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HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has had to bear its fair share of cuts since 2009/10 and has seen a 46% reduction in central Government funding.

Though there have been serious cuts to HSE by the Government over the last few years resulting in a drop in enforcement activity, individual fines are increasing. The average fine per conviction now stands at £149,661.

The manufacturing sector was again the most heavily fined contributing nearly 40% to the total fines imposed.  Whilst that figure was a 15% reduction on the previous year, the fine per conviction went up by 8% to £210,058.  

The construction sector followed with total fines of £15.7m (down 12%) but with an increased fine per conviction of £107,794 (up 14%).

Utility supply was the sector with the highest average fine per conviction (standing at £605,000).

Transportation and storage followed at £243,731, the latter industry having a 100% conviction rate.

Health-and-safety-insuranceIndustries with statistically significantly higher injury rates include:
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • construction
  • public administration/defence
  • wholesale/retail; repair of motor vehicles
  • accommodation/food service activities
  • manufacturing.

Managing health and safety

Your employers’ liability insurance will protect you if one of your employees is injured or becomes ill as a result of a workplace incident and makes a claim for compensation from you. However, if you are subsequently found to have breached health and safety legislation, any fines and other expenses cannot be claimed under your employers’ liability insurance policy.

The implications of an investigation can have serious consequences on the financial viability of a business and its officers. Fines and investigation expenses can lead to insolvency for the company and in the worst cases imprisonment for its Directors.
 

Directors and Officers insurance

You may be able to make a claim on your insurance policy if you have Directors and Officers insurance. This covers a variety of claims; for more information visit our webpage insurance/liability/directors-and-officers or call 0121 321 4600 to discuss in more detail.

However, prevention is always better than trying to close the barn door after the horse has bolted and implementing an effective health and safety plan and management process will help to reduce accidents and minimise the risk of an investigation in the first place.
 

Health and Safety Assist

At CLA we like to offer a holistic solution to our clients’ insurance needs. As an insurance broker, we can advise you on the best insurance policy to provide cover for your individual business. We have also teamed up with partners who can provide additional services to manage and mitigate your risks.

One of our partners specialises in providing support by way of an online safety management hub to help you to simplify and manage your health and safety responsibilities all in one place.

To find out what the service includes and how the portal works, visit our webpage health-and-safety-assist
Or call one of our team to find out what you can do to reduce your exposure to health and safety risks and help to reduce your insurance premiums at the same time.
Management_Liability_InsuranceIf you are running a business, you will have made sure you are insured if anything happens to your employees, premises, equipment and stock. Losing any of these could have a major impact on the financial survival of your business.

What you may not have considered is a scenario where you could lose your own personal property or wealth. After all, your company is a limited company and therefore has limited liability so there is nothing to worry about. However, as a director of the company your liability is unlimited. If a claimant cannot get full compensation from your company, they are entitled to seek redress from the assets of its directors.

Directors and company owners often make decisions that entail an element of risk. If, because of a decision you have made, the company is sued for negligence or a wrongful act, claims can be made not only against the company but also against the company directors. This could have massive implications on your own wealth and lifestyle. Legal and investigative costs can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds and that’s before any compensation or fines are levied by the courts.

Management liability insurance
This insurance cover has been specifically developed for companies with a turnover of up to 50 million. It is taken out in addition to your usual commercial and property insurance and does not add very much in the way of premium to your standard insurance costs.

The cover includes directors’ and officers’ liability and company legal liability, employee dishonesty cover and legal pursuit.

You can also include pollution clean up costs and cyber-crime liability.

Access to employment, legal and regulatory advice is available with this policy to help you to manage a critical situation that could have devastating consequences for the company and its directors.

Why risk your own personal wealth now and in the future for a small additional cost?

Some of the decisions you make as a director now may not have an impact for years to come. You will still be liable for those decisions even if you have left the company. The last thing you want is to be caught up in a claim after you have gone.

This insurance cover is ideal for small to medium sized businesses that are just as vulnerable to this type of claim as larger corporations. It is often easier to reach and identify the owners of these companies.

Peace of mind is not easy to come by these days; for the price of a few sandwiches and drinks at your next board meeting, you could protect your company directors from claims on their personal wealth and the company from a devastating loss of funds.

To get a quote for your peace of mind, simply go to the contact page on our website and fill in your requirements and one of our team will contact you with more information about how management liability insurance works and the amount of cover you will need for your company.
If you or your business is found to be in material breach of health and safety law, you will have to pay for the time it takes the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to identify the breach and help you put things right. This includes investigating and taking enforcement action and is called ‘Fee For Intervention’ (FFI).

HSE_Intervention_FeeIf it transpires that you have not broken the law, then you won’t pay anything. Dutyholders who comply with the law, or where there is no material breach, will not be charged FFI for any work that HSE does with them.

FFI applies to dutyholders where the HSE is the enforcing authority. This will include:
employers
  • self-employed who put others at risk
  • public and limited companies
  • general, limited and limited liability partnerships
  • Crown and public bodies
What the law says
The Health and Safety and Nuclear (Fees) Regulations 2016, link to external website say that a fee is payable to HSE if:
  • a person is contravening or has contravened health and safety laws; and
  • an inspector is of the opinion that the person is or has done so, and notifies the person in writing of that opinion.
What is a material breach?
A material breach is something which an inspector considers serious enough that they need to formally write to the business requiring action to be taken to deal with the material breach. If the inspector gives you a notification of contravention (NoC) after their visit, you’ll have to pay a fee.
The NoC must include:
  • the law that the inspector considers has been broken
  • the reason(s) for their opinion
  • notification that a fee is payable to HSE
Where an inspector simply gives you advice, either verbal or written, you won’t have to pay anything for this advice.

How much it costs
It currently costs £129 an hour. The fee will include the costs covering the time of the entire original visit. The total amount recovered will be based on the amount of time it takes HSE to identify the breach and help you put things right (including associated office work), multiplied by the hourly rate.
Your fee may include the inspector’s time:
  • at your business or workplace
  • preparing reports
  • getting specialist advice
  • talking to you after the visit
  • talking to your workers
The fee can vary depending on:
  • how long the original visit was
  • the time the inspector spent helping you put things right
  • the time it took the inspector to investigate your case
  • any time we spend on taking action against you
Find out more
The Guidance on the application of Fee for Intervention (FFI) document (also available in Welsh) sets out the general principles and approach of the scheme. It includes examples of material breaches but does not cover every scenario where FFI might apply.

Inspectors will apply this guidance and their enforcement decisions will be based on the principles of HSE’s enforcement decision-making frameworks – the Enforcement Management Model (EMM) and the Enforcement Policy Statement (EPS).

The Guidance on the application of Fee for Intervention (FFI) document (also available in Welsh) sets out the general principles and approach of the scheme. It includes examples of material breaches but does not cover every scenario where FFI might apply.

Some Management Liability or Directors and Officers insurance products provide cover to protect against FFI.

If you would like to discuss your own Management Liability Insurance or D&O policy then please contact us on 0121 321 4600 or send an email to info@clarisksolutions.co.uk
Health_and_SafetyTwo recent cases of accidents in the workplace resulting in court cases being brought against companies and directors by the Health and Safety Executive highlights the increased risks to employees in these sectors.

The cases below are just two examples of the many court cases and fines imposed on companies in breach of health and safety regulations.

The first case involved an HGV driver who suffered fatal injuries while coupling the HGV tractor unit to a trailer.

**Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Jessica Churchyard said “This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a young man, and was caused in part by the failure of his employer to implement and monitor safe systems of work to prevent vehicle runaways.
“This death could have easily been prevented if his employer had acted to identify and manage the risks involved, and followed the industry guidance.”


The second case resulted in the amputation of a demolition worker’s left arm and right hand.

**HSE inspector Rohan Lye said after the hearing: “If the company and its director had taken basic steps to decide how to do this routine task, and what control measures to use, they could have prevented this devastating incident resulting in an employee suffering life-changing injuries.”

In the first case involving the HGV driver, the company was fined £170,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,268.80.

In the second case, the company was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,523.04. In addition, the company director was sentenced to ten months imprisonment, suspended for two years and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Insured risk
In both cases the companies would have had to pick up the fines. Your Employers’ Liability insurance policy will generally (depending on your policy wording) cover you for:
  • Employee compensation
  • Employee and criminal proceedings defence costs
  • Court attendance compensation
Even if you have Directors and Officers insurance as well, neither will cover the cost of an HSE investigation or resulting fines or time in prison.

How to minimise your risk of prosecution
As the two quotes above from HSE inspectors imply, both incidents could have been prevented if the employer had implemented effective risk management and approved codes of practice.

To protect your business, you will need to manage your safety documentation, training records and risk assessments etc. Every business has most of this in place but very few can easily and quickly put their hands on it and rely on it being up to date.

Our partnership with health and safety specialists “Health and Safety Assist” can help you with this.
Their online portal is a secure resource and provides access to your own safety management hub. The portal will help you simplify and efficiently manage all of the documents necessary to meet your health and safety responsibilities and comply with the relevant standards for your business sector.

There are also a host of added benefits that you can exploit as the portal becomes more bespoke to your business. It could lead to reduced insurance premiums by demonstrating you have proper management of your workplace risks and compliance with health and safety legislation.

To find out more about how working with Health and Safety Assist can save you money, protect you from prosecution and a hefty fine or prison sentence, please contact one of our team.

**Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0
The supreme court has ruled that the Employment Tribunal fees paid by employees, if they want to take their employer to court, are illegal.

Employee-Tribunal-FeesHow will this affect your business?
Since the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees in 2013 there has been a 79% decrease in cases being brought. ACAS conciliation service think there will be a large increase the number of cases brought in future. Their records show that 2/3rds of the employees they advised did not proceed with their claim because they would have to pay tribunal fees.

Now these fees have been dropped, you may need to consider how to improve the management of employee relationships in future, to avoid a tribunal claim.

What can you do to protect your business from a claim?
Along with reviewing your HR procedures, you should also check insurance policies to see what sort of cover you have in case one of your employees brings an Employment Tribunal claim.

On your commercial insurance policy, you need to check that you have a Legal Expenses extension. This will cover you for all types of claims including unfair dismissal, discrimination and TUPE claims.
The Legal Expenses insurance will cover your defence costs and any settlements or awards made by the court.

Alternatively, if you have Directors and Officers insurance, this will cover defence costs if you are involved in court cases with employees as well as shareholders, regulators and other organisations.

Employment tribunals can be complicated and therefore time consuming and costly. Making sure you have adequate cover to defend your case will help to mitigate the risk of a costly court case to your business.

Employees in future will have nothing to lose by making a claim against their employer even if they only have a slim chance of winning.

To discuss the best options to protect your business, please call us on 0121 321 4600.