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RISQS Newsletter - October 2022

Compliance at an all-time high

We’re delighted to announce supplier compliance levels within the RISQS scheme has reached an all-time high. There is still work to be done, with some suppliers, who still have outstanding compliance that needs to be updated – remember to be visible to all buyers in the system please keep your profile updated.

Important changes to CDM – Stage 2

Following the roll out of Stage 1 of the recent CDM changes (Automation of the system and change of compliance questions) the RISQS team are working hard to prepare for Stage 2.

Stage 2 relates to the Assurance gained on all Organisations discharging duties under the CDM Regulation.  Here is a summary of what the new changes mean:

RSSB have now released a new copy of the RICCL which will show CDM verifiable codes as auditable. This will allow the small number of suppliers undertaking construction activities, who previously only held verifiable codes and had never been assessed through audit, to become compliant with NR/L2/SCO/302 Module 2. If you wish to challenge the RICCL please email

Suppliers impacted by the change have been or will shortly be contacted and supported by our customer services team. Full guidance and support will be provided to suppliers to ensure they do not become un-searchable for services they are supplying without full knowledge and awareness of the expectations.

Some helpful points to remember:

  1. Suppliers who have not previously been audited to either remove CDM codes or book in CORE & CDM audit prior to verifiable to auditable change date.
  2. Previously audited suppliers who have undertaken the CDM module will have the newly auditable codes shown as live
  3. For audited suppliers (with no live CDM audit) any newly changed codes will be placed on account as not qualified and due for assessment at next renewal audit. This will ensure they remain visible for all previously qualified codes. An out of turn will not be generated unless requested by the supplier.

Rest assured our team will work to ensure this change happens as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. As always if you have any questions please do contact us.

Safety related news

  1. When is Safety Critical not Safety Critical..? A debate - surely not?

We at RISQS are getting a lot of ‘traffic’ and hearing lots of comments around the delineation between safety critical and not safety critical – which we find interesting.

It appears to be a delineation about being in Sentinel (and therefore requiring the correct competencies to do your job, PPE supplied at cost of the employer, Tools required to deliver your job supplied at cost by the employer, training relevant to the role supplied at cost by the employer, PTS training and Sentinel Sponsorship… (these are all requirements that we assure against from Sentinel)).

The industry set out these competencies for a reason – not to create a ‘tax’, ‘a layer of cost’ or ‘keep out innovation’ – they are for saving lives, the lives potentially of the taxpayer whom some strange individuals argue would be begrudge paying that (most people like to get home safe and don’t begrudge paying for that privilege).

So pondering if you should use them in some cases is a bit like wondering if you should wear a fall arrest or rely on a soft landing

So let’s deal with the Safety Critical or not – or perhaps open the debate.

According to the ORR a ‘Safety Critical’ role is one that presents a ‘Danger to Others’ (Working at Height, Access Equipment and installation of Electricity to name a few), A competent person must carry out safety critical tasks. These tasks include driving and dispatching trains, signalling, installation of components and maintenance, ensuring safety of persons working on the track (provision of protection), etc. Any worker carrying out safety critical work as part of practical training, for the purpose of obtaining experience towards developing competence as a safety critical worker, must be supervised by a competent safety critical worker.

Whilst they may not be covered by the requirements of ORR’s description of Rail Safety Critical works, when it is a ‘construction activity’ or ‘not on the managed infrastructure’ some in the rail industry seem to declassify from safety critical, however the construction industry and HSE specifically refer to the ROG Part 4 and have drawn up a list of those roles that they deem safety critical the CITB refer to them as 'High Risk Activity' and acknowledge rail as a ‘specialist industry’ that requires further specific competencies (e.g. PTS) to operate similar equipment etc. trackside.

So we are not sure why some people feel or believe, but really have made a conscious decision to treat two employees working in different contracts as requiring lesser or greater skills to perform the same task.

I think both descriptions are clear about defining the tasks involved, the environments they are in and what they expect. Room for debate?

I would also like those employers, dicing with this decision, to consider whether they may be inferring that the decision to treat the skills, competency and management of an individual not working on the infrastructure (but say operating plant) as ‘lower risk’ by invoking a less rigorous (2nd or 1st party) assurance of them, as well lowering checks on ongoing competency, fatigue etc. if anything were to go wrong the RAIB / ORR and HSE may question through court the reasoning and risk management process they undertook as an employer to differentiate the skills, capability, competency and management thereof of those individuals. I would not want to be in the dock on that day. As at the end of the day you are potentially suggesting that the better practices you have in place for undertaking the same task in one environment don’t need to be applied in another environment whilst delivering the same outcome. This is not change in environment like deciding to only PAT test laptops every two years instead of your normal regime as they never leave the office. They are suggesting that digging a hole next to a track is more dangerous than digging a hole next to a road – odd.

  1. Sentinel, Training and PPE

We are also hearing of individuals being required to buy their own PPE, pay for their own training and many other odd activity from our colleagues in Sentinel and on Social Media channels, this is in the environment definitely covered by Sentinel.

We at RISQS will be digging as deeply as the remit of the Network Rail and Sentinel Rules allow continuously until we find any culprits and hopefully flush them out of the rail industry. If you are affected by this please remember that the CIRAS Team are ready to help confidentially and competently.

  1. Membership of non-approved Schemes

We are also hearing of entities being challenged to join other schemes – other than those approved by Network Rail to do so – to qualify for procurement with a single Buyer or Contractor. You may want to inform your Tier 1, their Client or Network Rail about that, this is adding a layer of cost that is unnecessary and will only end up being paid for by rising cost of delivery and the taxpayer being asked for more bail out funds. You may also want to speak to your elected member of parliament.

We know that a few in the industry think that RISQS and our competitors are ‘just a cost’ and ‘add no value as incidents are down’, but just stop and think about why they are down….

We at RISQS invest every penny that we make out of the RISQS scheme right back into safety and standards and improvements to the scheme, we will continue doing so, help us help you by challenging any strange behaviour by employers either anonymously through entities like CIRAS or directly.

If you need advice on this please speak up, don’t accept.

Before you go…

  • Over the next few weeks, we will be making changes to the Terms and Conditions.
  • This will enable us to better communicate with all of our members.
  • Changes will be rolled out over the next few weeks as part of our commitment to improve the scheme…

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