Risk Assessment Matrix | EcoOnline US
Health & Safety Glossary

Risk Assessment Matrix


What is a Risk Assessment Matrix?

A risk assessment matrix is essentially a table that contains different levels of severity and likelihood of potential hazards. Severity is usually categorized from minor to severe, while likelihood is rated from possible to probable.

The matrix helps to visualize how severe a hazard can be and its likelihood of occurrence in the workplace. By using the matrix, organizations can prioritize which hazards require immediate attention and action.

Why is a Risk Assessment Matrix Important?

A risk assessment matrix is essential for any organization as it provides a systematic approach to hazard identification and analysis. 

By using consequences and likelihood as measurements, it helps to prioritize hazards that pose the most significant risks to the organization and its employees. 

It also enables the organization to develop effective control measures and practices that will minimize the likelihood and severity of potential hazards.

How a Risk Assessment Matrix Works

A risk assessment matrix is a visual tool that helps organizations identify and prioritize potential risks within their workplace. It works by rating the likelihood and potential impact of each risk so that organizations can prioritize the most pressing issues. 

The x-axis of the matrix represents the likelihood of the risk occurring, while the y-axis represents the severity of the impact. The matrix is divided into different zones, each represented by a color to indicate the level of risk.

The first zone on the matrix represents risks that are low in likelihood and severity; these risks are typically considered acceptable and may not require further action. 

The second zone represents risks that are low in severity but have a higher likelihood of occurring, indicating a need for monitoring and control measures. 

The third zone represents risks that are high in severity but have a lower likelihood of occurring; these risks require immediate action to mitigate their potential impact. 

The final zone, which represents risks that are high in both likelihood and severity, requires urgent and immediate action to prevent a potential incident.

The risk assessment matrix is a valuable tool for workplace safety because it helps organizations to prioritize their resources and efforts. 

By focusing on the highest risk items on the matrix, organizations can reduce the likelihood and severity of potential incidents. 

Additionally, the risk assessment matrix can be used to communicate potential risks and their associated severity to employees, allowing them to understand the importance of safety at work.

To create a risk assessment matrix, workplace safety experts must first identify potential risks within the workplace. 

This may involve conducting a workplace audit or a hazard analysis. Once risks have been identified, each risk is evaluated for likelihood and severity. 

This evaluation may be informed by data such as injury and illness records, as well as expert opinion. Once this evaluation is complete, risks are plotted on the matrix and assigned a priority level.

The Importance of Risk Assessment in the Workplace

A risk assessment matrix is one of many tools that’s used for conducting a risk assessment. Risk assessments enable businesses to identify and evaluate potential hazards that may affect the safety of employees, customers, visitors, and community members. 

These hazards can include anything from slippery floors to dangerous machinery to fire hazards and more. Identifying potential hazards is the foundation on which every safety program is built, which is why conducting regular risk assessments is so crucial.

Conducting a comprehensive risk assessment involves more than just identifying potential hazards. It also requires evaluating the likelihood and severity of potential risks and determining the appropriate measures that can be implemented to control or eliminate those risks. 

This process can help businesses make informed decisions about how to allocate resources and prioritize safety initiatives.

Another benefit of risk assessments is that they improve your ability to train employees on workplace safety. 

By identifying the hazards that exist in the workplace, you can teach employees how to recognize them, avoid them and respond appropriately if they encounter them while on the job.

It is also vital to remember that risk assessment is not a one-time event. Businesses must conduct assessments regularly to identify new hazards and address existing ones. This means regularly re-evaluating their severity and likelihood and making changes to the risk assessment matrix. 

Use EcoOnline to Evaluate Different Risks

One of the best tools that companies can use to create a risk assessment matrix is EcoOnline. EcoOnline is a cloud-based safety reporting tool that companies can use to gain a better understanding of risk and proactively take steps to mitigate or manage risk.