Against the background of recent new advice on portable appliance testing in low risk environments and the impending new fourth edition of the IET Code of Practice, the HSE has also announced changes to enable it to recoup costs from those who break health and safety laws.
From 1st October 2012, the HSE has introduced its Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme that will seek to recover its costs in cases where accident investigation, reports and enforcement action is involved.
The HSE guidance on the FFI says that it will apply whenever an inspector:
- Identifies a contravention of health and safety law;
- Is of the opinion that the contravention is serious enough to require written notification (i.e. it is a material breach); and
- Notifies the person contravening the law of their opinion, in writing, by a notification of contravention, Improvement or Prohibition Notice, or prosecution.
The new guidance also confirms that the hourly fee payable by employers found to be in material breach of the law is £124 per hour.
Amy Lyons, Applications Engineer for PAT specialist Seaward, says: “Under this new scheme, any business or organisation that is guilty of breaching the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 will have no way of knowing what the final bill will be for HSE intervention until the very end of the case.
“Clearly this could therefore represent a considerable financial cost for them, on top of any penalties involved, and reinforces the benefits of a proactive approach in ensuring the safety of electrical equipment used in the workplace.”