In March 2011 the Government announced its intention to allow the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to charge businesses for the work done by the HSE inspectors. The charges are to apply where there is a serious, material breach in health and safety standards, and the fees charged to the employer will include any follow-up work conducted by the HSE. The HSE have announced charges will apply at a rate of £124 per hour.
The decision on whether a breach constitutes a “material breach” will be based on the opinion of the inspector, who will be working within management guidelines.
However, the planned implementation date has been set back. The proposed scheme was due to be implemented in April 2012, following detailed consultation and a testing programme. However, the HSE have announced that the scheme will not come in to force until the next available opportunity, expected to be October 2012. According to the HSE, the delay is not related to the substance of the scheme, but is related to technical issues in inter-departmental accounting.