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HSE Cost Recovery Proposals Unfair, Says NFUS

NFUS has described the Health & Safety Executive’s (HSE) proposals to pass on costs – in some circumstances – to the UK’s farmers as unfair.

HSE has proposed that farmers, referred to in the HSE’s consultation as ‘duty holders’ would have to pay for each intervention e.g. an email or letter resulting from a breach in health and safety law, at a cost if £133 per hour. According to HSE, costs would also be recovered for ‘associated relevant office based work in gathering relevant information/evidence, and writing relevant documents such as emails, letters, reports, and visit records.’ For example, an inspection that results in a letter could cost the farmer approximately £750.

NFU Scotland Vice-President, Allan Bowie said:

“This proposal has nothing to do with improving the safety of workers but instead is driven by the 35% cut in the HSE budget and a consequential need to fill this funding gap. There is a danger that any routine or proactive inspections could become a costly exercise and so discourage those who wish to seek a remedy to potential problems.

“NFUS believes there is a real need for a common sense system during inspections with regulatory agencies focusing on awareness raising rather than any punitive approach. Farmers should be provided with advice and guidance on how to correct minor problems and be given an agreed period to allow them to remedy any problems found during an inspection.

“HSE has done some very good work with the farming industry recently, which NFU Scotland has wholeheartedly supported and promoted. This includes the high profile Come Home Safe campaign and Safety and Health Awareness Days, known as SHADS, one of which is taking place on Thursday, 3 November at Ayr. This proactive and joint approach in tackling health and safety issues could be jeopardised by the threat of charging.”

Ends

Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 167/11


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