HSE intervention fees – the cost to employers
Posted on Friday 10th October 2014 by Graham
Encouraging employers to comply with Health and Safety in the workplace was given added impetus in November 2012 when The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012 became effective.
This new regulation put a duty on HSE to recover its costs for carrying out regulatory inspections to those organisations proven to be in breach of health and safety law- costs, previously a burden on the public purse.
In order to avoid HSE intervention fees employers must ensure their workplace meets health and safety requirements, and that workers and visitors are made aware of any risks and hazards within the work premises - and are provided with appropriate personal protection, where required.
Employers within the construction and maintenance industry; trades such as plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and other, allied trades, have a responsibility to provide personnel with adequate training where there is risk the employee may become exposed to asbestos, or any other dangerous material, during the course of their duties.
Health and Safety Executive inspections in the workplace
In order to enforce health and safety law, HSE inspectors visit workplaces around the country, continuously, and usually without prior notice, to carry out inspections and spot checks.
On a general inspection you can expect an inspector to want to look at how you manage health & safety and how you ensure compliance with the relevant legislation. This may include;
- A review of written organisational Health and Safety Policy (5 or more employees).
- Accident book, risk assessments, equipment maintenance records, site tour.
- Location map and details of hazardous materials handling and storage.
- Test and identification records of substances and materials on site.
- Evacuation procedures and fire safety equipment and precautions.
- Welfare conditions and facilities.
- Employee training records, including safety training records.
Intervention fees - cost to employer
Health and Safety inspectors will inspect work activities and processes: where no breaches are evident, there will be no charge, but where they discover breaches of safety law, fees for intervention are chargeable to the employer.
The amount payable will be based the time the inspector had to spend identifying the breach, investigating and taking enforcement action, and the generation of documentation and communications in resolving issues. The total amount of time spent on a case is multiplied by the current rate of £124 per hour.
Levels of Enforcement and their meaning:
This notice will specify the breach, and why. The recipient is given twenty one days to ensure corrective actions are implemented. You can appeal it within 21 days of issue if you disagree with findings. However, if an inspector serves a notice and it is not acted upon you may be liable to prosecution.
This type of notice is usually effective immediately, if the breach of legislation is serious enough and poses a risk of major personal injury. There is a right to appeal with this notice but work is prohibited until such times as the appeal is heard.
Serious breaches of safety law may result in prosecution. Whether this is an individual, or an organisation, the case will be tried through the court system, and penalties for prosecution can include fines and/or imprisonment.
Asbestos – a continuing problem
With around 4,500 deaths each year in the UK (including twenty tradesmen deaths per week recorded ) due to asbestos-related diseases, it is little wonder this deadly material is of great concern and high on the agenda when awareness officers and inspectors visit construction sites and older industrial properties.
It is for this reason employers should be proactive in their approach to health and safety, and are prepared for any potential HSE visits.
To this end, it is recommended employers create an action plan to address their responsibilities and duty of care with regard to toxic, dangerous, and other hazardous materials such as asbestos , and ensure that current policy and regulations are up to date: with an appointed responsible person(s) to manage, up date, and make improvements where necessary.
Training of employees -
Training your staff in asbestos awareness, puts you, the employer, in a much stronger position in regards to managing the risk to health and safety - as well as ensuring you have met your regulatory responsibilities – and will help in reducing the chances of incurring HSE intervention fees.
Asbestos Training Limited offer a comprehensive range of asbestos services for you to take the measures required to increase safety in your workplace and help decrease the number of asbestos related deaths. With a wide selection of bespoke services available, including both on and offline options, the course for you is only a click away.
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