FFI stands for 'fee for intervention' and was introduced under the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012. The aim of FFI is to recover the HSE's related costs, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action, charging businesses that are in breach of health and safety regulations.
Since 2012, the HSE have been charging businesses that are in breach of health and safety regulations under the fee for intervention (FFI) programme.
But what are these charges and when will you be charged?
The headline figure is currently £129 per hour.
Ok, it is pricey, but the inspector should only be on site for a couple of hours, right?
Actually, if you are found to be in material breach of health and safety laws (more on that later), you will be charged not only for the inspectors time on site, but also any associated time spent on issuing notices, taking statements, getting specialist support and follow up visits.
Infact, the average fee for intervention invoice is reported to be over a whopping £650!
Invoices include time spent:
You are not just charged the minute a HSE inspector turns up at your workplace. The HSE will still do random inspections, and you are not automatically charged for this.
Businesses are only charged when the HSE inspector finds a material breach of the law.
A material breach is where you have broken a health and safety law and the inspector judges this is serious enough for them to notify you in writing. This will either be a notification of contravention, an improvement or prohibition notice, or a prosecution.
So if you are complying with the law, then you wont have to pay a fee at all.
However, with the fee for intervention programme bringing in a reported £14.7m in 2015-2016, it seems many businesses are being charged under FFI.