We are still waiting to see the impact of the new Fee For Intervention (FFI) charging scheme but were concerned to hear some feedback from a client recently. They had a visit from an inspector just before FFI came into force and were shocked to be told on a number of occasions (by the inspector) how lucky they were the visit was timed before the 1st October.
The business had been handed an Improvement notice a number of years before and had apparently been on the inspectors radar because the notice was close to coming off their file. The inspector had decided that an unannounced site visit was in order and (strangely?) he seemed to be very short of time and in the clients eyes was not prepared to discuss issues in any great depth or listen to any points the client wanted to make.
He did however find a couple of what appeared to the client to be minor issues given the amount of effort they put into managing health & safety and said he would come back to them. He did a couple of days later with two improvement notices in hand; again he was pushed for time and did not want to allow the client time to respond. What he did again remind them was how lucky they were it was not under FFI.
This may be a one-off example of how inspectors are thinking but nevertheless provides a worrying insight into how inspectors could easily find things to go into print for. This would then lead to FFI charging at £124 per hour.
We truly hope a more sensible approach will be applied by the majority of inspectors but are concerned as to how this type of approach and attitude will adversely affect the relationship between the HSE and businesses.