Employers urged to comply with health and safety laws or pay

Companies are being warned to comply with health and safety regulations or risk having to pay huge fees as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is planning to recoup as much as 40 million from violators.

The warning comes from Health@Work, the Liverpool workplace health organisation. It is cautioning companies that not complying with health and safety laws could result in big costs.

Health@Work's operations director James Dunningham explained that the HSE's funding by Government has been slashed by more than 40 million and the HSE will work to recover some of this loss from the newly implemented Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme.

Mr Dunningham said that the scheme enables the HSE to charge employers who violate health and safety regulations for the time the HSE spends on inspecting and investigating the alleged violation.

In October 2012, the FFI was put into effect. This year it is now being implemented across the nation. The HSE can now invoice companies for the time its investigators spend on inspections and enforcement.

"All businesses are vulnerable to this new initiative. Your health and safety executive inspector can visit your workplace at any time, so it is vital to ensure that you are fully compliant with all health and safety policy procedures," Mr Dunningham said, adding:

"The FFI has already recovered thousands of pounds from organisations who are breaking health and safety laws, so if you are unsure about correct procedures it is important to seek advice."

In October and November of 2012, the HSE charged employers a total 727,644.81. The HSE issued a total of 1,418 invoices to companies for costs incurred in its investigations.

Dunningham said the Government thinks the FFI will prompt companies to put their health and safety issues in order. At the same time the Government hopes the new scheme will discourage enterprises that think they can cut costs by not complying with health and safety regulations.

Copyright Press Association 2013