HSE charging for enforcement activity from 1 October 2012

From 1 October HSE will send invoices to any company that is issued with a prohibition or improvement notice or who is sent a formal letter citing a material breach. This new initiative stems from a markedly robust ministerial commitment to the principle that those who create unacceptable risks should pay for the regulation of them 
The amount on the invoice will be based on the time that HSE spent dealing with the non-compliance by the company involved. That time is charged at a rate of £124/hour. It will include all the time,  both on and off site, that  inspectors spent investigating and dealing with such matters.
HSE has produced detailed guidance for its inspectors on the criteria for taking enforcement action and the subsequent allocation of cost recovery charges when it is taken. The latter is particularly important in construction sites where a single shortcoming is usually the result of contributions from different parties. ECIA was particularly concerned that the criteria for fairly allocating costs in such circumstances needed to be explicit and freely available. We worked closely with HSE to take that forward and in our view the resulting guidance has been very useful in clarifying matters.
Members can access the HSE guidance on criteria for enforcement here and on the criteria for allotting charges here
We have also produced a short briefing note for members, designed to set the new regime into perspective. Click here
Duty holders who receive a bill may wish to take it up with HSE. There may  be occasions when organisations feel that the action  taken and bills sent don’t seem to reflect the criteria in HSE’s guidance. Our main message is that if duty holders genuinely feel that they have been unfairly treated they should take it up with HSE – but  that is not the same as merely expressing displeasure at receiving a bill. If you seek a positive response from HSE you need to be able to present your case in terms of an apparent mismatch between what happened and the criteria in HSE’s guidance. Merely ‘moaning’ about the bill will cut no ice and be responded to accordingly.


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