HSE Investigation Fees: how can you protect yourself?

With HSE fees having increased at the beginning of April, and the agricultural industry being one of the most at risk when it comes to injuries and fatalities suffered at work in the UK, it is important you address your on-farm risk management, and are aware of the protection available to you.

As reported in Farmer’s Weekly on 3rd May, the Health & Safety Executive’s fee for intervention (FFI) has increased from £124/hour to £154/hour. FFI were introduced in 2012, meaning businesses are charged for the costs of an investigation from the time a material breach is identified to the point when a decision is made on the enforcement action. Farmer’s Weekly estimate that on average, an inspector will spend 6 hours on one investigation.

A material breach is anything the HSE inspector finds that they believe is serious enough that action needs to be taken to improve it. If a material breach is found, the HSE will issue a notification of contravention (NoC), at which point a fee will have to be paid. The fee includes the inspector’s time spent at the business, preparing reports, obtaining specialist advice, talking to the farmer and any farm workers.

With costs of £154/hour to pay for the FFI, farmers can find themselves under serious pressure should a material breach be found. McClarrons insurance brokers can help. With over 30 years’ experience working in the farming industry, McClarrons offer specialist Risk Management advice to help you ensure you are meeting the HSE’s standards. Not only this, they have developed a product called Rural Protect, which can help should you be faced with having to pay an FFI.

With premiums starting from as low as £216, Rural Protect is an insurance policy which will cover you for any FFI you may have to pay during the policy period, as well as other covers that are pertinent to farm businesses. This means, should you be visited by HSE and they find a material breach, your policy will respond to pay the resulting FFI. With the average cost of these being estimated at £950, it is a highly valuable policy for farm businesses.

Whilst the policy will not pay fines, it does offer additional covers, such as protecting you from prosecution, covering the legal fees should you need to defend yourself.

If you’d like to know more about what McClarrons and Rural Protect can do to help make your farm safer and protect your business, contact McClarrons’ Farm Team on 01653 609152 or by emailing farm@mcclarroninsurance.com. Alternatively, you can find out more about Rural Protect, here

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