Hourly fees for safety infringements come into force today, under new rules from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The Fee for Intervention scheme means that all businesses, including waste management and recycling firms, which break health and safety regulations will be subject to an hourly charge of £124 for the time taken to rectify the breach.
The charge is for recovery of the executive’s costs relating to any breach, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action.
The fee will apply to all businesses and organisations inspected by HSE, except for: self-employed people who do not put people at risk by their work, those who are already paying fees to HSE for the work through other arrangements, and those who deliberately work with certain biological agents.
The executive said that the many businesses that comply with their legal obligations will continue to pay nothing.
The fee only applies to work carried out by HSE’s inspectors not health and safety inspections by another regulator, such as local authority environmental health officers.
HSE chief executive Geoffrey Podger said: “The most basic safety mistakes in the workplace can devastate lives and result in real costs to industry.
“It is 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 executive said that the Fee for Intervention scheme provided an incentive for businesses to operate within the law, and help level the playing field between those who comply and those who do not.