Designing An Effective Risk Matrix

Risk assessment is an effective means of identifying process safety risks and determining the most cost-effective means to reduce risk. Many organizations recognize the need for risk assessment, but most do not have the tools, experience and resources to assess risk quantitatively. Therefore, these organizations use qualitative or semiquantitative risk assessment tools, such as risk ranking. Although risk matrices are easy to use, unless they are designed properly, they can create liability issues and give a false sense of security. An effective risk ranking matrix should have the following characteristics:

Be simple to use and understand

Not require extensive knowledge of quantitative risk analysis to use

Have clear guidance on applicability

Have consistent likelihood ranges that cover the full spectrum of potential scenarios

Have detailed descriptions of the consequences of concern for each consequence range

Have clearly defined tolerable and intolerable risk levels

Show how scenarios that are at an intolerable risk level can be mitigated to a tolerable risk level on the matrix

Provide clear guidance on what action is necessary to mitigate scenarios with intolerable risk levels

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