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HSE responds to Shetland Times article "Small businesses face extra costs as health and safety body plans to charge"

Article:
'Small businesses face extra costs as health and safety body plans to charge' - Shetland Times, 5 October 2011
Response date:
12 October 2011

Dear Sir,

The article in today's paper "Small businesses face extra costs as health and safety body plans to charge" was both inaccurate and misleading.

HSE believes it is right that businesses that operate outside of the law should pay for its help in putting things right - and not the public purse.

HSE will only recover its costs if a business or organisation has broken (breached) health and safety law and HSE has to intervene to ensure matters are put right. If there is a breach that does not require an inspector to intervene, no costs will be recovered. Similarly, businesses that comply with the law will not pay a penny.

The article states, "as there is no HSE presence in the isles and investigations take several days, the cost to businesses, which would be based on an hourly fee, could be considerable". As the costs of travel have been taken into account in the hourly rate, any organisation or business will not be invoiced for the time HSE inspectors spend travelling to and from the locations irrespective of the distance.

Yours faithfully

Gordon MacDonald
HSE Cost Recovery Programme Director

Updated 2012-01-13