HSE gets new powers to recover costs

October 3, 2012

Organisations which are found by the Health and Safety Executive to be in breach of health and safety laws will be charged £124-an-hour for the time taken to rectify the problem as of 1 October 2012. At the moment this legislation applies in England and Wales but it is anticipated that equivalent provisions will be introduced in Northern Ireland in the near future.

Under the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, the Fee for Intervention will see businesses that are found to be in material breach of health and safety laws liable for the recovery of the HSE’s costs related to the breach.

The HSE will charge businesses for investigations if they are found to be in material breach of health and safety laws. A material breach, according to the HSE, is when an inspector deems thatthere has been a contravention of health and safety law that is serious enough to require them to notify the person in material breach of that opinion in writing.

Organisations can now be charged for the time taken by the HSE to rectify the problem. The fee will cover the cost of the investigation, rectifying the material breach and any enforcement action. The HSE said that law-abiding businesses will incur no costs, and for those that do, the sooner the breach is rectified the lower the costs will be. Maria O’Loan, Director of Cleaver Fulton Rankin says:

“The fee for intervention provides a further incentive for businesses to manage health and safety effectively and to ensure that they comply with the law. If businesses are to avoid substantial fines, corporate manslaughter charges and damage to reputation, they must take their health and safety obligations seriously. This means having in place clear policies, training and risk assessments. ”

For further information on the legal obligations facing your business, contact Maria O’Loan of Cleaver

Fulton Rankin at m.oloan@cfrlaw.co.uk or visit www.cfrlaw.co.uk.