Although the Fee for Intervention scheme did not arrive as expected in April that doesn’t mean it’s not coming. In fact, we are sure the legislation will be introduced this October 6th.
We know that the HSE have been going through a range of training in readiness for the legislation to ensure all implementation issues are ironed out before it comes into force. This has included trials on the ground in businesses and also on how letters will be set out to ensure charges are easily calculated and identifiable.
What the on-the-ground testing in businesses has proved to the HSE is that around 70% of businesses would face charges through the scheme. So we have to ask: “is your business ready for a HSE visit that could result in charges at £124 per hour?” We know that some of the more complicated HSE investigations can take a long time and a lot of man hours so the charges could easily mount up to significant sums of money.
It is also interesting to hear from the HSE that the £124 per hour rate does not apply to their specialist services such as HSE Laboratories; who are likely to charge at a far higher rate. In discussions with the HSE we have been told that if a piece of machinery was to be seized by the HSE and sent to their Laboratories for examination then this could cost in the region of £25,000.
Remember that these charges are only applied up until the case is to be presented for prosecution; after that the normal application for costs will be applied. And then there is the fine to consider.
We would urge businesses to seriously think about getting their health & safety in order before October as clearly it will be costly to wait for the knock on the door by the HSE.