SN278 - Update to Risk Assessment Code
29 Apr 2021







STFC has a legal, and moral, obligation to reduce Health and Safety risks 'as far as is reasonably practicable', i.e. to take into account the cost and effort needed to reduce Health and Safety risks based on the likelihood of injury or ill health and its potential severity, and to manage any residual risk.​

The aim of STFC SHE Code 6: Risk Management​ is to ensure that risk assessment is carried out consistently across the STFC and to a suitable and sufficient standard. Critical to the code's effectiveness is its pragmatic application which relies on the judgment of all managers and employees to ensure that:

  • those activities where significant injury, ill health or environmental harm could arise are the subject of documented risk assessment; and the risks associated with changes to the scope or intent of work during the execution of work are also managed.
  • The results of undertaking a risk assessment for an activity can range from endorsement of the current health and safety controls, through avoidance of an activity, or identification of additional actions to further minimise risk, and in the extreme, ceasing an activity where the health and safety of those involved, or environmental impact cannot be managed.

Following two key audits of SHE Code 6: Risk Management, the code and its associated Bites​ize training have been significantly updated.

SHE risk assessment is fundamental to STFC’s SHE Management System and a key driver improving our H&S performance. Undertaking risk assessments is a skill that all managers and employees need to understand and implement during the course of their work.

Please complete the BiteSize for this code and familiarise yourself with the updated code to ensure you are aware of your responsibilities .

A summary of the key changes to the code​:

  1. ​​​The option of using the OTJ pad for a standalone risk assessment has been removed. The reason for this is that this document, on its own, does not meet the legal requirement of a “suitable and sufficient” risk assessment. It can be used for last minute changes to an existing documented risk assessment. Wherever possible, documented risk assessments using either SHE Assure or the STFC proforma should be used to risk assess occupational activities​.
  2. The Risk scoring matrixrisk scoring matrix has been up​dated to add risk guidancefurther guidance to ‘likelihood’ and ‘severity’.
  3. ​The RA proforma has been altered to include a hazard row exclusively for untrained groups exposed to risks in the area, e.g. visitors, cleaners etc. This is due to a large number of RAs failing to consider any groups of people other than staff.
  4. The paragraph which previously explained the term ‘suitable and sufficient’ has been shortened and instead an appendix created which takes the reader through an ‘aid memoire’ of items to consider to ensure that a ‘suitable and sufficient’ RA has been created. The items listed are based on advice from the HSE.
  5. ​The definition of ‘Hazard’ has been described more fully to include:
    • physical safety hazards such as working with electricity or working from ladders;
    • health hazards such as working with hazardous chemicals, biological agents or activities that could lead to work-related mental ill-health such as stress, anxiety or depression; or
    • environmental hazards such as activities leading to harmful emissions to the air or contamination of our wastewater systems.
  6. A section has been added to provide guidance on ‘significant’ hazards to assist in determining whether a RA should be documented or not:
    The risk assessment should address all significant hazards. Significant hazards are those that could potentially cause harm to people or the environment. Activities which incur trivial risks or those associated with life in general do not require a risk assessment, e.g. paper cuts from working in an office or pulling a muscle when climbing a flight of stairs or donning a lab coat, unless the work activity compounds or significantly alters those risks. There is a legal requirement to identify any hazards and reasonably foreseeable risks which may result from the hazard not being controlled. ‘Reasonably foreseeable’ risks are those that an average person would identify. For example, when working with flammable material and a source of ignition, fire would be a reasonably foreseeable risk.
  7. The description of when to review a RA has been extended to include when new information emerges on:
    • technological advances, including:
      • new techniques
      • new control measures
    • improved design and products
    • safer equipment and materials
  8. A paragraph has been added relating to when a main assessor leaves employment STFC. As per the leaver’s checklist, responsibility for the RA should be passed to an existing member of staff. It is recommended this person familiarises themselves with the RA. Note: this does not include staff named in the ‘assessment team’ only the ‘main assessor’.
  9. A requirement for RA training has been added for anyone carrying out a RA. This training will be carried out by Laura Davies either in person or by webinar. The course is approximately 2 hrs long and includes a live tutorial on the use of SHE Assure for risk assessment.

Contact: Baker, Gareth (STFC,DL,COO)