The Health and Safety Executive is due to implement its new £142-per-hour cost recovery scheme, Fee For Intervention, on Monday 1 October.
The FFI is aimed at recovering costs from those who break health and safety laws to cover fees incurred while inspecting, investigating and enforcing the law.
Businesses that meet legal obligations will not incur a fee.
FFI will apply when inspectors identify contraventions of health and safety law that are serious enough to require written notification, or when individuals receive Improvement or Prohibition Notices or are prosecuted for breaches.
Guidance for businesses and organisations can be found on the HSE’s website.
The HSE says the new rules were developed in consultation with the industry, and that the fee will even things up between those who comply and those who don’t.
HSE CEO Geoffrey Podger said it was “right that those who fail to meet their legal obligations should pay HSE’s costs rather than the public purse having to do so”.
“The most basic safety mistakes in the workplace can devastate lives and result in real costs to industry,” he added.
Chris Hall, managing partner at safety consultancy Lighthouse Risk Services, warned that while businesses were aware of the hourly rate for cost recovery, they had no way of knowing what the final bill would be until the end of the case.
“What’s more,” he continued, “there appears to be no room for discussion or negotiations until this stage either, as the first time that a business can raise an objection is when they receive the invoice for the investigation.
“What is clear is that businesses who want to protect their position and minimise charges should speak to a health and safety consultant today, as the prevention is 500 per cent cheaper than the cure”.