HSE to charge employers

Published:  05 March, 2012

LONDON: The Health and Safety Executive's "Fee for Intervention" scheme will come into force on 6 April 2012.

Under the scheme, employers who contravene health and safety law will be forced to pay the executive's formal enforcement costs at a rate of £124 an hour. The scheme will be introduced by the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012 and will be subject to annual review.

Costs will be recovered where the HSE has to make a formal written intervention to address an alleged contravention of health and safety law, such as the issue of an enforcement letter or enforcement notice. The Fee for Intervention will not apply in relation to verbal advice and the executive's existing power to recover prosecution costs following successful conviction (in England and Wales only) is unaffected.

"The scheme will apply in nearly all sectors enforced by the HSE other than those where a charging scheme already exists, such as offshore energy and certain other hazardous industries," says law firm CMS Cameron McKenna. "The scheme will not be applied to activities regulated by local authority inspectors for health and safety (such as shops and office-based businesses). It remains to be seen exactly how the charging regime will work in practice and whether the inconsistency of the HSE charging for intervention where local authorities cannot will prove problematic," it says.

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