U.K. Safety Agency Publishes Plan to Recoup Safety Intervention Costs

Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published a proposal for recouping the costs it incurs from conducting interventions of businesses that violate health and safety laws.

Under the proposal, if an HSE inspector discovers a failure to adhere to safety and health laws that requires formal action, the business in question would be charged a fee to make the necessary corrections. The proposal does not carry any new health and safety laws or requirements for businesses.

"The government has agreed that it is right that those who break the law should pay their fair share of the costs to put things right – and not the public purse,” said HSE Programme Director Gordon MacDonald. "These proposals provide a further incentive for people to operate within the law, leveling the playing field between those who comply and those who don't. Compliant firms will not pay a penny in intervention fees.”

The plan proposes that HSE would recover costs at current estimates of £133 per hour. Costs of any specialist support needed by HSE also would be passed on, and invoices must be paid in 30 days.

HSE opened a 3-month period of consultation to gather comments on the proposal, which could go into effect by April 2012. The deadline for consultation responses is Oct. 14. MacDonald stressed that HSE would like to “hear from as many people as possible about how we plan to operate the scheme to help make its introduction as successful as possible.”

HSE added that the new system would not replace existing cost recovery arrangements such offshore oil and gas installations, some chemical and petrochemical sites and licensed nuclear installations.

The consultation document on cost recovery can be found online at http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd235.htm.

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