Prepare for HSE Inspections: How to Avoid FFI

Printed money

Breaches can be costly. It pays to prevent them from happening.

The HSE’s Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme has allowed the non-departmental public body to recover costs from organisations that an HSE inspector has deemed to be in ‘material breach’ of health and safety legislation. However, the exact definition of a material breach is vague and left to the discretion of the HSE inspector. What’s more, even though an inspector may intend to examine one aspect of a business, he or she could branch off and discover additional material breaches.

Once a breach has been identified, the business will be charged £129 per hour whilst the inspector investigates and works to resolve the issue. To date, the HSE has recovered nearly £30 million, with the average fee costing each business more than £700. After an invoice has been served, your business has 21 days to either challenge or pay it.

However, by paying the invoice, your organisation admits to the breach of health and safety, which the HSE could cite as evidence in future cases against you. If your business chooses to pay the invoice, but does not agree that it was a material breach, be sure to tell the HSE that paying the invoice should not be taken as an admission of guilt.

For that reason, the most beneficial practice that your organisation can implement is a thorough risk management scheme for each task and piece of equipment, and a blanket scheme for your entire organisation. For more information on how your organisation can prioritise health and safety, contact the in-house risk management experts at Bollington on 01625 854300.