How Will The New HSE Regulations Affect Your Business
In June of 2012 a new set of regulations were approved that will now allow the HSE to charge businesses a fee if they are found to be in a “material” breach of Health and Safety regulations. The fees are to be imposed to compensate the HSE for the time and resources spent in investigating noncompliance by companies.
The HSE proposes to charge an hourly rate for investigations with the rate for 2012/13 set at £124.00 per hour. Currently the Executive estimates that the cost for an inspection that results in a letter will be a minimum of £750.00. Should a full investigation proceed there is potentially no upper limit to what the HSE can charge and companies will not be aware of the final sum until the probe is complete. Businesses could potentially be liable for ten’s of thousands in costs should an inspection be deemed necessary.
As you can imagine the implications for businesses are huge especially for smaller ones. The HSE are quick to point out that compliant companies have nothing to fear from these new regulations, it is only organisations that have been found in breach of health and safety laws that will be affected and only they will be liable to pay under the new recovery scheme. It doesn’t allay fears much though when the all important word “material” is applied at the HSE’s discretion and no concrete definition of the term has yet been supplied.
So how to you as a business insulate yourself from potential investigations and prosecution? Firstly make sure that all of your risk assessments are up to date, suitable and sufficient and that everyone that’s effected is aware of them. Ensure that all of you company’s policies and procedures are reviewed and are correct and again are distributed to all stakeholders and that everyone understands the. Ensure that all of your staff who need training to safely undertake their roles receive it and that it is regularly updated. Training could mean a first aid or fire marshal course. Finally take a look at your company’s insurance policy. It may be worth seeing if it covers you for a fee from a regulator in addition to any penalty.
Protecting your business from investigation and prosecution is more important than ever. Companies can no longer afford to be complacent when it comes to complying with the law. Investigating a breach of legislation may now actually be more expensive than paying a fine. Could you company comfortably pay for a visit by the HSE? Call us today for some free no obligation advice and see how you can protect yourself from a potentially huge expense.