18/04/24

Health and Safety Executive Investigations

Health and Safety Executive Investigations
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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has various functions as a regulator, these include offering advice and providing guidance. Additionally, the HSE oversee licensing activities in major hazard industries, conduct targeted inspections and investigations, and take enforcement measures to prevent harm and ensure accountability for those who breach the regulations.

Where necessary, HSE will collaborate with other authorities, including the Police. In certain circumstances, HSE has the authority to ask that those under investigation to pay for the costs associated with the investigation.

Sukhdip Randawa of KANGS comments upon liability for and the amount of such fees.

Health and Safety Executive Fees

Amount of Fee and Nature of Work Conducted

HSE operates on an hourly charge basis to recover its costs. The rate changes in April each year and, as of 1st April 2024, is set at £174.00.

The work conducted by HSE includes:

  • investigating the breach,
  • advising upon rectification,
  • inspecting premises, plant, or machinery,
  • preparing reports,
  • obtaining advice from experts,
  • interviewing witnesses.

Liability for Payment of Fees

The Health and Safety and Nuclear (Fees) Regulations 2022 provides at section 23:

  • that where a person is contravening or has contravened one or more of the provisions for which HSE is the enforcing authority and
  • an inspector is of the opinion that that person is doing so, or has done so, and notifies that person in writing of that opinion.
  • a fee is payable by that person to HSE for the performance of the required functions.

The individual required to pay any fees will be the individual responsible for ensuring that the activity was compliant with health and safety law, and includes:

employers,

  • self-employed workers (who could cause harm to others),
  • companies,
  • partnerships,
  • bodies.

The fees are targeted at those who have put others in the way of harm.

No fee is payable by a person in respect of any contravention of the relevant statutory provisions by that person in their capacity as an employee or by a self-employed person who does not and did not expose any other person to a health or safety risk.

No fee is to exceed the sum of the costs reasonably incurred by HSE for the performance of its functions and fees must be paid within 30 days of each invoice.

Material Breaches

Those offences serious enough to require HSE to formally notify an individual to take action are referred to as ‘material breaches’, of which there are many, some being, by way of a small example:

  • inadequate asbestos management,
  • dangerous construction sites,
  • falls from height,
  • unsafe gas work,
  • unprotected exposure to loud noise.

Repayments

HSE must repay an individual who has been prosecuted where:

  • the individual is found not guilty of the offence,
  • the jury does not reach a verdict and HSE no longer believes the individual is guilty of the offence,
  • charges are withdrawn after the prosecution is found not to be in the public interest.

How Can We Help?

It is imperative that individuals and businesses always remain vigilant to their health and safety obligations.

The KANGS team brings considerable experience gained from handling many HSE investigations on behalf of clients. We proactively engage with the HSE at an early stage, seeking the earliest possible resolution both to limit the level of any proposed sanctions and the costs involved.

If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our Team using the information below:

Tel:       0333 370 4333

Email: info@kangssolicitors.co.uk

We provide an initial no obligation consultation from our offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Alternatively, we provide initial consultations by telephone or video.

John Veale

John Veale
Partner

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Sukhdip Randhawa

Sukhdip Randhawa
Legal Director

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