Concerns have been raised over whether an increase in inspections by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has stemmed from the government’s Fee For Intervention (FFI) scheme.
The number of inspections undertaken by HSE has increased by 6 per cent in the last year, from 22,240 in 2012/13 to 23,472 in 2013/14.
There is a concern that the FFI scheme is an incentive for HSE to boost the number of inspections it undertakes because it knows they can bring in extra revenue – following major budget cuts.
Under the HSE’s FFI scheme companies are only fined if inspectors find there has been a material breach when in the opinion of the inspector there has been a contravention of health and safety law that requires them to issue a notice in writing. However, it is a judgment call of the HSE inspector as to whether a breach is material and well-run businesses may be caught out.
A spokesperson for HSE said: “There is no evidence that FFI has had any impact on whether we regulate any more or any less. The increase in inspections is a natural consequence of how we do things, targeting industries that we feel we can have the most effect on, and predominantly targeting high-risk industries.”