The cost of Health and Safety non-compliance has risen

Following the application of the Fee for Intervention (FFI) coming into force as of the 1st October 2012, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) now has the power to charge offending parties for the cost of investigating and dealing with breaches of health and safety regulations.

In short – the potential cost of not fulfilling obligations with regards to Health and Safety has significantly risen.

The Fee for Intervention hourly rate has been set for the 2012/13 period at £124 and under the new Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, the costs that the HSE is able to recover includes: inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action.

Application on construction projects

The Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM) 2007 which regulate the way a project is built, used, maintained or demolished is the area that will be the most affected by the latest changes. The CDM Regulations do not change, but the necessity to ensure robust processes are in place to comply with them should certainly remain very high on the list of priorities at the outset of a project.

The HSE must be notified of a construction project before it moves past the concept stage if it is expected to last more than 30 working days, or if it involves more than 500 person days of construction work. At this point a CDM Coordinator must be nominated. This specialist will take responsibility for advising on all health and safety matters on the scheme as well as liaising with the entire project team to ensure compliance. A CDM Coordinator should hold an up to date qualification such as Membership of the Association of Project Safety (MaPs), the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM), or equivalent. With the appointment of a qualified and experienced CDM Coordinator the implications of the new FFI fees should not be an issue, however it is important that both they and client are aware of them and are doing everything possible to minimise the health and safety risks on a project.

Projects that fall below the threshold to become ‘notifiable’ are the ones which could be susceptible to the breaches of regulations that would bring about the resultant FFI fees. Without the rigid guidelines set down in CDM 2007, health and safety is often managed in-house. Despite the best intentions, on a busy construction project health and safety can in some cases take a back seat. In times when budgets are tight, the potential of a fine plus FFI costs on top should be a risk too far. Although the appointment of a CDM Coordinator is not a legal requirement, there is a strong argument for making the appointment on every project. These professionals will hold the tools to manage health and safety effectively, such as templates for a Pre-construction Information Pack and a Health and Safety File, these can be adapted to a project of any size and will minimize the risk of falling foul of the HSE’s new charges.

Finnegan Property Services are independent property consultants who provide advice to public and private sector clients. We employ fully qualified CDM Coordinators and understand the implications on your individual projects. To discuss this further please contact info@finneganpropertyservices.com or call 020 3137 8078.

 

Posted on 2 October, 2015

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