Britain's OSHA Shifting to Loser-Pays Status

On Oct. 1, the Health and Safety Executive will start its cost recovery scheme, with violators paying its costs, pending Parliamentary approval.

Britain's Health and Safety Executive recently confirmed that its cost recovery scheme, Fee for Intervention, will start Oct. 1, pending Parliamentary approval. HSE said it has completed a successful test run of the scheme.

HSE posted guidance online detailing how the program will function. Developed in consultation with stakeholders, the guidance explains how it works and includes examples showing how it will be applied. FFI recovers costs from parties who break health and safety laws "for the time and effort HSE spends helping to put matters right such as, investigating and taking enforcement action. Law-abiding businesses will be free from costs and will not pay a fee," according to the agency.

"Confirming the date for the start of Fee For Intervention and publishing the guidance will give duty holders clarity and certainty about the start of the scheme and what they can expect," said Gordon MacDonald, HSE's program director. "We have worked with industry representatives in shaping the final form of the scheme, and the published guidance explains how the scheme will work and what businesses can do to comply with the law and avoid incurring a fee. It is right that those who break the law should pay their fair share of the costs to put things right -- and not the public purse. Firms who manage workplace risks properly will not pay."

The agency's board recommended it to government ministers in December 2011.

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