HSE considers charging for all contact

All contact with HSE might soon come with an invoice attached.

The Health & Safety Executive is considering charging for all contact it has with industry.

In 2012, faced with swingeing Government cuts, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) introduced fees for intervention (FFIs), although so far they have been restricted to charging companies that have been found to be in contravention of laws or regulations.

Now Natural Stone Specialist magazine understands HSE is considering imposing charges for all contact it has with industry. Natural Stone Specialist understands the sum being talked about is £250 an hour.

That would be for everything, so if an inspector called to check your premises, you would be charged for the time it takes to carry out the inspection, even if nothing is found to be wrong, if such charges were introduced. And as it has been known for two inspectors to take up to two days to inspect some stone company premises, the cost could run into thousands of pounds, even if you are not found to have contravened any rules or regulations.

The justification of fees for intervention was to give firms an incentive to comply with health & safety laws and regulations, making those who contravene pay rather than spreading the charge across all companies. A standard fee would seem to remove that incentive, although avoiding follow-ups would keep the fee as low as possible.

The stone industry is one of the sectors targeted by the Health & Safety Executive because of its potentially dangerous operations.

HSE has not confirmed that it is considering charging for all contact with industry. A spokesperson told Natural Stone Specialist: “HSE is constantly reviewing its charging regime and will announce details of any changes in due course.”