The Health and Safety Executive's controversial new Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme, is now in force.
Under The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, those who break health and safety laws are liable for recovery of HSE's related costs. Under FFI, costs would be recovered if, during an inspection or investigation, a material breach – a failure to adhere to health and safety law identified by an inspector as requiring formal action - is discovered. Fees would apply up to the point where HSE’s intervention in supporting businesses in putting matters right has concluded.
HSE will review how FFI is working after the first twelve months of operation, and within three years of the regime coming into effect. The review reports will be published on their website.
BWF Policy Executive Matt Mahony commented;
“With the scheme trial period revealing that a significant number of dutyholders fell short of compliance, businesses are already asking if cost recovery will be consistently applied, and whether HSE’s priorities will continue to be driven by improving health and safety outcomes.
"HSE have forged ahead with ‘Fee For Intervention’ despite trade associations such as BWF raising concerns with them over how fair and transparent the charges will be, and noting that even minor HSE interventions could have hefty bills attached to them.”
Detailed dutyholder guidance has been published on HSE’s website setting out how the scheme will work in practice. The guidance includes examples of how the fees will be applied.
The BWF has been keeping you up to date with the proposals since they were raised early last year. The FFI hourly rate for 2012/13 is £124 but we stress that businesses complying with their legal obligations will continue to pay nothing. We are doing all that we can to ensure that BWF members do not fall foul of the new rules and are monitoring how the scheme is being implemented. Members who want to feed back their views about the scheme or have an enquiry relating to it can ring our FFI hotline on 0844 209 2610.
You are reminded that having a Health and Safety Policy, completing risk assessments, getting LEV tested and having a fully qualified first aider are amongst the legal requirements for most joinery companies. The BWF has prepared draft Health and Safety policies within the Health and Safety Publications section of the website. Our guidance also includes the set of Machine Safety Cards, and the comprehensive ‘BWF Guide to Health and Safety in the woodworking industry’, which members can download for free.
You can also get your Health and Safety audited through the BWF's Total Support Services with reduced rates for BWF members.