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August 2018 News Briefing

Posted on Friday 17th Aug 2018

EXTENSION OF FFI LIKELY

It was almost inevitable given the state of local authority finances that they should seek to defray the cost of health and safety inspections carried out by LA environmental health officers (EHOs). Now the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Occupational Health and Safety has recommended that FFI, which allows the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to charge dutyholders £129 an hour for work to notify them of material breaches found during inspections, should be extended to include local authorities

HSE inspect premises such as factories, building sites, schools, colleges, hospitals and nursing homes as well as some others. During the operation of FFI manufacturing industry has borne the brunt of the fines. Total revenue from FFI last year was just over £15m but some of that money goes into the Government’s pocket with HSE keeping a proportion. Another reason, perhaps, why MPs think it ought to be extended.

Local authorities probably inspect a wider range of premises

  • offices (except government offices)
  • shops
  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • leisure premises
  • nurseries and playgroups
  • pubs and clubs
  • museums (privately owned)
  • places of worship
  • sheltered accommodation and care homes

All these workplaces would be affected by the extension of FFI.

However, behind the FFI headline there are other suggested changes which are equally important. Without dwelling on the detail, what the MPs want to see is a substantial increase in the number of proactive visits undertaken by EHOs rather than the reactive visits- visits reacting to an event- on which they now concentrate.

It is highly likely in our opinion that these changes will take place. Indeed, there is some surprise that it has taken from 2012, when FFI was introduced, until now for this change to be seriously suggested.

Remember that Acton Jennings LLP clients who are subject to inspection by the HSE have the benefit of FFI cover.  We shall, should it become necessary, look at including FFI cover for clients whose workplaces fall under LA enforcement.

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