Ask the expert: 9 questions on FFI

About the speaker…

Lee Mockridge joined Citation in 2007. With a NEBOSH General Certificate, NVQ Level 5 in Occupational Health & Safety and Fire Risk Assessment and HACCP qualifications to his name, his experience and expertise of Health & Safety requirements is far-reaching.

1. Who does Fee for Intervention (FFI) apply to?

FFI applies to businesses whose enforcing authority is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Owners, duty holders, employers and self-employed people who put others at risk (whether internal or external to the company) are liable for FFI. In terms of business-type, FFI applies to:

  • Public and limited companies
  • General, limited and limited liability partnerships
  • Crown and public bodies.

2. Why was FFI introduced?

As of the 1st October 2012 the HSE became self-funded, and introduced FFI to cover the costs incurred by its regulatory functions – such as the investigation of a material breach.

3. How much does FFI cost?

Businesses will be charged £129 per hour from the second an investigation starts. This fee applies to the entire investigation, until a solution or action has been taken. However, this doesn’t account for any claims made through the civil or criminal courts for incidents.

4. Will you be charged if no material breaches are found?

No, FFI only applies if a material breach is found.

5. What constitutes a material breach?

A material breach is when, in the opinion of the HSE inspector, there is or has been a contravention of Health & Safety law that requires them to issue notice – in writing – of that opinion to the duty holder. If an inspector deems something to present considerable risk, a material breach will be declared.

6. What causes an FFI?

A HSE visit could be the result of a reported incident, complaint or on the back of a campaign focusing on certain higher risk industries.

7. Can you appeal a decision?

If you disagree with the invoice – because you don’t agree that you’re in material breach of the law, or if you think the fee charged is incorrect, for example – you can query the invoice within 21 days of the invoice date. If you disagree with the HSE’s reply to your query, then you can raise a dispute.

When raising a dispute, you’ll need to do so in writing, outline why you disagree and send it to the address given within 21 days of the date of the HSE’s response to your query.

A panel of HSE staff and an independent representative will then consider your dispute, and the HSE will write back to you with the outcome. If your dispute isn’t upheld you’ll have to pay for the HSE’s time spent handling your dispute –  the amount to be paid will be the time taken to resolve your dispute multiplied by the FFI hourly rate.

8. How do you pay an FFI invoice?

Generally, the HSE will send out invoices every two months and you’ll have 30 days to pay the full amount stated.

9. What happens if you can’t afford the invoice?

If you don’t pay the FFI invoice, you’ll receive a demand from a debt collection agency (on behalf of the HSE) which could result in court action.

Need help?

Don’t get in a fluster over FFI. Here at Citation, our experienced Health & Safety experts know exactly what it takes to keep your business on top of legislation, and away from costly fines. To find out how we could help you, get in touch.

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