FFI – The Story So Far and Likely Future Hotspots

Figures detailing the receipts issued during the first two months of the Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme have been released. It has been revealed that for the period 1 October 2012 to 30 November 2012, bills totalling over £700,000 were issued following investigations at over 903 premises. These amounts are considerably lower than the HSE suggested before the scheme started, which expected to bring in £37m in the first full year. On the basis of the first two months of the scheme, the current projected revenue is approximately £4.3m.

According to the HSE, it is too early to make assumptions as to the long term value of receipts issued from this scheme and it said that there are no ‘targets’ for overall FFI receipts. It is however expected that, as time progresses, there will be a gradual increase in the number of FFI letters sent out, as HSE inspectors grow in confidence and experience. Likely FFI hotspots will be the basic health and safety mistakes that have been injuring and killing people for decades. Poorly maintained ladders and dangerous working at height are two key failures inspectors routinely spot when visiting workplaces across Britain.

Construction worker with clipboard for inspectionsCommenting on the FFI scheme, Paul Verrico, Eversheds Health and Safety wrote:

“We routinely receive calls from clients following near-misses, incidents and fatalities as a result of falls from height. In the last year, these have included unsafe scaffolds, inadequately planned roofing operations, and improper access methods. Inspectors may have driven past a building site, noted a flaw and proceeded with enforcement action.

The HSE prosecution database is full of examples of dangerous work at height resulting in prosecutions. Clearly, duty-holders need to think seriously about proper safeguards, such as edge protection, harnesses and safety nets, as the HSE will almost certainly issue FFI notices in cases where such precautions are missing, regardless of whether or not an incident has occurred. One of our clients told us recently of an FFI incident in which an enforcement notice was served because a section of scaffolding was missing a handrail; this is exactly the type of issue that the regime is designed to address.”

“We are glad that the FFI scheme is not costing business as much as first anticipated. Nobody wants to receive a FFI letter in the post and putting in place simple health and safety inspection processes can pay dividends in demonstrating good practice with the HSE. Our clients use SG World inspection solutions because they are very easy to use, it’s a quick win for anyone in charge of health and safety,” said Steve Floodgate, SG World Communications Director.

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