Health and safety enforcement is on the rise after a number of years of falling statistics. The number of notices issued in 2016/17 was 11,913 however the number of prosecutions fell to 554.
Not every health and safety breach is prosecuted and it is only the most serious of offences that are however if a material breach is found on an inspection then it can result in a Fee for Intervention.
In this weeks’ blog, we are going to look at what a Fee for Intervention is, how much it costs and the circumstances under which you will have to pay.
What is a Fee for Intervention?
A Fee for Intervention is the cost associated with a Health and Safety Inspector finding what is known as a material breach at your premises and it covers the time to not only identify what is wrong but also the time to rectify the issue afterwards.
This includes the cost of the original visit, preparing a report, receiving specialist advice if applicable and then going through the findings and recommendations with you afterwards. A material breach is defined as a health and safety issue that is serious enough for an inspector to formally write to your business.
We covered the basics of what Health and Safety Inspectors can do in a previous post. If they only offer advice or informal guidance then the Fee for Intervention won’t apply. When you receive the formal Notification of Contravention then it should outline what law has specifically been broken, why the inspector feels that the law has been broken and also details of the fee itself.
How much will it cost?
There is no one set cost for a Fee for Intervention.
It is billed at a rate of £129 per hour and this includes the time of the original visit. Every case is different so the cost to each business will fluctuate depending on how long they have to spend on each inspection and the follow up work too.
After the introduction of Fee for Intervention, 61% of companies were invoiced for less than £500 and 83% were billed for less than £1000. Invoices larger than £1000 were generally found to be issued for health and safety breaches that resulted in an ‘incident’.
When do you have to pay?
You only need to pay a Fee for Intervention when you have been issued with a formal Notification of Contravention.
If the health and safety inspector has only offered you advice – this can be both verbal and written advice – then you are not required to pay a fee. You can dispute the fee – the HSE has some useful guidance for this – and you need to submit this dispute within 21 days of receiving the notice.
The Fee for Intervention has to be paid within 30 days of being issued.