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Health & Safety Executive Fines UK Businesses £5.5m for Health and Safety Failings

23-Oct-2013
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has fined UK firms more than £5.5 million for health and safety failings under its ‘Fees for Intervention’ scheme (FFI) since launching one year ago, ELAS has discovered.


Under the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, companies that break health and safety laws are liable for fines to cover HSE related costs, including call-outs, inspections, investigations and taking enforcement action.


Health and safety expert ELAS revealed how businesses were fined a total of £5,532,565 for such breaches by the watchdog since October 2012. These can range from slips, trips and falls, right down to not providing enough toilets or washing facilities.


The sectors that received the most fines were manufacturing (38 per cent) and construction (36 per cent). At the bottom of the table were water and waste management (three per cent) and agriculture (two per cent).


The HSE dispatched fives batches of invoices throughout the year at two-monthly intervals to 11,281 businesses. The region to receive the most invoices was the North West and the least the North East.


Wayne Dunning, ELAS’ lead health and safety consultant, says: “This figure is surprising. We’re led to believe that we live in a world where health and safety is seemingly enforced to such a high degree that it’s sometimes ridiculed as a result. This clearly isn’t the case for all companies judging by this result.


“It shows that the FFI scheme is a force to be reckoned with and that companies are clearly bearing the brunt of having poor, or even non-existent, health and safety measures in place.


“The truth is that a lot of these fines would be easily avoidable if firms took a few simple steps to boost their in-house health and safety policies. To ensure that your company is complying with correct requirements, it is good practice to have a comprehensive plan in place for dealing with HSE inspections and that staff members know the parts they have to play.


“Regular health and safety audits need to be carried out and documented as evidence. It is also good practice to have a third party ‘fresh pair of eyes’, such as ELAS, to identify whether you are doing what is required to meet your legal obligations.”
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