HSE Expert Solicitors
HSE Investigations - Fee For Intervention
Under The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, companies that the HSE consider are in material breach of any health and safety laws are liable for HSE’s related costs, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action.
What Is Fee For Intervention?
HSE’s inspectors inspect work activities and investigate incidents and complaints. If, when visiting your business, they see material breaches of the law, you will have to pay a fee. The fee is based on the amount of time that the inspector has had to spend identifying the breach, helping you to put it right, investigating and taking enforcement action.
Cost Of Fee For Intervention
The fee payable by dutyholders found to be in material breach of the law is £154 per hour.
Between October 2012 and July 2015 HSE issued 47,830 invoices under the scheme. At the start of the scheme the average invoice to a company was £520.00.
This has now risen to £770.00. The largest invoice issued to date was for £201,150.00. The amount recovered under the scheme for the year up to July 2015 was £8.7m.
Can You Dispute An Invoice ?
Yes. If a business disagrees with an invoice that they receive from the HSE, they can submit a query to the HSE within 21 days. If they are not satisfied with the response, they can raise a dispute which must be submitted in writing. This will be considered by a panel of HSE staff and an independent representative. If it’s not upheld, the business will have to pay for HSE’s time spent handling the dispute as well as the time taken to resolve the material breach. If the dispute is upheld, HSE will refund invoices which have been paid and will not charge a fee for handling the dispute.
Since the scheme began only 1,347 invoices have been challenged which represents 2.8% of all invoices issued.
The Effect Of An Invoice
An invoice is not a matter of public record, so does not have the same effect on a client's reputation as an enforcement notice. However, careful consideration should be given prior to making payment for two reasons.
Firstly, invoices will be issued every two months until the inspector is satisfied the breach has been remedied, so paying the first one does not mean there are not more to come and will make it difficult to challenge later ones.
Secondly, it is very important to realise that the HSE has stated it cannot give any assurance that the fact an invoice has been paid will not be used in evidence in any subsequent criminal prosecution - so effectively used as a confession.
Take Control Let Us Guide You
FSW can provide you with the expert help and experience to ensure the right decisions are made at the right time when dealing with issues concerning fees for intervention. Fees and subsequent fines under the new Sentencing Guidelines are on the increase and can prove financially disastrous and must be handled correctly if the best outcome is to be achieved.
Let us help you and provide the support and expertise required in dealing with these difficult and often stressful issues, please contact us by telephone on 0207 993 6960 or email Michael Appleby.
Our related health and safety services include: