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Choosing a health and safety consultant


Under UK health and safety law (the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, regulation 7) it is every employers’ duty to provide competent safety advice – therefore an employer can delegate the work associated with safety but not the responsibility for it – so choose them carefully!

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The real issues around occupational health and safety

Last year 148 employees were killed at work in the 2012/13 year however over 13 000 people die annually from work related diseases according to the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS).

Of these approximately 8000 people die from occupational related cancers. This includes the 4000 who die of asbestos related diseases every year.

More time and effort must be spent reminding people about hygiene at work including:

  • Hand washing before eating
  • Not wearing dirty work clothes home
  • Wearing gloves and masks when using chemicals

 

HSE Fee for Intervention – how it has worked

You may be aware the HSE started charging for its time @ £124.00 per hour inclusive of VAT on 1st October 2012 ? It is also known as FFI in the trade.

 A report has just been released which checks the progress of this landmark change in policy procedure brought about by the Coalition Government’s determination to reduce public spending. It sees the burden of the cost of enforcing breaches of health and safety law transferred from the tax payer to those who commit the breaches.

 Historically HSE visits would only result Improvement and Prohibition Notices or prosecution through the Courts. Now whenever a ‘material breach’ is found the HSE charge for all their time associated with dealing with it inclusive of  any related Improvement and Prohibition Notices. These visits  can take place for a variety of reasons –  as a result of an accident, a complaint, or most likely as part of an HSE sector initiative.  

 

The review panel, chaired by Professor Alan Harding of Liverpool University, found that FFI was working to plan and concluded it was a viable (I prefer equitable) way of implementing government policy. They also found that it was not a ‘cash cow’ for the HSE and that initial concerns about the impact of the change not being popular with either HSE inspectors or business (stakeholders) were not as significant as predicted.

 Possibly most interesting though are the statistics which I have plucked from the body of the report. All are based on the period October 2012 to January 2014.

  • FFI generated £10.6 m of revenue to the HSE from 21 000 invoices:
    • More than 40% of this has come from the Construction Sector which employs 2.1m people.
    • More than 30% of this has come from the Manufacturing Sector which employs 2.8 m people.
  • Approximately 20% of this has come from the Service Sector inclusive of car repair businesses which employs 23.6 m people.
  • Of these 21 000 invoices:
    • 16% were for more than £1000 and only 43 were for more than £10 000
    • 21% for between £500- £1000
    • 38% for between £200 – £500
    • 25% were for less than £200

 A full copy of the report is available at     

http://www.hse.gov.uk/fee-for-intervention/independent-ffi-review-panel-final-report-2014.pdf