Teal blue graphic

Unannounced checks from HSE during September 2013

The Health and Safety Executive has confirmed that during September 2013 it will be carrying out unannounced checks at construction sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are taking place.

This is part of a nationwide drive aimed at reducing death, injury and ill health in the construction industry. 

Operators found to be in material breach of health and safety obligations may also receive a Fee For Intervention Invoice.

Site operators should therefore take stock to ensure their sites are compliant with all health and safety requirements or they will run the risk of paying the HSE's fees.

During the month long initiative the HSE says that poor standards and unsafe work on Britain’s building sites will be targeted as inspectors visit construction sites to ensure high-risk activities, such as working at height and work which could result in exposure to harmful dusts are being properly managed.

The September 2013 initiative will focus on the main causes of accidents and ill-health in refurbishment, including: 
  •  falls from height
  •  site good order
  •  structural stability
  •  asbestos
  •  silica in construction
  •  welfare 
From 1 October 2012 the HSE have had the power to charge the organisations they inspect who are found to be in material breach of health and safety obligations. Sites where material breaches of health and safety obligations are identified could be on the receiving end of a Fee For Intervention ("FFI") invoice.

The fee is currently set at £124 per hour for the amount of time an HSE inspector spends investigating a material breach which will include writing letters, site visits, preparing and serving improvement notices and any other associated work.

From 1 October 2012 until 31 March 2013 the HSE issued FFI invoices totalling £722,200 for operators in the construction sector. This represents 27% of the total amount invoiced during the period for all sectors.

Site operators will need to ensure that they and their contractors are legally compliant in the areas identified by the HSE to avoid a FFI invoice.

If you do receive a FFI invoice you will need to carefully consider what appeal options may be open to you.

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at September 2013. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases; we cannot be held responsible for any action (or decision not to take action) made in reliance upon the content of this publication.

TLT LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England & Wales number OC 308658 whose registered office is at One Redcliff Street, Bristol BS1 6TP England. A list of members (all of whom are solicitors or lawyers) can be inspected by visiting the People section of this website. TLT LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 406297.

Insights & events View all