Health & Safety Fees For Intervention: What is FFI?
Since the introduction of the Fee for Intervention Regulations 2012, the Health & Safety Executive can charge for all work undertaken following an inspection where there has been an incident or a complaint against a “duty holder” and the Inspector has formed the opinion that there is a material breach of health & safety law.
A notification will be served and then a fee will be charged for all the time spent by the Health & Safety Executive in investigating, inspecting and advising on how to remedy the breach of law. The rate is set at £124 per hour.
Unlike enforcement notices, this type of notification is not placed on a public register. However, care must be taken in deciding what to do when an invoice is received. By accepting it there is no guarantee that it will not be used by the Health & Safety Executive in support of future prosecution. To simply pay the invoice may also have potential consequences in the future. The first invoice maybe for a small amount but the Health & Safety Executive inspector can continue to issue further invoices if it is believed that the breaches have not been rectified. This means other invoices can be issued and the costs can escalate. By paying the first invoice without question it may be difficult to go on to make a challenge for the further ones.
The invoices can be challenged, firstly by sending in a query about the invoice within 21 days of receiving it. If the Health & Safety Executive reply is not accepted, a “dispute” can be submitted which is dealt with by a panel headed by an independent chair.
If the dispute is rejected, the costs of dealing with the complaint are added to the invoices for the original material breach.
If the dispute is accepted, the Health & Safety Executive will refund the business in full and not charge for the costs in dealing with the complaint.
The key is to get appropriate advice as quickly as possible.