Francesca Lewington comments on these new regulations.

New regulations are now in place that will allow the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to charge a fee for intervention in cases where breaches of Health and Safety laws come to light during routine or other inspections.

This is likely to be of interest to solicitors with commercial clients, especially those involved in “high risk” industries.

The HSE’s new cost recovery scheme, Fee for Intervention (FFI), has now come into force from Monday, 1 October.

Under The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, those who break health and safety laws are liable for recovery of HSE’s related costs, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action. This means that where there are found to be breaches of health and safety laws the HSE will be able to recover a fee from the company or individual concerned even when the matter is not taken to court, including where an improvement notice or other warning is given.

The Fee for Intervention hourly rate for 2012/13 is £124.

However, there will be no fee for inspection or investigation where there are no breaches.

The HSE will review how FFI is working after the first twelve months of operation, and within three years of the regime coming into effect.