risk – including employees and members of the public – then the HSE will hold the company responsible as a duty holder. You also mustn’t overlook activity carried out by contractors, as requesting work to be carried out on your behalf will mean you automatically have a duty.

Amidst all the fears and speculation, there is only one thing you can do to protect your business from potential investigations – be ready. Run up to date risk assessments and make sure everyone who may be be affected is made aware of all the factors. Inform, educate and clarify, and if the need be, re-train your employees. Also, make sure that your insurance policy is up to date. Businesses need to avoid being complacent, as risks are even higher as they can’t get away by paying a mere fine, the cost of the investigation could actually trump any court imposed punishment.

If you are looking for more advice and information on how to properly train or re-train your employees, contact us now.

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