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Interdepartmental Liaison Group on Risk Assessment Use of Risk Assessment (UK-ILGRA) within Government Departments


Annex 1

Interdepartmental Liaison Group on Risk Assessment


Dr J McQuaid Chairman, Health and Safety Executive

Dr J M Le Guen Secretary, Health and Safety Executive

Ms T Willis Minutes secretary, Health and Safety Executive

Mr A V Jones Health and Safety Executive

Mr D Perridge Department of the Environment

Mr S Carlyle Department of the Environment, HMIP

Mr C P Kendall Department of Health

Mr D Moss Department of Trade and Industry

Mr D Hale Cabinet Office Deregulation Unit

Ms P Kilbey Department of Transport

Ms V Jenson Home Office, Fire Safety

Dr G A Carr-Hill Home Office

Mr A Walker Department for Education and Employment

Mrs J Wright Department for Education and Employment

Dr C E Fisher Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food

Dr D J Hewkin Ministry of Defence

Mr M Parsonage Treasury

Mr A Richardson Inland Revenue

Mr J Lugton Scottish Office

Dr H J Prosser Welsh Office

Dr K Gray Department of National Heritage

Mr A G Sayce Civil Aviation Authority

Mr S Lackie Northern Ireland Office

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Interdepartmental Liaison Group on Risk Assessment

Terms of reference

  1. to keep under review developments in the fields of:

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Summary of use of risk assessment within departments

Department Development of policy Within policy application of the policy Internationally Approach to the Risk Assessment Promotion of Risk Assessment External sources of advice
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT Uses of risk assessment:

- Deciding priorities for policy and research,

- Resource allocation,

- Approach to regulatory regime,

- As a tool for refining the decision-making process.

Risk assessment in the "areas of road and vehicle safety and, to a lesser extent in marine safety. It is also used extensively by rail operators for setting safety targets (rail safety is regulated by HSE).


Civil Aviation Authority:

Safety Regulation Group use risk assessment as basis for setting safety targets, eg for the reliability of equipment.

National Air Traffic Service use risk assessment to ensure that safety is not compromised either by its re-equipment programme or in the design of new air traffic systems.

Decisions on regulations, for example, the compulsory wearing of seat-belts.
Decisions on investment in road safety.

Radioactive Material:
Transport is governed by approvals issued by the competent authority (CA) - in this case the Secretary of State - assessed against prescriptive regulations laid down by the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA). The IAEA recognises that Probabilistic Safety Analysis (PSA) (ie Quantified Risk Assessment) can be a useful tool in this area; any risk assessment undertaken by the Department is either driven by applicants for CA approval of package designs or in response to IAEA.

Shipping Safety Agency:
A Marine Directorate Memorandum (internal administrative guidance), on the need for surveyors to consider use of risk assessment techniques in drawing up regulations, is to be developed.

Rail (including underground):
Any new expenditure project which requires Secretary of State scheme approval and which has safety implications is the subject of a formal safety case evaluation by the operator, employing risk assessment techniques.

Most of the regulations for vehicle standards are made by the. Developing vehicle standards requires assessment of the likely effect on accident rates and injuries to car occupants and other road users.


UK has submitted paper to International Maritime Organisation on formal safety assessment, a technique which uses risk assessment.

IMO has formed a group co-ordinated by the UK to develop the idea further.

Radioactive Material:

Prescriptive IAEA Regulations provide a benchmark against which to base assessment for approval of competent authority.


Most regulations are agreed internationally by the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA). CAA is promoting the use of risk assessment and CBA techniques.

Various approaches are used :


Radioactive Material:
Use of Probabilistic Safety Analysis (ie Quantified Risk Assessment).

Probabilistic Safety Analysis.

Partially quantitative.

The DOT/Marine Safety agency has previously let research contracts involving risk assessment including a recent project entitled "Evaluating and Applying Formal Safety Assessment". A further contract has been put out to tender.

DoT runs an extensive programme of publicity and education to promote road safety and increase awareness of risks.


Risk assessment used for :

Prioritising areas of potential research,

Health and Safety policy formulation,

Legislative approach for fire safety.

Fire risk assessment is incorporated within published guidance for fire authorities etc. It is also the key regulation within proposed fire safety legislation implementing fire safety requirements of Directives.

The Forensic Science Service use of risk assessment is specifically health and safety, accommodation, and environment based.

Emergency planning research.

Health and Safety policy on training exercises for Fire Officers.

Practical guidance on the fire risk assessment approach.

Risk assessment is assuming a more important role in new legislation needed to implement the fire safety requirements of directives.

  Emergency Planning Department have provisional plans to include risk assessment in their research programme.

If legislation proceeds, fire risk assessment will be promoted by means of guidance, seminars etc.


Fire Protection Association,

European Commission.


Risk assessment required for compliance with health and safety legislation.

Work organised to reduce risks.

Strongly represented on international policy-making bodies.

  Strongly support the Forest & Aboriculture Safety & Training Council in the production of safety guides.

Programme of safety workshops.

Represented on BSI committees and working groups.


Limited scope for risk assessment in policy areas.

Risk assessment of limited use for operational matters.


Information Technology Office use risk assessment and risk management techniques in feasibility studies and project appraisal (TECFRAME assessment software).

Risk assessment is also used in IT security policy.

Risk assessment techniques are used to prioritise internal audit coverage and in reviews of the operational functions of the taxes and collection network.


Risk assessment used for:

- Resource allocation,

- Control options,

- Developing research and development.

Risk assessment used for:

- Food Safety Act codes of practice,

- Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for veterinary medicine,

- Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations,

- Food and Environment Protection Act.

Risk assessment applied to:

- Food Safety,

- MRLs,

- Acceptable medicine intake,

- Food product approval for additives / contaminants,

- Plant health,

- Evaluation of technical marine conservation measures,

- Catch quotas

- Biotechnology approvals,

- Discharge licences,

- Advice on action to protect food chain following emergency,

- Appraisal of flood defences,

- Pesticide approval.

Food safety:,




Strong influence on veterinary medicine.

Pest risk analysis with Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN).


No Observed Adverse Effect Levels

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points.

QRA is used for:

- control intake.

- structure analysis / problem solving.

Risk assessment promoted through:

- Hazard analysis.

- Critical control points for food safety.

- Food safety and pesticide criteria made available to consumers.

- Veterinary medicine risk

assessment promoted in EC.

- Development of methodology for perception and communication of risk.

- Flood defence research development and guidance.


Risk assessment underpins targeting of resources to counter perceived greatest risks (of smuggling etc.).


Risk assessment used in :

- determining visit intervals to traders,

- debt recovery,

- excise work,

- customs freight work,

- anti-smuggling work.

  Some quantification for anti-smuggling work.

eg for types of traffic, origin and routing of traffic.



Risk assessment used for:

- decision-making,

- research into development potential.

  Developments that have been subject to risk assessment:

- nuclear re-processing,

- petro-chemical plant,

- marine terminal ('break shock' phenomenon).

EU Directive on environmental assessment. Formal examples of risk assessment have been highly quantitative but less significant development proposals may be subject to semi-quantitative and qualitative assessments in course of planning appeals. Arises statutorily through planning process and consequent consultation with HSE. HSE

Risk assessment used as a tool for refining the decision-making process.


Risk assessment is used in pollution incidents and contaminated land remediation to aid decision-making on control measures.


Research has been undertaken on the risk assessment of contaminated land sites in Wales.


Risk assessment used to guide management in the setting of priorities and allocation of resources.

Risk assessment required by environmental protection and health and safety legislation, eg

- MHSWR 1993,

- Control of GMOs,

- NII regulations on external hazards at dockyards,

- Reclamation of contaminated land,

- Public Information for Radiation Emergencies Regulations 1992.

Examples of criteria used to control risk:

- specific safety design features for:

- ships,

- facilities,

- weapon systems,

- operations,

- armament stores,

- radiation dose.

- quantity of an explosive at a defined distance.

For weapons procurement or explosives storage, ad hoc procedures complying with basic principles are used to identify sources of risk.

Risk assessment used increasingly as a management input to committees such as the Ordnance Board.

NATO committee structure provides opportunities for exchange of information on risk assessment developments in specific areas and its use as a management tool.

Quantitative: Detailed models are extensively developed within Nuclear and Radiation Safety areas. A less formal procedure is used to estimate maximum risk of fatality from explosives storage activity.

Specific quantitative expertise includes: - Fault tree analysis,

- Reliability prediction,

- Release cloud behaviour,

- Estimation of individual and societal risk,

- Frequency of meteorological events.

Radiation safety area has experience in the development of criteria to suit particular situations and offer protection to the public.

Willing to contribute to debate on tolerability of risk, public perception, of risk and achievement of equitable decisions. Contractors known to contribute to MOD risk assessment work include :

- Rolls Royce Associates,

- Safety & Reliability Directorate,

- Hunting Engineering,

- Census.


Risk assessment, though rarely undertaken as a formal exercise, informs priority setting and allocation of resources.

Risk assessment is used in the following areas:

- Safety of medicines,

- Food safety,

- Air/Water quality,

- Planning for chemical/radiation


- Vaccination/Immunisation strategy,

- Assessment of medical devices,

- Health promotion.

Examples of applications are:

- Decisions on licensing of medicines.

- Recommend action on food safety

issues through expert committees.

- Consideration of food hazards and

decisions on handling.

- Setting regulatory standards for medical

devices; food, air, water safety.

- Priorities for vaccination and other

public health policies.

DH has active involvement in international discussions, including:

-ropean Community.


- WHO,



-ropean Standards Body.

Qualitative in almost all cases; quantitative risk assessment models are seldom used. Risk assessment is promoted through:

- publications, reports etc.,

- health promotion initiatives,

- contributions to conferences etc.

These include:

- expert advisory committees,

- NDPBs, eg. PHLS, NRPB,

- ad hoc research/consultants.


Although no formal risk assessment is employed, informal analysis is used as a tool for refining and informing the decision making process.

Risk identification forms a part of operational and business planning within the Department. Directorate plans and the Business Plan set out the risks to the achievement of performance targets.

Potential for loss is minimized through financial systems design, audit, information and guidance to budget holders, training of budget holders and budget officers, eg Managing risks is an integral part of identifying contract requirements and managing the relationship with service providers.

Risk assessment used to:

- assess the risk to computer systems,

- identify security requirements,

- shape operational procedures, back-up

routines and stand-by arrangements,

- identify the main risks to the

Department's business functions and

prepare countermeasures.

There is a legal requirement for general risk assessments of all work areas to be carried out. Buildings safety risks are managed through comprehensive fire and emergency instructions and the provision of alarm systems.


Information on risk management is included in the Guidance on Contract Management and Service Level Agreements.

On the education side, the department is represented on HSE Committees and Working Groups, involved in special consultative exercises with HSE's Education National Interest Group.


Risk assessment is used for:

- Corporate planning,

- Work prioritisation,

- Formulation of negotiating strategies,

- Resource allocation,

- Compliance Cost Assessment.

Risk assessment is used for:

- Targeting and refinement of legislation:

eg - Competition,

- Consumer Safety.

- Standard setting:

eg - Consumer Safety,

- Electricity Supply Regulations 1988.

Risk assessment is applied in the following areas:

- Consumer Safety

eg - defining the acceptability of risk.

- Small Firms

eg - for assessing the risk of a shortage of suitable finance,

- for administration of Uniform Business Rate,

- for assessing the effects of legislation.

- Oil and Gas,

eg - for deciding degree of inspection,

- for tax assessment,

- abandonment of installations and pipelines,

- for regulation of discharge of chemicals offshore.

- Services Management,

eg - IT security policy,

- Market testing of contracts.

- Radiocommunications Agency,

eg - categorisation of response to radio interference complaints.

- British National Space Centre,

eg - assessment of risk inherent in programme of work.

- Insurance,

eg - prioritisation of review of insurance company returns.

Risk assessment is used in an international context in the following areas:

- Consumer safety,

- Small firms,

- Patents,

- Space,

- Competition Policy,

- Radiocommunications,

- Economic planning,

- Electricity,

- Environment.

Both qualitative and quantitative approaches are used, with formalisation in some areas.


Consultants are used in the following areas:

- Consumer safety,

- Small firms,

- Services management,

- Regional development,

- Environment,

Other sources:

- Office of Fair Trading.


Risk assessment used for developing policy in appropriate areas, such as:

- radioactive waste disposal,

- use of chemicals,

- construction,

- land use policy.

Risk assessment is used explicitly in some areas:

- discharge of radionuclides and

disposal of radioactive waste,

- discharge of asbestos,

- release of GMOs,

- effects of radon,

- control of existing chemicals.

and is implicit in developing other policy areas such as:

- discharges of chemical pollutants,

- global atmosphere changes,

- land use planning.

Risk assessment used in preparing HMIP's case for public hearing on feasibility of underground disposal of nuclear waste.

Risk assessment is implicit consideration of inspectors in application and enforcement of integrated pollution control under the EP Act 1990.

Much of Department's policy derives from international agreements, recommendations and legislation in, OECD, ICRP, UN, PARCOM etc.

Export of dangerous chemicals from to developing countries.

Use quantitative or probabilistic risk assessment where practicable and appropriate, eg underground disposal of nuclear waste. Otherwise use a qualitative approach.

Extensive research into development of risk assessment methods and practice for protection of humans and the environment, eg.

- release of GMOs,

- environmental sensitivity to

chemical discharges.

Publications such as 'Policy Appraisal and the Environment' and the White Paper 'This Common Inheritance'.

Advisory committees,

Research contractors,



Risk assessment is used for:

- deciding the priorities HSC/E should address.

- planning the allocation of resources, to ensure priorities are properly addressed and that value for money is achieved,

- Cost Benefit Assessment (CBA) of new regulations, ie to decide whether new regulations are necessary where benefit exceeds risk,

- post hoc evaluation of the impact of new legislation,

- prioritising research required to be undertaken to fulfil operational and policy needs,

- deciding the control regime required to address a particular problem or issue, for example to decide between issuing legislation, guidance, license or approval.

Risk assessment is used as a mechanism in regulation to enable those who create risks to introduce control measures that are commensurate to those risks. This approach prevents over expenditure when controlling risks and thus ensures that regulations do not become burdensome.

The above approach is inherent in all post Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) health and safety legislation, in the following areas for example:

- Asbestos,

- Lead,

- Mining,

- Offshore,

- Pipelines,

- Nuclear,

- Major Hazards,

- Chemicals,

- Pesticides,

- Genetically Modified Organisms,

- Transport,

- Management,

- Workplace,

- Manual Handling,

- Workplace Equipment,

- Display Screen Equipment,

- Personal Protective Equipment.

Risk assessment is used:

By HSC and its Advisory Committees to HSE for:

- exposure limit setting, ie setting standards which are regarded to be acceptable or tolerable, for exposure to certain substances.

- post-hoc evaluation of regulatory packages - in some cases, major regulatory packages are subject to post hoc evaluation to assess the extent to which benefits anticipated in the CBA have been achieved and to examine any additional costs incurred as a result of the regulations.

By HSE for:

- development of standards, eg for safety from nuclear installations.

- development of criteria for deciding whether risks are:

- broadly acceptable,

- tolerable, or

- intolerable,

taking into account such factors as uncertainty and perception.

- the granting of licenses / exemptions / consents / approvals and advising, as a statutory consultee, on certain land-use planning matters.

- as competent authority for assessing risks from substances notified under the notification of New Substances


By Inspectors for :

- inspection rating system, ie rating businesses, according to certain criteria, to decide the frequency at which inspections should be carried out.

- interpreting legislation and other standards in industrial circumstances.

- during visits, deciding whether risks are adequately controlled.

- deciding what is reasonably practicable.

- deciding on enforcement methods appropriate to individual circumstances and what course of action to take to require risks to be further controlled.



- Development of legislation and standards,

- Senior Labour Inspectors Committee,

- Channel Tunnel agreements,

- Development of risk assessment scheme for substances.


- Development of International legislation and standards,

- International chemical control programmes,

- International Atomic Energy Authority safety standards,

- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Various approaches are used, ranging from extremely subjective and informal qualitative assessments, through semi-quantitative, to, at the other end of the spectrum, highly quantitative assessments used, for example, in the major hazards, offshore or nuclear fields. - HSE publishes guidance covering all areas of its work, much of which entails risk assessment, eg.

- guidance on hazard control, ie identifying hazards, identifying those exposed, evaluating the risk and implementing control measures.

- 'The Tolerability of Risk from Nuclear Power Stations' sets out the approach adopted for assessing the tolerability and acceptability of risks both in individual and societal terms.

- HSE has produced a video, aimed at small firms, explaining the use of risk assessment and its application for reducing risks in the workplace. The video stresses the benefits of risk assessment, for example the removal of burdensome prescriptive legislation.

- Substantial programme of

extramural research involving risk


- HSE promote the use of risk

assessment for inspection rating to

other enforcement authorities, eg

local authorities.

- HSE inspectors give advice during inspection, particularly in relation to risk-based legislation.

- HSE organises or contributes to conferences (including international ones) seminars and local talks addressing risk assessment issues.

Some research is contracted out, eg to Safety and Reliability Directorate.


1 Sustainable Development. The UK Strategy. CM 2426, HMSO, (1994). ISBN 0 10 124262 X.

2 Fischoff B., Slovic P., Lichtenstein S., Read S., and CombsB. (1978). How safe is safe enough? A psychometric study of attitudes towards technological risks and benefits. Policy Sciences, 9, 127-152. Slovic P. (1987). Perception of risk. Science 236 (4799), 280-285.

3 Kasperson R. E., Renn O., Slovic P. et al. (1988) The Social Amplification of Risk: A Conceptual Framework. Risk Analysis, 8(2), 177-187.

4 The Tolerability of Risk from Nuclear Power Stations. HMSO, (1992), London. ISBN 0 11 886368 1.

5 A Guide to Risk Assessment and Risk Management for Environmental Protection. HMSO, (1995). ISBN 0 11 753091 3.

Updated 2009-10-27