On 1st October 2012, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), commenced recovering their costs of investigating and dealing with breaches of health and safety regulations.

Under the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, those who break health and safety laws are liable for the recovery of the HSE’s related costs, including: inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action.

Geoffrey Podger, HSE’s Chief Executive, said:

“The most basic safety mistakes in the workplace can devastate lives and result in real costs to industry.

It is right that those who fail to meet their legal obligations should pay HSE’s costs rather than the public purse having to do so.

Fee for Intervention provides a further incentive for businesses to manage health and safety effectively and to operate within the law. It should also help level the playing field between those who comply and those who don’t”.

Costs will be recovered where there has been a material breach of health and safety law. A material breach is where a business or organisation has broken the law and the inspector judges it serious enough to notify the duty holder in writing. This includes where an Improvement Notice or Prohibition Notice is issued by an HSE Inspector following a site visit. Duty holders include Clients, Designers, Contractors and CDM Co-ordinators.

The headline rate quoted by the HSE is £124 per hour for the time spent by an HSE Inspector. The following are the potential averaged costs for intervention activity as published by the HSE:

  • Inspection which results in a letter – £750
  • Inspection which results in Enforcement Notice – £1,500
  • Investigations – Ranging from £750 to several thousands of pounds to in extreme cases tens of thousands of pounds