Ensuring your business avoids Fee for Intervention fines
8th April 2014
It's just over one year since the HSE introduced a Fee for Intervention cost recovery scheme which, under The Health and Safety (Fees) regulations 2012, holds liable any company that breaks health and safety laws.
In its first year, the scheme has cost companies millions of pounds and the current focus on the construction sector will see more having to pay up. Although the fines are fairly modest, construction firms have been fined over £720,000 in the first six months of the scheme. Playing it safe So a priority for firms in South Yorkshire is to get their house in order and avoid this additional and unnecessary expenditure. It is vital for your business to comply with the HSE guidelines and regulations and so ensure there is no need for intervention in the first place. Worst still, in more serious cases, the HSE has the power to close a business or site, which has breached the rules. This can have an enormous affect on cash flow management, which could be the difference between posting a profit or loss at the end of the financial year. This demands that firms have access to the latest information on their mandatory obligations and your local broker can help their clients in this regard. Importantly a broker can advise on developing robust health and safety policies to ensure firms remain on the right side of the rules. Worryingly, insurance companies are likely to take a dim view towards those firms, which fail to take fees for intervention seriously. Indeed a business with a history of HSE fines is almost certain to face higher premiums and more onerous policy terms than those, which have demonstrated good risk management regardless of claims experience. As the HSE spreads its net wider and proactively scrutinises the operations of more firms, those not meeting their mandatory obligations under the health and safety regulations will end up paying through the nose. Not only in fines but also through higher insurance premiums. Broker top tips Work with a local broker who advise on avoiding FFI fines Involve a broker in your business plans and when setting out company Risk Management and Health & Safety policies. Access the latest information on your mandatory obligations Implement a health and safety policy designed to keep you on the right side of the rules John Leigh is a director at Sheffield broker IFM Insurance