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28 Feb, 2014
On the 2nd of October 2012 a huge change in health and safety was implemented. No longer was compliance an option, no longer could small business owners avoid training skeleton staff and no longer could anyone escape the HSE wrath.
With government funding cut, the HSE were left with fees to recoup, they needed to find eighty million pounds and turned to UK businesses to foot the bill – FFI was introduced.
The Fees for Intervention Scheme ensures that every business complies, that health and safety is optimised and that advice is followed to the letter. Of course, the investigations take place in order to ensure the safety of employees and the public but many business owners and landlords are finding they can pay through the nose for a simple mistake.
The Costs Add Up
Inspectors rarely announce their arrival, in fact they prefer it if a business is unaware. Already they’ve arrived uninvited at over a quarter of UK businesses. If everything meets their satisfaction, they’ll disappear without a word. If areas need intervention, they’ll set the meter running at £124 per hour and won’t stop the clock ticking until the breach is rectified.
This has left many businesses bankrupt, mainly through misinformation and a failure to prepare rather than a devil may care attitude to the rules. As the legalities surrounding health and safety change periodically, only those that pay particular attention to the changes and act on new advice escape the hefty fines.
What You Need to Pass the Test
An HSE inspector will immediately ask for records, they’ll interview staff to see how their knowledge compares to the standard and they’ll expect to meet a designated person, the duty holder with whom the whole responsibility lies. Some have turned to hiring their own health and safety officers in order to ensure compliance before, during and after. This of course is expensive and doesn’t guarantee the whole workforce is kept on the same page so there is an evergreen alternative.
Do it Yourself
Maintaining control over your own company’s standards is the best way to ensure your business always complies. Passing the responsibility to an outsider is tempting yet it can leave you floundering if you are called into account for breaches of the rules. Although the FFI Scheme is seen as an unwanted expense, compliance can actually save your company a lot of money, it can bring your employees together and it can raise your overall reputation as a company that cares about employee and customer welfare.
Good Practice Makes for Perfect Preventive Measures
Health and Safety cannot be avoided and nor should it. As a company you would soon lose respect if the welfare of your employees wasn’t taken into consideration daily. Even without the threat of hefty FFI fines, the risk of being sued for negligence by an employee is very high. When taking control you not only protect your employees, you protect yourself and your reputation too. Although the fees are expensive if you follow good practice there’s absolutely no reason why you’d fall victim to the FFI at all.
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