What Is theFee For Intervention(FFI) Scheme?
In this article, we’re looking at the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Fee for Intervention scheme (commonly known as FFI). The FFI scheme is a cost recovery scheme whereby the HSE can charge businesses that fail to meet their legal obligations and are found to be in material breach of health and safety law.
The scheme was initially launched in October 2012 to support the HSE’s operations, whilst relieving the financial burden from taxpayers to businesses. HSE are the enforcing authority concerning health and safety issues. Where the organisation or individual is not breaking the law, no fees will apply.
In the scheme, if a HSE inspector visits a business and identifies a material breach of the health and safety regulations, which is considered to be of such severity that demands action to be taken, an inspector will formally write to the business to give Notification of Contravention (NoC), also known as an improvement notice. The NoC will include these three elements:
- The law that the inspector considers has been broken
- The reason/reasons for their opinion
- Notification that a fee is payable.
The clock starts ticking and the business is liable for:
- The length of time the inspector, or inspectors’ are on-site, per inspector
- The length of time to write letters or compile reports
- The length of time to gather information and evidence
- All other costs relating to any subsequent investigation, as well.
On the HSE webpage, ‘HSE: Fee For Intervention – What is FFI?‘ they announced that from the 1st April 2021, the Fee for Intervention rate for 2021/22 was subject to an inflationary increase of 2.2%. This saw the hourly rate risefrom £157 to £160.
In the announcement of the cost-recovery rate, HSE stated: “We are required to set our rates with the aim of recovering the full cost of any relevant activity. This increase is consistent with our strategy of regularly updating rates to maintain our regulatory functions. We’re continuing to follow cross-government debt recovery policies, and we’ll continue to offer flexibility to any duty holders who might be experiencing financial hardship.”
The fee is applied to the length of the time for the entire original visit, however, the total amount recovered is based on the amount of time it takes to fully identify and rectify any breaches, including any associated administration office work. An inspector’s time may include time spent…
- At the workplace
- Preparing reports, such as improvement or prohibition notices, or even enforcement notices
- Liaising with you and your workers during and after the visitors, and;
- Getting specialist advice, if required.
It’s essential to consider that the fee can significantly vary, depending on:
- The length of time the original visit was identifying the breach
- The length of time the inspector spent enforcing action, helping you to put things right
- The length of time it took the inspector to investigate your case, and;
- Any time we spend on taking action against you.
Who Does Fee For InterventionApply To?
The FFI scheme applies to duty-holders where HSE is the enforcing authority. This includes:
- Self-employed who put others at risk
- Public and limited companies
- General, limited and limited liability partnerships
- Crown and public bodies.
What Does TheLawSay?
Under theHealth and Safety and Nuclear (Fees) Regulations 2021, a duty-holder is liable for paying fees that derive actions from an inspector’s site visit, under two conditions.
- When contravening (or has contravened) health and safety laws; and
- When a HSE inspector is of the opinion that the person is (or has), notifies the duty-holder in writing.
How Is ItRegulated?
HSE has produced anEnforcement Management Model (EMM), which is used in tandem with theEnforcement Policy Statement (EPS). The EMM is a framework that all inspectors adhere to when making enforcement decisions.
The framework ensures that inspectors adhere to the same process between different businesses between various material breaches of the legislation. The framework creates consistency when investigating, taking enforcement action and serving health and safety fees on businesses.
What Does This Mean ForYour Business?
The Fee For Intervention scheme can be bad news for your business. It means the duty holder could be liable for any costs incurred from the HSE through the scheme for any breaches to health and safety legislation.
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What ToExpectWhen An Inspector Calls?
Here’s the HSE’s ‘When an Inspector Calls’ video, which details exactly what to expect, what they’re looking for, how the process works, what they’ll do and who’ll they’ll speak to when they’re at your business.
As stated in the HSE’sHSC14 – When a Health and Safety Inspector Callsdocument, the HSE are there to keep people safe and healthy at work. They visit thousands of businesses and locations every year, and your visit is one of many that’s completed every day.
It’s important to remember that the HSE may have arrived without warning too, which may mean it may not be worth risking not complying with the legislation and regulations.
How Can YouAvoidFee For Intervention Costs?
You can avoid Fee For Intervention costs by providing a comprehensive local exhaust system, that’s tailored to your business’s process and extraction requirements.
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