The Process of Risk Assessment


Risk Management: the process of identifying, assessing and controlling hazards, with follow up reviews establishing the effectiveness of controls.

Risk Assessment: performed prior to the commencement of an activity, when performing a new job or when new hazards are identified. Risk assessments must be documented.

Hazard: something with the potential to cause harm. This can include substances, plants, work processes and/or other aspects of the work environment.

Risk: the possibility that death, injury or illness might result because of the hazard.

Control Measures: measures put in place in order to eliminate or manage the exposure to identified risks.

Step 1: Identify the hazard

There are a number of general types of hazards, including:

  • • Work environment (such as confined spaces or working from heights)
  • • Energy (such as electricity)
  • • Manual handling
  • • Noise, plants & equipment
  • • Substances (such as chemicals)
  • • Type of activity may include hazards

Hazard identification can happen through:

  • • General supervision of staff and processes
  • • Formal auditing of staff, processes and systems
  • • Reviewing incident and accident reports
  • • Workers or contractors advising management of a hazard

Step 2: Assess Risk

The risk assessment should evaluate the scope of each identified hazard.

For each of the risks, estimate the likelihood and consequences of an incident occurring at your workplace, considering your assessment with and without existing control measures.

(N.B. RiskEZ provides an example of likelihood and consequence definitions along with the resulting risk matrix. Your organisation may establish differing risk definitions. You can find your organisation's risk matrix in the sidebar as "Risk Matrix.")
Evaluate the likelihood.
  A   Almost Certain   Common or repeatedly occurring
  B   Likely   Known to occur or has happened in the past
  C   Possible   Could occur or has been heard of happening in the past
  D   Unlikely   Not likely to occur or has not been heard of happening in the past
  E   Rare   The chance of this occurring is almost impossible
Evaluate the consequence.
  1   Minimal   No time off work. No treatment required.
  2   Minor   Minor amount of time off work, injury or illness. First aid treatment required.
  3   Moderate   Moderate amount of time off work, injury or illness. Medical treatment required.
  4   Major   Incident resulting in serious bodily injury, dangerous event or death.
  5   Catastrophic   Incident resulting in multiple deaths or catastrophic loss of property.
Use a risk matrix to evaluate risk.
                                                                  Risk Matrix
 1   Minimal   2   Minor   3   Moderate   4  Major   5      Catastrophic 
 A  Almost Certain         B        B            A        A               A
 B  Likely        C        B            A        A               A
 C  Possible        C        C            B        B               A
 D  Unlikely        C        C            C        B               A
 E  Rare        C        C            C        C               B
Using the ratings of each risk, develop control measures to minimise risk.

Revaluate risk levels after putting in control measures and then use the following procedure. This process may need to be repeated a number of times. Thinking about the implementation of control measures helps you consider the activity/hazard you are proposing.

After you have completed the process follow the below procedure.

  • Class A – Activity must not take place or work should stop.
  • Class B – This risk assessment must be seen by either WHS Manager, Business Manager or Campus Pastor before the activity takes place.
  • Class C – This activity can proceed with the control measures in place.

Step 3: Identify Control Measures

Hierarchy of controls

  • Eliminate
  • Substitute
  • Isolate
  • Implement controls

Step 4: Put Control Measures in Place

Communicate with team the control measures.

Conduct activity according to risk assessment.

Step 5: Monitor and Control

Review activity during and after and modify control measures as necessary.