Employment numbers continue to drop for the Health & Safety Executive

The Health and Safety Executive is a UK government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation, and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risks in Great Britain.

Like many companies in the UK, the number of staff at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has decreased over the past few years. Employment numbers fell from 3,700 in 2009/10 to 2,400 in 2021/22.

This can be attributed to funding for the HSE being 43% lower over that period in real terms on a comparative basis, as well as a lack of results from the FFI scheme, which was implemented in 2012.

What is the FFI scheme?

The Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme, meant that, following a site visit, businesses found to be in material breach of health and safety law would be charged for the time it takes to resolve, 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.

The scheme was thought to drive additional income to the HSE, but it has not generated the amount of fees that it originally planned, despite the hourly rate increasing year on year due to inflation.

What is the impact?

The result of these changes can be seen in the number of inspections carried out annually. Prior to 2010, there were over 25,000 inspections annually. Currently, the number of inspections is thought to be in the 16,000 to 17,000 range. The HSE’s business plan for 2022 – 2023 set a target of 14,000 annual inspections.

Although the number of inspections has reduced, HSE inspectors are still undertaking them across the country.  As such, employers still need to keep focusing on maintaining good standards of health and safety in their workplace.

Aegis has experienced health and safety professionals who can assist in conducting reviews of health and safety management systems. Contact our team today to see how we can help.