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Fee for intervention (FFI)

A change to HSE’s recovery rates from 1 April 2021

Under the Health and Safety and Nuclear (Fees) Regulations 2021, HSE’s fees and charges rates have had an inflationary increase of 2.2% from 1 April 2021. An explanatory note attached to the Regulations provides the key changes.

An HSE inspector’s hourly recovery rate under Fee for Intervention in 2021/22 has been increased from £157 to £160.

We are required to set our rates with the aim of recovering the full cost of any relevant activity. This increases is consistent with our strategy of regularly updating rates to maintain our regulatory functions.

Businesses found to be in material breach of health and safety law will be charged at this new rate. Those businesses that meet their legal requirements will not pay anything for HSE’s regulatory activity.

We’re continuing to follow cross-government debt recovery policies, and we’ll continue to offer flexibility to any dutyholders who might be experiencing financial hardship.

If we visit your workplace and find that you are in material breach of health and safety law, you will have to pay for the time it takes us to identify what is wrong and to help you put things right. This is called a fee for intervention (FFI).

If you don’t break the law, you won’t pay anything. Dutyholders who comply with the law, or where there is no material breach, will not be charged FFI for any work that HSE does with them.

Who FFI applies to

It applies to dutyholders where HSE is the enforcing authority. This will include:

  • employers
  • self-employed who put others at risk
  • public and limited companies
  • general, limited and limited liability partnerships
  • Crown and public bodies

What the law says

The Health and Safety and Nuclear (Fees) Regulations 2021 say that a fee is payable to HSE if:

  • a person is contravening or has contravened health and safety laws; and
  • an inspector is of the opinion that the person is or has done so, and notifies the person in writing of that opinion.

What is a material breach?

A material breach is something which an inspector considers serious enough that they need to formally write to the business requiring action to be taken to deal with the material breach. If the inspector gives you a notification of contravention (NoC) after their visit, you’ll have to pay a fee. The NoC must include:

  • the law that the inspector considers has been broken
  • the reason(s) for their opinion
  • notification that a fee is payable to HSE

Where an inspector simply gives you advice, either verbal or written, you won’t have to pay anything for this advice.

How much it costs

It currently costs £160 an hour. The fee will include the costs covering the time of the entire original visit. The total amount recovered will be based on the amount of time it takes HSE to identify the breach and help you put things right (including associated office work), multiplied by the hourly rate.

Your fee may include the inspector’s time:

  • at your business or workplace
  • preparing reports
  • getting specialist advice
  • talking to you after the visit
  • talking to your workers

The fee can vary depending on:

  • how long the original visit was
  • the time the inspector spent helping you put things right
  • the time it took the inspector to investigate your case
  • any time we spend on taking action against you

Find out more

The Guidance on the application of Fee for Intervention (FFI) document (also available in Welsh) sets out the general principles and approach of the scheme. It includes examples of material breaches but does not cover every scenario where FFI might apply.

Inspectors will apply this guidance and their enforcement decisions will be based on the principles of HSE’s enforcement decision-making frameworks – the Enforcement Management Model (EMM) and the Enforcement Policy Statement (EPS).

You can download the leaflet  When a health and safety inspector calls,which provides helpful information about FFI costs. You can also find helpful advice that explains how to query or dispute an FFI invoice. There is a full list of guidance on FFI in the resources section of this site.

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