Legal Expenses Insurance for Health & Safety
Since new sentencing guidelines were introduced in 2016, the average fine for safety offences has risen by a staggering 381%, from £27,000 to £130,000 per conviction.
If you’re concerned about the rising cost of non-compliance and the impact a serious safety incident might have on your bottom line, Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) can provide added protection for your organisation.
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How we help
Cover against the commercial ramifications of a serious safety incident
For many employers, a six-figure penalty will have a significant impact. An optional element of our fixed-fee Health & Safety support, our FCA-regulated Legal Expenses Insurance can bring you peace of mind during the most difficult of times.
- Independent and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
- Includes the highest-quality legal representation in the event of health and safety prosecutions
- Can be used to appeal improvement or prohibition notices served upon you by the regulator
- Covers Fee for Intervention (FFI) charges of £154 per hour, plus initial representation
- Proactive day-to-day support from a dedicated professional to prevent issues before they arise
Dramatically reduce your risk with proactive risk management support
It’s not just your finances that stand to suffer from a health and safety prosecution; there’s also the loss and distress to those affected, potential for reputational damage, and the significant drain on your time, energy and resources.
At Ellis Whittam, our ultimate aim is to help you prevent these issues before they arise through ongoing support from dedicated Health & Safety specialists. And it works – with our advice, support and safety management systems, we could reduce the risk of prosecution by c.50% and cut the cost of any fine imposed by more than 85%.
The average cost of defending a health and safety prosecution is c. £15,000. If a claim is insured, our Legal Expenses Insurance covers this cost.
Common queries about our Legal Expenses Insurance, answered by our Health & Safety specialists.
What is FFI?
If you’re visited by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and found to be in “material breach” of health and safety law, the regulator will charge for the time spent identifying these breaches, as well as time spent reviewing the measures you introduce to put things right. Only when they’re satisfied that the breach has been dealt with do they stop the clock. This is known as Fee for Intervention or FFI. At a charge of £154 per hour, FFI can easily lead to a £1,200 – £1,400 bill. If you take LEI, you can claim these costs under your LEI policy, up to a ceiling of £5,000.
What is an enforcement notice?
There are different types of enforcement notices that investigators can serve, ranging from a written warning requiring you to terminate a particular practice to notification that you’re facing criminal prosecution. Typically, if a breach is found, you will be served with either an improvement notice or a prohibition notice. An improvement notice orders you to undertake modifications to address the shortcomings identified, while a prohibition notice requires an activity to be stopped immediately, and to not recommence until corrective action has been taken.
Ellis Whittam clients are 60% less likely to be served with an enforcement notice compared to the national average.
We’re worried enforcement action might be taken against us. What happens next?
Our LEI covers early intervention. This means, in circumstances where you believe there’s a possibility of some sort of enforcement action and want to tackle it early on, you can get legal support to challenge the picture identified and paint a positive picture of your organisation as willing to learn and put things right.
This normally means getting a solicitor involved, which will be covered by our LEI, no matter the prospects. You will be covered for up to £2,500 of the solicitor’s costs, and we can establish the facts beforehand so that you can optimise their time.
What happens if there’s an accident in our workplace? Is it likely we will be fined?
Most reportable accidents in the workplace are not followed up by the regulator, but if they do take an interest, you are more likely to be subject to some sort of enforcement action being taken. This may be an enforcement notice, or FFI breach. Alternatively, it may be the start of criminal proceedings that end up in court, the cost of which can be significant.
Does LEI include legal representation?
Yes. If you choose to defend the claim, our LEI includes legal support right the way through a case, including barrister’s costs. Here, there will be a prospect of success assessment; the likelihood of an acquittal will need to be more than 50% in order to be covered by the LEI. However, if you’ve followed advice from your dedicated Ellis Whittam Health & Safety Consultant, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be covered in this situation. In reality, if we have identified an issue and you’ve taken the corrective action we recommended, you shouldn’t find yourself in this situation in the first place.
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We do more than just legal expenses insurance...
Accident and Incident Investigation
An accident in the workplace is every employer’s worst nightmare. We can help to guide your investigation, advise on corrective action and protect your interests in the event of regulatory enforcement.
Can you help us prepare an accident investigation report?
Yes. This can be tricky to get right, especially as once you reach conclusions and set out the actions you have taken, the document is disclosable to the other side in the event of a personal injury claim or prosecution. We’ll help you stick to the facts, keep opinion separate, and make sure the report is presented in a way that protects your best interests and, most importantly, identifies the things that need to be put right to prevent reoccurrence.
We have been written to by the regulator regarding a health and safety incident. Can you help?
Yes. In the event of a serious accident or emergency, we will support your investigation and advise you on your communications with the enforcing authority. We will be there to help mitigate damage, guide you and support you. If you have received a letter from the regulator, we can help you to formulate a response until legal advice is required, in which case (if you have chosen to take it) our Legal Expenses Insurance is activated.
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Experts in Health & Safety
Why choose us?
ind workable solutions to health and safety challenges, and protect your organisation from the rising cost of non-compliance.
- Approved by a Primary Authority
- Dedicated specialists with recognised qualifications
- Genuine hands-on experience of managing risk
- Cost certainty with our unlimited, fixed-fee model
- The confidence to act as one of your competent persons
Who you'll be working with
“I’ve taken Ellis Whittam into every organisation that I’ve worked with. I’ve introduced them to many teams and many colleagues and referred them with absolute pleasure because I genuinely trust in the service that we get.”
Debbie Jamieson, People Director
“We get a great deal of comfort and satisfaction knowing that we have support as and when we need it, in a decisive and responsive way.”
Richard Berry, Group HR Director
Bluestone National Park Resort
“What we recognised in Ellis Whittam is the background that they have. They are able to supply knowledge and experience in a number of disciplines, which enables us to develop our business in a way that’s safe, to do it on time and with a quality to it.”
Debbie Rainbow, Director of Human Resources and Health & Safety
“As the company started to get larger, we knew we had to protect our employees and our contractors both onsite and in the offices. Ellis Whittam is exactly what we needed to move the company forward.”
Joanne Beaver, Operations Director
“We have found Ellis Whittam to be responsive and aligned with our business in terms of our processes and expectations. Their pragmatic approach has proven to be a great fit – nobody wants to be fighting their adviser on basic employment decisions.”
Jonathan Green, COO
“Ellis Whittam supports our 280 staff members with Employment Law and Health & Safety and has provided quality management training too.”
Lisa Best, Head of Service Delivery
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