A Guide to HSE Fee For Intervention (FFI)

These days, Health & Safety are paramount for any organisation. However, staying on top of regulations, especially the HSE Fee For Intervention (FFI) scheme, can be intimidating.

Facing FFI consequences is something every business wants to avoid, as it could lead to substantial financial setbacks without the right protocols in place. In this article, we’ll explore the HSE Fee For Intervention (FFI) scheme to help you stay informed, compliant and cost-efficient.

 

What Is the HSE Fee For Intervention (FFI) Scheme?

The Fee For Intervention (FFI) scheme is a regulatory measure introduced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in October 2012. It aims to make sure that those responsible (e.g. duty holders) for material breaches of Health & Safety law bear the associated costs. Put simply, if your business is found breaking the law, you may incur FFI charges to cover the HSE’s inspection and enforcement costs.

 

Who does the HSE Fee For Intervention apply to?

FFI applies to a wide range of businesses across various industries such as construction, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, education, and so on. Whether you’re a small or large enterprise, if you operate within the UK and fall under the purview of HSE regulations, FFI applies to you. This includes employers, self-employed individuals, public and limited companies, contractors, and anyone else with duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

 

How much does the Fee For Intervention cost?

The cost of a Fee For Intervention is determined by the HSE’s hourly rate for inspection and enforcement activities. As of 1st April 2024, the rate has increased from £166 to £174 per hour.

The HSE states: “This is an inflationary increase to make sure we continue to recover the full cost of any relevant activity. It is consistent with our strategy of regularly updating rates to maintain our regulatory functions.”

The fee covers the time an HSE inspector spends at your business. However, the total billed amount depends on how long and complex the intervention is. The Fee for Intervention charges include:

  • Preparing reports
  • Gathering advice
  • Obtaining specialist advice
  • Discussing issues with you
  • Talking to your staff

The fee is different for every business and can depend on:

  • The duration of the original visit
  • The time spent to identify and rectify issues
  • How long it took to investigate your case
  • Time spent on taking action against you

So, the total fee can’t be determined right away, making it crucial to focus on compliance with the Health and Safety Executive to avoid unnecessary expenses.

Read our post for more information on how FFI is calculated across the UK.

 

When would a Fee for Intervention be issued?

A Fee for Intervention may be issued when the HSE identifies a material breach of Health & Safety law during an inspection. A material breach refers to any violation that requires formal intervention to address, typically posing significant risk or non-compliance with legal requirements.

Examples of a material breach

  • A lack of personal protective equipment (PPE): Failure to provide employees with necessary safety gear such as helmets, gloves, or goggles, especially in high-risk environments like construction sites.
  • Improper training: If employees haven’t received proper training on handling hazardous materials or operating machinery safely this could lead to serious injuries or fatalities.
  • Ignoring risk assessments: Disregarding the results of risk assessments or failing to conduct them altogether leaves workers exposed to potential workplace hazards.
  • Poor maintenance of equipment: Neglecting to maintain equipment regularly can increase the risk of malfunctions or accidents.

Upon discovery, the HSE will issue a notification detailing the breach and the affiliated FFI costs.

 

Can you dispute a Fee for Intervention?

If you believe that the decision to charge FFI was incorrect or unjust, you have the right to challenge it through an appeals process. To initiate an appeal, you typically need to submit a formal request to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) within a specified timeframe, usually 21 days from receiving the FFI invoice.

In your appeal, you should provide detailed reasons why you believe the decision to charge FFI was wrong. This could include demonstrating that you were compliant with Health & Safety regulations at the time of the inspection, disputing the accuracy of the information provided by the inspector, or highlighting any procedural errors in the FFI process.

The appeal will be reviewed by an independent panel appointed by the HSE, who will assess the evidence presented by both parties before reaching a decision. If your appeal is successful, the FFI charges may be waived, reduced, or refunded. It’s essential to carefully review the grounds for appeal and provide compelling evidence to support your case.

 

How do you pay an FFI invoice?

Typically, the Health and Safety Executive will send out an FFI invoice every two months and you’ll have 30 days to pay the full amount unless you’re querying or disputing it. Pay close attention to the payment deadline specified on the invoice to avoid any late payment penalties or additional charges.

Once the payment is made, retain a copy of the payment confirmation or receipt for your records. This documentation serves as proof of payment in case of any queries or discrepancies.

If you can’t pay the FFI invoice, a debt collection agency (on behalf of the HSE) may demand payment, which could lead to court action.

 

How can you avoid FFI costs?

Prevention is always better than cure, and the same holds true for FFI costs. Here are some proactive steps you can take to reduce the risk of HSE Fee For Intervention charges:

  1. Stay informed: Keep updated on relevant Health & Safety regulations applicable to your industry.
  2. Regular audits: Conduct regular internal audits to identify and rectify any potential breaches before they escalate.
  3. Training and awareness: Make sure all staff members receive Health & Safety training to promote a culture of compliance.
  4. Consult professionals: Seek guidance from Health & Safety experts to assess any vulnerabilities within your organisation.

 

How Citation can help

Remember, compliance isn’t just about avoiding FFI fines—it’s about protecting your most valuable asset: your people.

If you need help, Citation’s Health & Safety experts are here for you 24/7, ready to offer FFI advice and know exactly what it takes to keep your business on the right side of the law.

While you’re here, be sure to explore our HR advice and Employment Law services to discover how our team can help you. Contact us today.

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