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Risk matrix template: How to assess risk for project success (with examples)

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A risk matrix analyzes project risks based on likelihood and severity. Once you map your risks, you can calculate overall impact and prioritize risks accordingly. In this piece, you’ll learn how to create a risk matrix template and how to use the information from this analysis tool to develop a comprehensive risk management plan.

Risks are a part of any project, and there’s no surefire way to know which ones will occur and when. Sometimes, you'll get through an entire project without experiencing a single hiccup. Other times, you’ll feel like all the odds are against you. Without the help of a crystal ball, the only way to prevent project risks is to proactively prepare for them. 

A risk matrix helps you analyze risk by assigning each event as high, medium, or low impact on a scale of one through 25. Once you assess the severity and likelihood of each risk, you’ll prioritize your risks and prepare for them accordingly. In this article, we’ll explain how to create a risk matrix template and offer helpful tools for turning your results into action.

What is a risk matrix in project management?

Types of risks.

As part of the process, you’ll need to brainstorm a list of risks to chart in your risk matrix. The risks you may face will likely fall into these categories:

Strategic risk : Strategic risks involve performance or decision errors, such as choosing the wrong vendor or software for a project.

Operational risk : Operational risks are process errors or procedural mistakes, like poor planning or a lack of communication among teams.

Financial risk : Financial risk can involve various events that cause a loss of company profit, including market changes, lawsuits, or competitors.

Technical risk: Technical risk may include anything related to company technology, such as a security breach, power outage, loss of internet, or damage to property.

External risk: External risks are out of your control, like floods, fires, natural disasters, or pandemics. 

There are other risk categories to consider depending on your work industry. For example, if you have government clients, then you also want to brainstorm legal risks. If your company sells a physical product, you may have to think about manufacturing risks.

How to create a risk matrix template

When creating your risk matrix template, you’ll first identify your scale of severity, which you’ll place in the columns of your matrix. ​​The scale of severity measures how severe the consequences will be for each risk. In a five-by-five matrix, there are five levels in your scale of severity. 

Negligible (1): The risk will have little consequences if it occurs.

Minor (2): The consequences of the risk will be easy to manage.

Moderate (3): The consequences of the risk will take time to mitigate.

Major (4): The consequences of this risk will be significant and may cause long-term damage.

Catastrophic (5): The consequences of this risk will be detrimental and may be hard to recover from.

You’ll then identify your scale of likelihood, which you’ll place in the rows of your risk matrix template. The scale of likelihood identifies the probability of each risk occurring.  

Very likely (5): You can be pretty sure this risk will occur at some point in time.

Probable (4): There’s a good chance this risk will occur.

Possible (3): This risk could happen, but it might not. This risk has split odds.

Not likely (2): There’s a good chance this risk won’t occur.

Very unlikely (1): It’s a long shot that this risk will occur.

When you place a risk in your matrix based on its likelihood and severity, you’ll find the level of risk impact. The risk impact is both color-coded from green to red and rated on a one through 25 scale. 

Low (1-6): Low-risk events likely won’t happen, and if they do, they won’t cause significant consequences for your project or company. You can label these as low priority in your risk management plan .

Medium (7-12): Medium-risk events are a nuisance and can cause project hiccups, but if you take action during project planning to prevent and mitigate these risks, you’ll set yourself up for project success. You shouldn’t ignore these risks, but they also don’t need to be a top priority.

High (13-25): High-risk events can derail your project if you don’t keep them top of mind during project planning. Because these risks are likely to happen and have serious consequences, these are most important in your risk management plan.

[inline illustration] risk matrix criteria (infographic)

 You don’t have to stick to the labels above for your risk matrix template if they don’t feel right for your company or project. You can customize the size and terminology of your matrix to your needs.

How to use a risk matrix

Once you’ve created a risk matrix, you can use it as a comprehensive analysis tool. The best part about a risk matrix template is that you don’t need to change it for every project. Once you have one, you can reuse it and share it with others. 

[inline illustration] 5 steps to use a risk matrix (infographic)

1. Identify project risks

You’ll need a list of potential risks to make use of your risk matrix. In this step, you’ll determine what risks may affect the specific project you’re working on. 

To come up with relevant risks for your project, you’ll need to understand your project scope and objectives. This includes the project’s:


Using your project scope as a guide, think of risky situations that might affect your project. If you’re not sure where to start, try brainstorming techniques like mind mapping or starbursting to list as many risks as you can under each risk type. 

2. Determine severity of risks

When you created your risk matrix, you defined the criteria for your risk severity and likelihood. Now that you have a list of project risks, categorize them using the matrix criteria. Start with the scale of severity and go through each risk you’ve listed. Consider the following questions:

What is the most negative outcome that could come from this risk?

What are the worst damages that could occur from this risk?

How hard will it be to recover from this risk?

Which of the five severity levels most closely matches this risk?

You may not always have the perspective you need to know how severe the consequences of a risk are. In that case, work with other project stakeholders to determine the potential risk impact.

3. Identify likelihood of risks

Once you’ve defined the severity of each risk, you’ve completed half of the risk analysis equation. Next, identify the likelihood of each risk. To do this, consider the following questions:

Has this risk occurred before and, if so, how often?

Are there risks similar to this one that have occurred?

Can this risk occur, and if so, how likely is it to occur?

Team collaboration is also crucial in this step because you may not have a good idea of similar risks that have occurred in past projects. Make sure to reference past projects and analyze the probability of each risk with your team in order to create a more accurate mitigation plan.

4. Calculate risk impact

The last part of your risk analysis equation is to calculate risk impact. The equation you’ll use is:

Likelihood x severity = risk impact  

Place each risk in your matrix based on its likelihood and severity, then multiply the numbers in the row and column where it lands to find the level of risk impact. For example, if you think the risk of a data breach is of major severity (4) and probable likelihood (4), you’d multiply four by four to get a risk impact of 16. This is considered a high-risk impact. 

5. Prioritize risks and take action

You should now have a risk impact level on a scale of 1–25 for each risk you’ve identified. With these number values, it’s easier to determine which risks are of top priority. When you have risks with the same risk impact score, it will be up to you and your team to determine which risk to prioritize. Risks with equal risk impact may require equal attention as you create your action plan. 

Your risk response plan should include steps to prevent risk and ways to mitigate risk if unfortunate events occur. Because so much goes into project planning, the best strategy when tackling risks may be to divide and conquer.

Risk assessment matrix template

The size of your risk matrix template determines how closely you can analyze your project risks. A larger risk matrix template offers more room on the risk impact spectrum, while a smaller risk matrix template keeps your risk impact rating simpler and less subjective. 

Each square in your matrix represents a risk level of likelihood and severity, so you shouldn’t make your risk matrix smaller than three squares in length and width.

A five-by-five risk matrix is ideal so you can further analyze each risk. Once you chart your risks along your finished risk matrix template, this matrix creates a larger color spectrum to see the impact of each risk as high, medium, or low. 

The example below shows a five by five risk matrix template.

[inline illustration] Risk matrix (example)

You can download a free risk matrix template using the link below. Use this template to chart your project risks and determine their overall level of risk impact.

Pair your risk matrix template with a work management tool

You can use the same risk matrix template when measuring risk across multiple projects. However, it’s important to remember that the risks you face will evolve. The environment changes, technology becomes smarter, and the workplace grows. Every project faces unique risks, and you must reevaluate these risks year after year.

When you pair your risk matrix template with work management software , you can use past data to inform current processes. Asana helps you share the results of your risk matrix with stakeholders so you can collaborate on a risk management plan. Once you have a solid plan in place, you can monitor your team in real-time as they take action.

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Free Risk Assessment Form Templates and Samples

Smartsheet Contributor Andy Marker

July 29, 2020

In this article, you’ll find the most useful collection of expert-tested, professionally designed risk assessment templates in Word, PDF, and Excel formats.

Included on this page, find risk assessment form templates for general risk assessments , workplace risk assessments , project risk assessments , event risk assessments , and more, and learn how to conduct a risk assessment .

General Risk Assessment Form Templates

Sample risk assessment form.

Sample Risk Assessment Form

Use this sample risk assessment form to identify risks by type (e.g., financial, legal, or reputational). The customizable form includes space to provide a risk description, source, existing control measures, and risk level, as well as a section to detail a risk mitigation action plan, if you need to take further action.

Download Sample Risk Assessment Form

Word | PDF | Smartsheet

Basic Risk Assessment Template

Basic Risk Assessment Template

Use this risk assessment template to track and log risks and hazards, resources impacted, existing control measures, and the probability and impact of each risk. There is also space to add prevention measures and ownership, as well as the status of control measures to ensure you’re implementing controls in a timely manner.

Download Basic Risk Assessment Template

Excel | Smartsheet

Risk Assessment and Control Template

Risk Assessment and Control Template

This risk assessment and control template provides a high-level view of potential risks and hazards. Add a description of control measures, the frequency of controls, and the party responsible for ensuring that all up-to-date controls are in place.

Download Risk Assessment and Control Template

Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet

Hazard Identification and Assessment Plan

Hazard Identification and Assessment Plan Template

This two-part template contains a tab with an action plan to identify hazards, with room to assign roles and responsibilities, key dates, and pertinent information. Use the second tab to assess and classify the identified hazards, describe the person(s) impacted, note instituted control measures, establish a plan for further controls needed, and assess the status of implementing those controls.

Download Hazard Identification and Assessment Plan Template

Workplace Risk Assessment Form Templates

Job risk assessment template.

Job Risk Assessment Template

Use this risk assessment template to classify jobs by department, project, or another relevant category. Track hazards associated with each job, the resources impacted, existing control measures, and the probability and likelihood of each risk, according to existing security measures. If you require further action, use the allotted space to create an action plan by adding additional prevention measures, actions to take, ownership, and the status of preventative actions.

Download Job Risk Assessment Template

Excel | PDF | Smartsheet

Work-Related Stress Risk Assessment Form Sample

Work Related Stress Risk Assessment Form

This customizable, work-related stress risk assessment form serves as a framework for those in management or leadership positions to identify, consider, and assess sources of stress among their team. Use this form as a checklist to identify potential stressors pertaining to job demands, team support, change management, and more. There is also room to identify potential risks, solutions, and pertinent information to help mitigate risks associated with work-related stress.

Download Work-Related Stress Risk Assessment Template

Workplace Hazard Risk Assessment Template

Workplace Hazard Risk Assessment Template

Use this template to identify and assess risks related to a specific job or workplace activity. List identified risks, affected parties, existing measures, and risk ratings according to likelihood and severity. There is also space to create an implementation plan with assigned roles and status for each applicable hazard.

Download Workplace Hazard Risk Assessment Template — Excel

Working at Heights Risk Assessment Form

Working at Heights Risk Assessment Form

Use this customizable risk assessment form to uncover risks and hazards associated with the nature of work performed at dangerous heights. The template includes a checklist, so the assessor can mark observations and take notes pertaining to the safety of the work area and equipment. There is also room to detail existing control measures, responsible parties, and any recommendations the assessor has to further mitigate risks and hazards.

Download Working at Heights Risk Assessment Form Template

Operational Risk Management Template

Operational Risk Management Template

This operational risk management template is ideal for creating a list of risks, the rate and cost of annual incidents, probability of risk occurrence, and associated mitigation and control costs. Once you enter those values, built-in formulas will automatically calculate the annual cost, weighted annual cost, and cost/benefit value. This information is useful for developing cost-effective risk mitigation and control strategies.

Download Operational Risk Management Template

Excel | PDF

Construction Risk Assessment Form Templates

Construction risk assessment template.

risk assessment matrix template

This construction risk assessment template comes with a built-in matrix for identifying and categorizing common construction project risks. Determine the severity and likelihood of each risk, and then assign the respective party to develop control measures to address and mitigate them.

Download Construction Risk Assessment Template

Excel | Word | PDF

Construction Project Risk Assessment Template

Construction Project Risk Assessment Template

Use this customizable template to categorize risks associated with each phase of a construction project. Detail the risk and impact description, and then assign a probability and level value based on the provided key. The built-in formula will automatically calculate the risk score, which enables you to assess the situation and take appropriate action.

Download Construction Project Risk Assessment Template

Excavation Risk Assessment Form Template

Excavation Risk Assessment Form

Use this risk assessment template to describe hazardous risks associated with excavation during a construction project. Identify persons impacted by potential risks, determine risk levels, and develop an action plan to minimize the probability and effects of identified risks. There is also space to assign plan ownership, add due dates, and note status in order to keep the plan on track.

Download Excavation Risk Assessment Template

Excel | Word |  PDF

Welding Risk Assessment Template

Welding Risk Assessment Template

Use this welding risk assessment to identify and assess the implications of hazards for a specific welding project. Detail the necessary steps to mitigate risks and hazards, assign task ownership, set key dates, and track progress of your mitigation control action plan. 

Download Welding Risk Assessment Template — Excel

Project Risk Assessment Form Templates

Project management risk assessment template.

Project Management Risk Assessment Template

Use this risk assessment template to evaluate and manage risks associated with a project. List hazardous project activities, describe the associated risks, and then add severity, likelihood, and risk levels with existing controls measures. Next, re-evaluate risks post-mitigation to determine if it is safe to proceed with project activities.

Download Project Management Risk Assessment Template

Business Project Risk Assessment Sample Template

Business Project Risk Assessment Sample Template

Use this risk assessment sample template to identify and organize potential risks for each phase of a business project. Detail how each risk impacts time, costs, and resources with existing mitigation measures in place. Then, enter the risk probability and impact level values, and the template will automatically calculate the risk score. This template includes an action plan to assign additional tasks and ownership to help minimize risks with a higher score.

Download Business Project Risk Assessment Sample Template

Travel Risk Assessment Form Templates

Travel risk assessment form template.

Travel Risk Assessment Form

Use this travel risk assessment form template to evaluate risks associated with travelers, planned destinations, and anticipated excursions during a trip. This template provides space to list the names and contact information for each traveler, along with the latest guidelines and recommendations for areas to visit that may have political, economic, sanitary, or other implications. You’ll also find a customizable risk management action plan and assessment questionnaire.

Download Travel Risk Assessment Form Template

Word | PDF  

Pre-Travel Risk Assessment Form

Pre-Travel Risk Assessment Form

This customizable pre-travel risk assessment form is perfect for travelers to complete and submit to their designated healthcare provider prior to taking a trip. Use this template to document details regarding the dates, purpose, and anticipated areas of travel during a trip, along with medical conditions, medications, allergies, and other medical information a doctor can assess prior to authorizing patient travel.

Download Pre-Travel Risk Assessment Form

Fire Risk Assessment Form Templates

Fire risk assessment form template.

Fire Risk Assessment Form

Use this customizable risk assessment form to examine potential fire hazards, or other issues that could cause safety concerns during a fire. This form serves as a checklist to evaluate all fire detection and alarm systems on the premises, current fire escape procedures, fire fighting equipment, and more, to account for potential dangers, risks, and safety concerns. 

Download Fire Risk Assessment Form Template

Office Fire Risk Assessment Form Template

Office Fire Risk Assessment Form

Use this office fire risk assessment form template is to identify potential hazards, persons at risk, and control measures in the event of a fire. Use this checklist to ensure you’ve safely secured combustible items, established fire escape routes, and properly trained all staff on fire safety procedures. There is also space to detail an action plan with activity ownership and deadlines to put additional control measures in place.

Download Office Fire Risk Assessment Form Template

Church Fire Risk Assessment Form Template

Church Fire Risk Assessment Form

Use this fire risk assessment form to evaluate the potential risks and mitigation control measures associated with a church fire. Provide details regarding the layout of your church, occupancy rates during various services, designated locations of vulnerable occupants at risk, and background information related to previous fire incidents. This template also comes with a customizable checklist to ensure that you’re testing detection and alarm systems, escape procedures, and fire fighting equipment regularly, and that everything is working properly.

Download Church Fire Risk Assessment Form Template

Hazardous Substance Risk Assessment Form Templates

Hazardous substances risk assessment form.

Hazardous Substances Risk Assessment Form

Use this risk assessment form to identify potential hazards related to the use of a specific substance and to list existing control measures (e.g., air quality monitoring, ventilation, PPE) to help mitigate associated risks. There is also space to include a recommended action plan to improve health and safety measures for personnel working with the hazardous substance.

Download Hazardous Substances Risk Assessment Template

Hazardous Substance Identification, Assessment, and Control Plan Template

Hazardous Substance Identification Assessment and Control Plan

Use this customizable template to identify and classify hazardous substances by type (e.g., powder, liquid, gas), with room to detail the quantity and purpose of use. This template also contains a checklist to convey the hazards associated with each substance, methods of containment and disposal, prevention and control measures, level of risk, and more. 

Download Hazardous Substance Identification, Assessment, and Control Plan Assessment Template

Event Risk Assessment Form Templates

Event risk assessment template.

Event Risk Assessment Template

Use this customizable template to identify and classify potential risks for an event. You can categorize event risks by type (e.g., activity, environment, technical) to determine the probability and severity of a specific occurrence. Detail existing control measures to mitigate each risk and decide if you need to take further action.

Download Event Risk Assessment Template

Fundraising Event Risk Assessment Form

Fundraising Event Risk Assessment Form

This simple fundraising event risk assessment form provides space to list event activities, accompanying risks, and persons impacted by risks. Assign a risk level to each potential hazard, and then detail control measures, ownership, and completion dates to ensure a risk mitigation plan is in place prior to event launch.

Download Fundraising Event Risk Assessment Form Template

Event Management Risk Assessment

Event Management Risk Assessment Template

This risk assessment template can help you evaluate and manage potential risks for all aspects of an event, including general risks, traffic management, emergency stations, food services, hazardous chemicals, and more. Assess the probability and potential severity of an incident to determine its risk level, and then establish control measures prior to the event.

Download Event Management Risk Assessment Template

Vendor Risk Assessment Form Templates

Vendor risk assessment template.

Vendor Risk Assessment Template

Use this customizable template as a third-party risk assessment to pinpoint and evaluate security vulnerabilities related to a vendor. Use the provided rating key to assign a color-coded risk level to specific criteria and include other pertinent information. Use this template to determine if you require further action to mitigate vendor risk.

Download Vendor Risk Assessment Template

Excel | PDF  | Smartsheet

Vendor Risk Assessment Questionnaire Sample Form

Vendor Risk Assessment Questionnaire Sample Form

Use this questionnaire as a starting point for evaluating security risks associated with vendors. Detail the type of data a vendor can access, and use the included checklist to select policies and measures related to physical and data center security, malware security, network infrastructure security, and more. At the bottom of the template, there is also space for the risk assessor to sign and date the form.

Download Vendor Risk Assessment Questionnaire Sample Form

For additional resources, visit “ Free Vendor Risk Assessment Templates .”

Health and Safety Risk Assessment Form Templates

Health and safety risk assessment template.

Health and Safety Risk Assessment Template

Use this risk assessment template to assess and classify hazards related to biological, chemical, environmental, machinery, and other potential risks that impact health and safety. Select the impact, probability, and risk level for each hazard, and then establish control measures to reduce risk severity and likelihood. You can also document the activity details and purpose, and have the assessor and approving official add signatures.

Download Health and Safety Risk Assessment Template

Oxygen Risk Assessment Form

Oxygen Risk Assessment Form

Use this risk assessment form to evaluate a patient’s lifestyle and living conditions to determine if a home oxygen prescription is feasible. This template provides a checklist to identify physical risks (e.g., mobility challenges, vision impairment), lifestyle risks (e.g., smoking, alcohol addiction), and environmental risks (e.g., living in a building with multiple occupancy, cooking with a gas stove) to determine if benefits outweigh the risks for home oxygen.

Download Oxygen Risk Assessment Form

School Risk Assessment Form Templates

School risk assessment template.

School Risk Assessment Template

Complete this customizable school risk assessment template to uncover potential risks for various categories, including school recreation areas, building access, culture, communications, and more. Detail associated hazards, the likelihood and severity of an occurrence, and risk level with existing control measures in place. There is also space to add comments and further actions required to reduce the probability and impact of a risk.

Download School Risk Assessment Template

School Trip Risk Assessment Form

School Trip Risk Assessment Form

Use this risk assessment form template to identify potential risks that can occur during a school trip. Detail the purpose, destination, and dates of a planned school trip at the top. Then, write a description of potential risks and hazards with a high severity, persons impacted, and the probability and risk level using the provided key. Assign control measures for each risk, as needed, and provide any additional information that can help minimize risk during the trip.

Download School Trip Risk Assessment Form

Student Project Risk Assessment Form

Student Project Risk Assessment Form

This customizable risk assessment form is ideal for evaluating the level and impact of risks associated with a school project. Add the student’s information and project details at the top, and then list and assess hazards that may occur due to the risks identified. Establish and note control measures in the space provided to help reduce the level and severity of risks. There is also room to provide an assessment conclusion, with lines for signatures at the bottom for the assessor, student, and supervisor.

Download Student Project Risk Assessment Form

Other Risk Assessment Form Templates

Financial risk assessment template.

Financial Risk Assessment Template

Use this customizable risk assessment template to pinpoint and classify financial risks associated with various categories, including marketing, human resources, operations, products and services, and any other department. The template has space for you to identify the risk source, describe the potential impact, and select the probability and impact of each risk using the provided keys. There is also a matrix to identify the risk level and determine next steps.

Download Financial Risk Assessment Template

Security Risk Assessment Form

Security Risk Assessment Template

This security risk assessment template is useful for identifying risks related security, including policies and procedures, administrative securities, technical securities, and more. Detail the impact description, likelihood, and risk level, and then assign actions and track the status of existing control measures.

Download Security Risk Assessment Template

IT Risk Assessment Template

risk assessment matrix template

This IT risk assessment template comes with a built-in matrix to assign a severity, likelihood, and impact level to each identified risk. Organize risks by type, determine which assets are impacted, identify risk triggers, and add remediation strategies to help lower the internal and user impact of risks.

Download IT Risk Assessment Template

Science Experiment Risk Assessment Form

Science Experiment Risk Assessment Form

Use this customizable template to assess risks associated with a science experiment, including the equipment and tools used to conduct the experiment. Add details at the top of the template, and then list the items needed to execute. Use the space provided to include the item’s purpose, potential hazards, and standard handling procedures. Then, assess the experiment by listing risks related to a specific activity; identify probability, impact, and level of risk using the provided key; and establish control measures to mitigate risks and hazards.

Download Science Experiment Risk Assessment Form

For more free resources, visit “ All the Risk Assessment Matrix Templates You Need .”

Purpose of a Risk Assessment

Conducting a risk assessment creates awareness of potential risks and hazards associated with a particular vendor, job, project, or event. A risk assessment is an integral part of a risk management plan, and helps measure the probability and impact of an occurrence.

Once you identify potential risks and hazards and consider the impact and probability of each, you can assess existing control measures to determine if further mitigation actions are necessary. The ultimate goal of the risk assessment process is to create a safer and healthier environment and experience for those who could be impacted by hazards associated with identified risks.

Steps to Conduct a Risk Assessment

Follow these steps to conduct a thorough risk assessment to create a safer workplace, experience, or event:

You can start identifying potential risks and hazards by performing a thorough inspection of the site where you’ll be conducting the work, or by visiting and researching the site where an event will take place. Gather insight from those with experience at the site by conducting interviews and surveys to uncover any past issues. In addition, be sure to consult with manufacturers, suppliers, and associations relevant to your industry to gather valuable safety and health information.

Benefits of Risk Assessment Software

Document, track, control, and review health and safety hazards in the workplace more effectively by using risk assessment and management software. Common benefits of utilizing software include the following:

To learn if your organization would benefit from risk management software, and how to choose the right software for your needs, visit “ How to Choose the Right Risk Management Software .”

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How to Use a Risk Assessment Matrix [with Template]

Learn how to organize your risk management process better with the help of risk assessment templates. Plus, download your own risk assessment form and matrix below.

Jump to a section:

What is a risk assessment, benefits of a risk assessment, how to conduct a risk assessment, identify hazards, calculate likelihood, calculate consequences, calculate risk rating, create an action plan, plug data into risk assessment matrix, fraud risk matrix sample, health & safety risk matrix sample, project risk matrix sample.

Your organization is facing health & safety, HR, fraud, and other types of incidents. Conducting an organizational risk assessment has moral, legal, and financial benefits, and can help you prevent these incidents.

Consider this example: in 2022, a refining company agreed to one of the largest wrongful-death settlements in history , paying $104.9 million to the family of one of its workers.

While working at a facility in Louisiana, the victim was trapped in a fire after a worker used a side-grinder above, sending sparks raining down on him. The flames burned through his safety lanyard, causing him to fall 80 feet, hitting his head on scaffolding on the way down.

In addition to the legal settlement, the company was cited with an OSHA violation and fined over $12,000.

Had the company proactively carried out a risk assessment, they would’ve identified and been able to avoid this hazard. They would have understood the possibility of rogue sparks and installed barriers to stop them, or not placed another worker below the grinder’s work station.

Instead, they failed to provide a safe workplace and, for that, faced legal repercussions, steep fines, and a hit to their reputation.

To ensure a similar outcome doesn’t happen to your company, we’ve created this step-by-step guide to conducting a risk assessment. Follow along to identify, analyze, and prevent hazards in your workplace so you can protect your employees and your organization.

Don't wait to assess your risks until it's too late.

Use our free risk matrix template and risk assessment form template to start your risk assessment right now.

A risk assessment is “ a process to identify potential hazards and analyze what could happen if a hazard occurs ” (Ready.gov). Its aim is to help you uncover risks your organization could encounter.

Knowing potential hazards makes it easier to either reduce the harm they cause or (ideally) prevent incidents completely, rather than dealing with the consequences afterwards.

This systematic process can uncover glaring risks of fraud, gaps in security, or threats to staff wellbeing before it’s too late. It can also mean the difference between a new project, policy, or process being successful or failing. One catastrophic risk that goes unnoticed could put an immediate stop on any project or event.

Benefits of a Risk Assessment

Risk assessments cost time and money to conduct. So why should you bother? The benefits of a risk assessment far outweigh any inconvenience because they can help you avoid incidents, fines, lawsuits, and negative media attention.

Benefits of risk assessments include:

If you do identify risks, you'll need to create a prevention plan.

Download our free Root Cause Analysis Tools Cheat Sheet to learn methods for uncovering and preventing the root causes of your workplace incidents.

How to Conduct a Risk Assessment

To conduct your risk assessment, begin by defining its scope.

Maybe you want to improve health and safety measures in the shipping warehouse. Or perhaps you want to identify areas of risk in the finance department to better combat potential employee theft and fraud.

Whatever your objective, define it clearly. Conduct separate risk assessments for each goal, department, or project to keep things organized.

Note :  Remember to modify the risk assessment forms to include details specific to your field. For example, a data security risk assessment might list hazard locations (e.g., internal or external).

Step 1: Identify Hazards

Relating to your scope, brainstorm potential hazards. The list should be long and comprehensive. It could include anything from falls and burns, to theft and fraud, to pollution and societal damage, depending on the scope of your risk assessment.

Risk Assessment Form - Risk

Step 2: Calculate Likelihood

Risk Assessment Form - Likelihood

For each hazard, determine the likelihood it will occur. This can be measured as a probability (a 90 per cent chance) or as a frequency (twice a year).

Then, based on the likelihood, choose which bracket accurately describes the probability:

1. Unlikely

An unlikely hazard is extremely rare. There is a less than 10 per cent chance that it will happen. For example, a blizzard is unlikely to happen at your office in Florida.

Seldom hazards are those that happen about 10 to 35 per cent of the time. For instance, you might determine financial kickbacks seldom happen because you work with very few external vendors.

3. Occasional

An occasional hazard will happen between 35 and 65 per cent of the time. For example, strains from repetitive motions could be occasional for your warehouse employees.

A likely hazard has a 65 to 90 per cent probability of occurring. For instance, employee theft is likely to happen in a retail store that sells high-priced goods.

5. Definite

These hazards will occur 90 to 100 per cent of the time. You can be nearly certain it will manifest. For example, a hurricane will definitely happen at your office in coastal Florida.

Step 3: Calculate Consequences

Next, in the same fashion as above, calculate potential loss using either quantitative measurements (dollars lost or spent), qualitative measurements (descriptive scale) or a mix of both.

Then, based on the magnitude of the consequences, choose which bracket accurately describes the losses.

1. Insignificant

The consequences are insignificant and may cause a near negligible amount of damage. This hazard poses no real threat. Examples: loss of $1K, no media coverage, and/or no bodily harm to employees or customers.

2. Marginal

The consequences are marginal and may cause only minor damage. This hazard is unlikely to have a major impact. Examples: loss of $10K, local media coverage, and/or minor bodily harm (e.g. cuts, scrapes, sprains, minor burns).

Risk Assessment Form - Consequence

3. Moderate

The consequences are moderate and may cause a sizeable amount of damage. This hazard cannot be overlooked. Examples: loss of $100K, regional media coverage and/or minor bodily harm.

4. Critical

The consequences are critical and may cause a great deal of damage. This hazard must be addressed quickly. Examples: loss of $1M, national media coverage, major bodily harm and/or police involvement.

5. Catastrophic

The consequences are catastrophic and may cause an unbearable amount of damage. This hazard is a top priority. Examples: loss of $10M+, international media coverage, extreme bodily harm and/or police involvement.

Tap into your best risk-detecting resource: employees

Employees are “on the ground” and might notice issues and risks you’re missing. Use this free cultural assessment survey template to get employees’ input on your organization’s weak points.

Step 4: Calculate Risk Rating

Risk Assessment Form - Risk Rating

Assign each hazard with a corresponding risk rating, based on the likelihood and impact you’ve already calculated. For example, a hazard that is very likely to happen and will have major losses will receive a higher risk rating than a hazard that’s unlikely and will cause little harm.

Risk ratings are based on your own opinion and divided into four brackets. They are:

Low risks can be ignored or overlooked as they usually are not a significant threat. A definite hazard with insignificant consequences, such as stubbing your toe, may be low risk.

Medium risks require reasonable steps for prevention but they’re not a priority. A likely hazard with marginal consequences, such as a small fall, may be medium risk.

High-level risks call for immediate action. An occasional hazard with critical consequences, such as a major vehicle crash, may be high risk. Examples: severe bodily harm (e.g. broken bones, third-degree burns, concussions), severe property damage, large data breach, national media coverage.

Extreme risks may cause significant damage, will definitely occur, or a mix of both. They’re top priority. An unlikely hazard with catastrophic consequences, such as an aircraft crash, is an extreme risk. Examples: death, property destruction, complete data breach.

Experience a near miss? Don't forget to document that as a risk.

Download the free Near Miss Reporting Form Template to track and manage these safety incidents, then use the data to prevent unsafe conditions in the future.

Step 5: Create an Action Plan

Your risk action plan will outline steps to address each hazard, reduce its likelihood, reduce its impact, and respond if it occurs.

Depending on the severity of the hazard, you may wish to include notes about:

Risk Assessment Form - Action

Step 6: Plug Data into Matrix

A risk assessment matrix simplifies the information from the risk assessment form, making it easier to pinpoint major threats in a single glance. This convenience makes it a key tool in the risk management process, as it helps you make decisions faster and more easily.

Every risk assessment matrix has two axes: one that measures the consequence impact and another that measures likelihood.

To use a risk matrix, extract the data from the risk assessment form and plug it into the matrix accordingly. Simply find the square where the hazard’s consequence rating and likelihood meet, and you can see the risk level it falls under.

Green is low risk

Yellow is medium risk, orange is high risk, red is extreme risk.

risk assessment matrix template

Anticipating both internal and external fraud and theft is a crucial component of any company’s antifraud efforts. Developing a risk assessment helps you identify hazards proactively so you can take precautionary measures or, if required, a fraud response plan.

Examples of hazards that may need to be addressed in your fraud risk assessment include:

RELATED: 41 Types of Fraud and How to Detect and Prevent Them

Don't let a fraud scheme drag on, costing you thousands.

A fraud response plan ensures that when you uncover fraud, you can stop it ASAP. Download our free template to start drafting your plan today.

Health and Safety Risk Matrix Sample

A health and safety risk assessment is important for industries like construction, manufacturing, or science labs where work takes place in potentially dangerous environments.

In a warehouse, for example, workers are at risk of many hazards such as:

However, workplaces in every industry can benefit from health and safety risk assessments.

They must also include things like workplace violence and other dangerous employee misconduct, infectious disease transmission, air quality, and ergonomic concerns.

Before you kick off any project, event, or activity in your organization, conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify and assess potential hazards. Once these risks are better understood, your team can plan how best to prevent and mitigate the hazard.

Brainstorm hazards in several categories, including:

Next Steps & Responding to Risks

Once you have finished your plan, determine how to action each step. What exactly needs to be done to mitigate or prevent the hazard? Who needs to complete these tasks? When should each task be completed by?

Harm reduction is a second option. You can choose to “accept” the risk if the cost of countermeasures will exceed the estimated loss. To reduce the consequences of the risk, develop a mitigation plan to minimize the potential for harm.

The third option is to avoid the risk. For catastrophic disasters such as a workplace shooting or a fire, taking every possible step to prevent the risk from occurring at all is the best (and often only) course of action.

However you plan to deal with the risks, your assessment is an ongoing evaluation and must be reviewed regularly. Experts recommend updating your risk assessment at least once a year, and perhaps more often depending on your unique situation.

Ann Snook

Marketing Writer

Ann is a marketing writer at i-Sight Software. She writes about issues related to investigations of fraud, employee misconduct, corporate security, Title IX, ethics & compliance and more.

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Free Risk Assessment Matrix Template

risk assessment matrix template

In a perfect world, every project would launch beautifully and come in for a smooth landing, with no unexpected bumps in the road.

But you know better.

You’ve got budgets to stick to, deadlines to meet and deliverables to, well, deliver. Throw all those ingredients into one big project management pot, and it’s a surefire recipe for risk.

Thankfully, you don’t need a degree in rocket science to turn risk from a four-letter word into a flash in the pan. Simply download TeamGantt’s free risk assessment matrix template , and you can start mitigating risk with a single click!

Ready to rock ‘n roll? Let’s go!

What Is a Risk Assessment Matrix?

A risk assessment matrix enables you to calculate project risk in a snap by identifying all the things that could go wrong and weighing its potential damage. That makes it easy to prioritize issues and take action where it’s needed most to keep your project on course.

Let’s take a look at the different scales and ratings that make up a risk assessment matrix.

Scale of Severity

Have you ever asked yourself, What’s the worst that could happen? This simple question helps you gauge the severity of a risk you’re about to take. We’ve broken risk severity down into three possible answers:

Scale of Likelihood

Some risks are more likely to happen than others. And of course, you’re going to want to address impending risks first. With TeamGantt’s free risk assessment matrix template , you have three options for assessing the probability of an event.

Risk Impact

The risk impact is the overall level of risk based on how likely it is to happen and how bad the consequences would be. This is the bottom-line measure used to prioritize issues and identify red flags.

Project Use Cases

So how does a risk matrix apply to real-world situations? Here are just a few ways you can use a risk assessment matrix to improve project management.

How to Use a Risk Assessment Matrix in Excel

Every project manager should keep a risk assessment matrix handy. While a risk matrix isn’t terribly complicated, finding time to build one between all your to-dos is easier said than done.

Lucky for you, we made this free risk assessment matrix template so you can simply download it and go. That’s one more tool for your project management belt with no extra work to juggle!

Here’s how to put it to use for you.

Using the Risk Assessment Matrix Template

TeamGantt’s risk assessment matrix template gives you a quick and simple way to visualize and measure risk so you can take proactive steps to minimize its impact on your project.

1. First, click on the Risk Assessment List tab at the bottom of your risk matrix template.

risk assessment matrix template

2. In the Risk column, list all the potential risks that could affect your project. Feel free to get really specific here. The more detail, the better!

risk assessment matrix template

3. Choose a Severity option from the drop-down menu.

risk assessment matrix template

4. Select a Likelihood option from the drop-down menu.

risk assessment matrix template

5. Using the Risk Assessment Matrix tab as your guide, determine the overall Risk Impact based on the Severity and Likelihood you’ve assigned that risk.

6. Once you’ve assessed all the potential project risks, prioritize the list from highest to lowest risk impact, and formulate a plan for mitigating the biggest risks first.

Determining Risk Impact

Here’s how to figure out the Risk Impact using the Risk Assessment Matrix on the first tab in the Excel template.

risk assessment matrix template

2. Find the Severity of the risk you’re assessing, and follow that column down until it intersects with the Likelihood of that risk. The cell where these two meet determines your Risk Impact. For example, let’s say your risk has an Acceptable severity and Probable likelihood. That means it would fall under the Medium risk category.

risk assessment matrix template

Customizing Your Risk Assessment Matrix Template

You can anticipate and mitigate risk today with this free risk assessment matrix template — and you don’t have to change a thing to get started.

But if you’ve got some ideas of your own you’d like to try out, we won’t get in the way of creative genius. Feel free to customize it ‘til the cows come home!

Adding Titles

We’ve given the worksheets in this template some basic names already. But if you like a little more title excitement, go ahead and give it your own project flair!

1. To add or edit the title of your risk assessment matrix, double-click your cursor into cell A-2.

2. E­nter a new title for your risk assessment matrix.

risk assessment matrix template

3. Format the header text using the same formatting tools you’d use to format any other text in the worksheet.

Changing Colors

Want to switch up the colors used in this risk assessment matrix? Applying your own brand colors is easy!

1. Click to highlight the cell, row or column you want to change.

2. Go to Format > Cells , and select the Fill tab.

3. Click on the Background Color dropdown, and choose the new color you want to apply to the cell, row or column you’ve highlighted.

risk assessment matrix template

Adding Rows/Columns

We’ve laid out the basics for assessing project risk in this template, but there are lots of ways to measure risk. For example, you might want to add more graduated options to the Likelihood and Severity scales, or you may want to track the areas affected to further organize your risk assessment list.

1. To insert a new row, click Insert > Rows . A new row will be added above the one you currently have selected, using the same formulas and formatting of the row above.

risk assessment matrix template

2. To insert a new column, go to Insert > Columns . A new column will be added to the left of the one you currently have selected, using the same formulas and formatting of the column to your left.

risk assessment matrix template

Removing Rows/Columns

See details you don’t need? Cut your risk assessment matrix down to size without the help of special tools.

1. To delete an existing row, click on the row you want to remove. Go to Edit > Delete , and choose Entire Row.

risk assessment matrix template

2. To delete an existing column, click on the column you want to remove. Go to Edit > Delete , and choose Entire Column.

risk assessment matrix template

Adding a Company Logo

This risk assessment matrix template comes ready-made with a TeamGantt logo in the corner. As fond as we are of that snazzy image, you might want to give it your own brand stamp by adding your company’s logo instead.

1. Right-click on the TeamGantt logo/header image in row 1, and select Change Picture .

risk assessment matrix template

2. Choose the image file you want to add to the worksheet, and click the Insert button.

Printing the Risk Assessment Matrix

Nothing says you’ve got a handle on things quite like a risk assessment matrix pinned to your wall. So why not print it out and put it on display? All that green, red, and yellow is bound to stop traffic as coworkers stop to admire its beauty.

1. First, let’s set the print area. Simply click and drag your cursor to highlight all the cells you want to print out. Then go to File > Print Area > Set Print Area .

risk assessment matrix template

2. If you want to adjust the scale of the risk assessment matrix to fit on a single page, go to File > Page Setup , and select the Page tab.

risk assessment matrix template

3. Once you’ve set the print area and adjusted the scale of your risk assessment matrix, you’re ready to send it to the printer. Click File > Print .

Additional resources

How to Use TeamGantt to Assess Project Risk

Ever wish you could assess risk on the fly? Sign up for TeamGantt’s free online gantt chart software , and consider your wish granted.

TeamGantt’s online gantt chart software makes it easy to keep an eye on risk, day or night. And because it’s live and web-based, you don’t have to manage risk alone. The whole team can get in on the fun!

Here’s a preview of some of the TeamGantt features you can use to assess project risk:

Planned Timeline vs. Actual Timeline

Check yourself before you wreck yourself with TeamGantt’s baseline feature. It enables you to monitor project progress in real time so you can identify project delays or overages and adjust your plan for minimal collateral damage.

risk assessment matrix template

Team Availability and Workload

Have you ever taken on a big project only to realize you don’t have the resources to get it done on time? With TeamGantt’s availability tools, it’s easy to see how work’s stacking up across your team so you can set timelines you can stick to. View your team’s workload by tasks assigned or hours estimated—your pick!

risk assessment matrix template

Easy Collaboration

Communication is the engine that keeps projects running on time and on budget. TeamGantt gives you a all the tools you need to make project collaboration a breeze. Comment on tasks, request project updates, and invite others to the project so everyone knows what’s up and nothing falls through the cracks.

risk assessment matrix template

Ready to Beat Risk to the Project Punch?

Risk is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to wreck your success. Sign up for your free TeamGantt account today , and discover just how easy it is to stay one step ahead of project risk.

Try TeamGantt for free today!

5x5 Risk Matrix Templates

Establish a structured approach to assessing and managing risks in the workplace using a 5x5 risk matrix template.

safety managers evaluating risks on site

Published 31 Jan 2023

What is a 5x5 Risk Matrix Template?

A 5x5 risk matrix template is a tool used to measure risk levels according to their likelihood and impact on an organization. It presents risk information using a color-coded tabular matrix with an expanded numerical scaling system. This in-depth visualization allows health and safety (H&S) officers and project managers to take a more granular approach in calculating risks and devising appropriate intervention strategies.

General 5x5 Risk Matrix Template

Download Free Template

This 5x5 risk matrix template provides a framework for determining the risk level of a project, process, or work setting. Safety officers and project managers can use this template to evaluate a potential risk or hazard according to its probability or impact on their activities. This template also has a simple yet customizable interface for easy user access at all levels. With this 5x5 risk matrix template, you can do the following:

5×5 Risk Matrix Template

5×5 Risk Matrix Template | SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor)

In this article

What should it include.

Addressing Risks Efficiently with SafetyCulture

A 5×5 risk matrix template is a valuable risk assessment tool for projects, management systems, worksites, and similar undertakings. Here are three ways you can benefit from using this tool:

Streamlining Risk Assessments

First, it provides a more efficient and structured approach to risk assessment . A template already includes all the elements needed in a risk matrix to help you save time from manually replicating it every time. This way, you can proceed with assessing risks without worrying about missing any important items.

Visualizing Risk Information

This risk matrix template also presents a clear picture of risks across degrees of probability and consequences. The numerical values in the matrix take a quantitative approach to understanding the gravity of each risk factor with more depth. Meanwhile, its color coding system allows you to pinpoint high-risk areas that require immediate attention.

Establishing Compliant Health and Safety Programs

By simplifying this process, it becomes easier to follow legal requirements and standards for health and safety programs from (but not limited to) the following agencies:

A 5×5 risk matrix template typically consists of the following elements:

How to Use a 5×5 Risk Matrix Template (+ Example)

After learning about the components of a 5×5 risk matrix , it’s time to put this knowledge into practice. Here are five steps for using this template, along with an example.

Step #1: Establish the Project Details.

Before mapping out the risk landscape, it’s important to provide a background on the system, project, or worksite to be evaluated. Thus, the first step is to outline essential information about the activity in review, including its potential risks to your employees and your organization.

Step #2: Identify the Risk Probability.

Once the project details are complete, it’s time to build your 5×5 risk matrix template. Start by determining how likely the risk will occur in your project, system, or worksite based on a 1-5 scoring system as follows:

Step #3: Determine the Risk Impact.

Next, you’ll need to rate the extent to which a risk factor can affect the activity you’re assessing. As this is a 5×5 risk matrix template, it will follow a 1-5 scale as follows:

Step #4: Calculate the Overall Risk Level.

Once you have rated the Probability and Impact of a risk factor, determine the risk level by multiplying these two values. The result can range from the following:

Step #5: Provide Recommendations.

This 5×5 risk matrix template takes things to the next level through proactive risk resolution. For this section, you can suggest risk control measures and appropriate interventions to prevent, mitigate, or manage existing risks.

See the example below for a complete picture of how a 5×5 risk matrix template works in an inventory transportation setting.

5x5 Risk Matrix Sample Report

5×5 Risk Matrix Template – Sample Report | SafetyCulture

FAQs about 5×5 Risk Matrix Templates

Risk matrix templates typically come in three formats: the 3×3 risk matrix, 4×4 risk matrix, and 5×5 risk matrix. Each matrix depicts varying levels of impact and likelihood, depending on the scale you want to use.

In a 5×5 risk matrix template , the levels of risk go as follows:

Quality managers, project managers, and safety officers know how integral risk assessment is in any organizational operation. To streamline this process, they can utilize risk matrix templates to their fullest extent using digital tools.

SafetyCulture is an award-winning safety and risk assessment software trusted by over 1 million workers across various industries . It leverages a suite of powerful features to aid safety, project, and quality teams in proactively identifying and resolving operational and safety risks. With SafetyCulture, you can digitize the following functions for risk assessment:

Related 5×5 Risk Matrix Templates

Risk Assessment Template

Use this risk assessment template to record potential threats in your workplace. Begin documenting the risks associated with a procedure, task, or worksite with a description and media attachments (photos and videos) as proof. Then, score these risk factors and designate appropriate control measures. Complete this form with your recommendations and sign off with your digital signature.

Risk Rating Template

Use this template to identify, assess, and control risks on a granular level. Start by describing each workplace hazard in detail and capturing photos and annotations as required. Next, evaluate its risk level and attach notes or corrective action items when needed. Then, choose appropriate controls from the hierarchy of controls. Accomplish this template with your suggestions and signature.

leizel estrellas safetyculture content specialist

SafetyCulture Content Specialist

Leizel Estrellas

Leizel Estrellas is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture. Her academic and professional training as a researcher allows her to write meaningful articles that create a lasting impact. As a content specialist, she strives to promote a culture of safety in the workplace through accessible and reader-friendly content. With her high-quality work, she is keen on helping businesses across industries identify issues and opportunities to improve every day.

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risk assessment matrix template

Risk Assessment Matrix: Definition, Examples, and Templates

Fahad Usmani, PMP

November 28, 2022

risk assessment matrix

A risk assessment matrix is a tool for assessing and prioritizing risks in risk management .

This blog post will discuss the risk assessment matrix, how to create a risk assessment matrix, and provide examples and a template you can use to create your risk assessment matrix.

What is a Risk Assessment Matrix?

Project managers evaluate and prioritize risks using a risk assessment matrix . Many experts refer to this matrix as either a probability and severity risk matrix or a risk matrix.

The matrix allows project managers to plot the severity of the consequences and the likelihood of the event occurring from low to high. This information helps rank the risk.

Creating a risk assessment matrix can be done in various ways; however, the most important things to keep in mind are that it should be concise, simple, and adapted to the project’s particular circumstances.

Risk ranking helps project managers separate high and low-rank risks. They can develop a risk management plan for high-ranked risks and keep low-level risks on a watchlist. Prioritizing helps the project management team focus on high-priority risks and saves resources in investing in low-priority risks.

The higher the severity and likelihood of an event, the greater the risk. Many factors influence the decision of what is high-risk. For example, if the consequences of an event are not severe, it may be considered a low-ranking risk.

How Does a Risk Matrix Work?

Risk assessment is the probability of an event multiplied by its impact. You can break probability and impact levels into verbal and numerical scales.

Severity in risk assessment

Risks can be grouped into three zones:

Determining whether a risk is acceptable often comes from a cost/benefit calculation . For instance, it is difficult to justify paying millions of dollars to prevent an injury caused by ergonomics, yet investing the same millions of dollars in preventing a chemical explosion might be worth it.

Benefits of a Risk Assessment Matrix

The benefits of the risk assessment matrix include the following:

How To Create A Risk Assessment Matrix

The steps to create a risk assessment matrix are as follows: 

Risk Identification

The first step in creating a risk assessment matrix is risk identification. To acquire a range of perspectives, identify as many risks as possible.

Some organizations have risk checklists based on past project experiences. These checklists help identify risks quickly for new projects. 

Afterward, project managers can find more risks by brainstorming with the team, reviewing project documents , and talking to stakeholders .

The different types of risks include:

Risk Analysis

The project team analyzes the likelihood of each risk after identifying those risks. They need to conduct a risk assessment to determine how likely they are to cause damage.

There are several ways to perform a risk analysis. One popular method is a SWOT analysis, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Another common method is PESTLE analysis , which stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental factors.

Assessing Risk Impact

After analyzing the risks for their probabilities, the project management team will assess their impact severity and the potential loss incurred if the risk occurs.

There are a lot of different approaches to determining the seriousness of the possibility and the impact. One of the more prevalent approaches is using a scale that ranges from one to five, with one denoting the smallest probability and five denoting the greatest probability.

In addition, the impact intensity is graded on a scale from one to five, with one being the least significant impact and five representing the most significant impact. After estimating the severity of probability and impact of the risk, team members multiply them to get the risk ranking.

Risk Prioritization

The last step in creating a risk assessment matrix is prioritizing the risks. This is done by ranking them from highest to lowest.

Risks can be divided into four levels: high-priority risks, major risks, moderate risks, and minor risks.

The project manager will develop risk response plans for all risks except those on the watchlist.

How to Categorize Risks in a Risk Assessment Matrix

You can define risk assessment matrixes differently, but the most common is plotting risks on the x-axis and probabilities on the other.

This results in a matrix with four quadrants, each representing a distinct risk level. The dangers located in the upper left quadrant have a high chance as well as high severity, and they are considered to be the most severe.

The dangers located in the bottom right quadrant have a low likelihood and severity, and they are the hazards that are regarded as the least serious.

How to Use the Result of a Risk Matrix

You use the output of the risk matrix to develop a risk management plan, more specifically, a risk response plan.

You have a list of prioritized risks. Therefore, you will begin by formulating a response strategy for high-level risks and move on to medium-level threats.

You won’t bother developing a reaction plan for low-level risks; instead, you’ll keep track of them on a watch list and continue monitoring them until the project is through.

You will work on developing a risk response strategy if the severity of any low-risk situation increases from a low level to a high level.

In addition, you can maintain a high-priority risk on a watchlist even if its severity level decreases and it transitions into a low-priority risk if the situation warrants it.

Example Of a Risk Assessment Matrix

Here is an example of a simple risk assessment matrix to evaluate the risks.

The matrix shows the risk associated with returning to work during the pandemic.

Risk: Flawed policies to prevent the spread of the virus to employees and visitors.

What Can Go Wrong?


Risk Assessment Matrix Template

Let’s review risk assessment matrix templates.

The risk categories range from low to high, and probability ranges from highly likely to very unlikely. The risk rating can be seen by finding the intersection of both criteria.

The following example shows the risk assessment matrix template 4X4.

Risk Assessment Matrix Template

Limitations of Risk Matrix

A risk matrix is useful in risk management but has some limitations. These limitations are:

One of the most important tools in risk management is a risk assessment matrix. The management team for the project can conduct an effective risk analysis and establish a priority order for the risks associated with the project because they created a risk assessment matrix.

A risk assessment matrix is a living document that should be regularly reviewed and updated as new risks arise or the likelihood or impact of existing risks changes.

risk assessment matrix template

I am Mohammad Fahad Usmani, B.E. PMP, PMI-RMP. I have been blogging on project management topics since 2011. To date, thousands of professionals have passed the PMP exam using my resources.

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Good explanation !

Thank you for the brief-yet-thorough explanation, Fahad. Really helpful. Best of luck!

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What is a Risk Assessment Matrix? (And How to Build One)

Methodically approaching risks using a risk assessment matrix can help organizations mitigate potential losses. Here's how to approach them.

If you’re doing business, then your business is at risk. Without smart planning ahead , organization leaders don’t always know their greatest risks or how severely those risks could derail projects and profits. 

A risk assessment matrix methodically identifies internal and external threats and then charts the threat levels in a visual way. This helps plan how to mitigate the business risks for your corporation, nonprofit, or organization.

What is a Risk Assessment Matrix?

Even the best run business and nonprofit boards can’t outrun risk entirely. From cybersecurity failures to climate disruptions, your project management team should complete a thorough risk analysis to identify the source of potential threats, the likelihood a disruption will occur, and the possible impact to your work.

Not every risk carries the same weight. Board members and business leaders can use risk matrices to prioritize and prepare for foreseen challenges, so they can avoid or lessen potential damage.

A risk assessment matrix template is a chart or spreadsheet that visually graphs potential risks vs. predicted impact. This form of risk analysis essentially multiplies the likelihood that an event will occur by its potential impact. 

Color coding the chart helps leaders quickly identify each risk’s severity: Red indicates high-probability and high-impact risks, and a sliding scale of orange, yellow, and green indicate progressively lower probability and impact risks.

This proactive risk analysis flags each risk as high, moderate, or low, so your board  can prioritize its risk management strategy.

How to Build a Risk Assessment Matrix

1. identify risk management goals and objectives.

Begin your risk analysis by brainstorming potential risks with all stakeholders, not just leaders or board members. By gaining perspective from different sources within your organization, this early collaboration ensures your risk assessment matrix accounts for all possibilities. Individuals likely know their job best and can flag strategic or operational risks that aren’t obvious on the surface.

In addition to identifying potential risks internally, review historical trends and future forecasts in your industry beyond your organization to ensure your risk assessment is comprehensive.

As you build your risk assessment matrix, many risks fall into these categories:

2. Outline Risk Criteria

Once you identify potential risks, you will add them into the risk assessment matrix. In order to accurately and effectively rank risks, you must set criteria for risk severity and frequency.

Define what constitutes major or catastrophic vs. negligible incidents by assigning numerical values, typically on a scale from one through five, with one meaning least severe or unlikely and five meaning most extreme damage or disruption. These scores will help you build your matrix later.

Ranking risks on a scale of one to five provides deeper insights into the level of severity associated with each threat, so your leadership can allocate resources efficiently to the risks most likely to happen or to cause the most harm. Analyzing risk impact gives visibility into possible roadblocks, enabling leaders to take proactive steps to keep projects on track.

3. Assess Potential Risks

To ensure an effective risk analysis, you must understand risk tolerance vs. risk appetite . Leaders should tailor their risk matrices to suit the unique risk tolerance and risk appetite of their specific organization, board, business, industry, or market. For example, some leaders would color-code a risk red to indicate something that, while not highly probable, would be so detrimental to the organization that it’s elevated in priority for risk management planning.

Risk appetite refers to what level of risk your organization is willing to tolerate on a wide scale. Risk tolerance allows your organization more room to adjust its willingness to take a specific risk based on individual initiatives. This involves planning for contingencies if these risks come to pass and securing the necessary resources beforehand to cope if the worst happens.

Adjust your risk criteria scores to reflect your unique risk tolerance and appetite. An operational risk may rank higher to a retail business where being unable to quickly serve customers directly costs it money, while a compliance risk is less of a concern in an unregulated industry. 

4. Outline Response Plan

Armed with a risk assessment matrix, the next step is for your project management team to prioritize each risk by importance and develop an effective strategy to mitigate bad outcomes. Proactively managing project risks prevents additional damage later.

You may choose to build your risk matrix in Excel or another spreadsheet. A software solution, such as OnBoard, can streamline risk management planning from creating to implementing this response plan.

How to Determine Risk Probability

Craft a risk assessment matrix template with the probability something bad occurs listed in columns across the top and the severity ranked in rows below. To build the matrix, place the risks identified earlier by project managers, board members, and other stakeholders into the chart. 

To categorize potential risks from extremely high to low risk, place each in rows with the most severe or catastrophic risks at the top and those with the most negligible impact at bottom. 

Then, move those risks into the correct columns based on how frequently they may occur. For example, a catastrophic risk that is very likely to happen would be in the top row and first column, while a negligible risk that is unlikely to happen would be in the bottom row and last column in the chart.

You can split probability into 5 categories: 

These probability thresholds are used as guidelines when monitoring for events that may disrupt day-to-day activities or hinder long-term progress — from virtually certain occurrences down to those on the cusp of impossibility.

Achieve Complete Board Alignment With Board Management Software

Risk is an inevitable part of running a business. With a risk assessment matrix, your organization can manage risks by identifying and planning for those that are most likely to disrupt operations. 

OnBoard software’s board management platform offers a secure solution that helps boards communicate and collaborate as they work through developing risk-mitigation strategies before problems arise. OnBoard also enables easy file distribution, so relevant background information can be easily and confidentially shared across teams as they build out their risk analysis

Download our Board Meeting Agenda Template to streamline your meetings with a professional format that engages attendees and boosts productivity.

Ready to upgrade your board’s effectiveness with OnBoard the board intelligence platform? Schedule a demo or request a free trial . 

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8 Free Risk Management Templates for Excel


If there’s one thing you can be certain of when managing a project, it’s change. If only you knew ahead of time what those issues would be, you could better address them. Although it’s impossible to predict the future, with these free risk management templates, you can better prepare for the unexpected and be more apt to keep your project on track.

There are many project management templates that are designed to help you identify, respond to and track those risks. This helps you avoid an issue that becomes a problem that negatively impacts the project’s time, cost and scope. Download these free risk management templates and gain more control over your project.

1. Risk Register Template

Planning for risk is how you manage risk. While it’s impossible to know what’ll happen, an experienced project manager will have the resources to predict what might happen. In order to define the potential of the risk from showing up in your project and what the impact could be, you’ll want to use our free risk register template for Excel .

ProjectManager's free risk tracking templatge

The free risk register gives you space to describe the risk, its impact and what your response will be if it appears in the project. There’s also a column to note if the risk is high, medium or low. Plus, you can assign a team member to that risk so they know to keep an eye out for it. If that risk becomes an issue, then the team member will be responsible for tracking it until the issue has been resolved.

2. Project Dashboard Template

Preparing for risk is essential to risk management, but that’s just the start. Once the project begins, you have to be diligent in monitoring the work to catch issues when they arise. The faster you capture issues, the less impact they’ll have and the quicker you’ll be able to resolve them. Using our free project dashboard template for Excel creates graphs that track your tasks, workload, costs and more.

Free dashboard template to help with tracking risk

However, templates can only do so much. They are, after all, static documents that must be manually updated. ProjectManager is online project management software that has real-time dashboards that automatically gather real-time data and display them in colorful graphs and charts that give you a high-level view of your tasks, workload, costs and more.

Unlike the template, there’s no setup required. It’s immediately ready to deliver live data to help you make more insightful decisions. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's dashboard view

3. Risk Matrix Template

There’s more than one way to manage risk, but regardless of how you choose to do so, you’ll always want to identify, prioritize and assign an owner to be on the lookout for it. Risk isn’t always negative, of course, but if you’re not prepared for risk then you can’t mitigate or take advantage of it. Our free risk matrix template for Excel provides a visual tool to manage risk easily.

ProjectManager's free risk matrix template

A risk matrix is a type of chart that’s used by project managers to map risks. It helps categorize the risk in terms of its likelihood of occurring and how it’ll impact the project. It does this on a colorful grid, which provides you with a visual tool that helps communicate risk to the project team.

4. Issue Tracking Template

Risk is potential, but project issues are real. They could be the manifestation of a risk that you’ve identified and have been monitoring or they could be unique. Whatever they are, you need to address them and our free issue-tracking template for Excel is just the tool you need to make sure issues don’t sidetrack your project.

ProjectManager's free issue tracking template

The issue tracking collects all the data you need to keep an eye on the issue as it moves through its life cycle. You have a column to describe it and its potential impact. Then you can give each issue a priority to know which to deal with first as well as the date it was first identified and who’s responsible for resolving the issue . There’s space to note the department responsible and whether the status is open or closed.

5. Cost-Benefit Analysis Template

Not all risks are created equal. Project managers can get sidetracked trying to resolve a risk that’s trivial when put in the context of the larger project. But how can you tell whether the risk in the project is worth the effort? Simply download our free cost-benefit analysis template for Excel to help you decide if the effort is worth the cost.

ProjectManager's free cost benefit analysis template

The free template helps you collect the quantitative costs (indirect, intangible and opportunity) and compare them to the quantitative benefits (direct, indirect, intangible and competitive). With this data, you can make a cost-benefit analysis to see if the investment is worth the return.

6. Project Status Report Template

We’ve talked about project dashboards as a means to monitor for risk. Reports are another tool that provides a more detailed look at the project’s progress and performance. Use our free project status report template for Excel to view a slice of time in the project to chart its health and progress.

ProjectManager's free status report template

Some of the data a status report captures include a summary of the project, such as key accomplishments, work that has been done, what work is still to come, milestones, deliverables and action items. There’s also information on the budget, schedule, quality and scope of the project . Plus, you can see risks, issues and roadblocks.

7. IT Risk Assessment Template

IT projects have their own unique risks and, therefore, need their own unique risk assessment. There are risks to software and hardware from malware, viruses, scams and more. There are also human errors, security breaches and natural disasters that can take you offline, too. Our free IT risk assessment template for Excel is a great tool to avoid potential loss from downtime.

IT risk assessment template

Everything you need to manage IT risk is included in the free template. You can list the risk by number to track it, note the area where the risk is likely to happen and define the risk. Then there’s a place to set up processes to control the risk, assess it and determine what activities will be required to reduce the risk . You can even monitor the risk if it shows up to make sure it’s properly resolved.

8. Change Log Template

Change is a risk; you don’t know when it’s coming, but you have to be able to deal with it. Whether it’s a request from stakeholders or an issue with equipment or weather, change can impact your project. If you planned correctly, then you’re ready for changes even if you’re not sure what they’ll be. When they come, though, you need our free change lot template for Excel to manage them.

ProjectManager's free change log template

The free template lets you date when the change first came, who owns it and who’s responsible for taking care of the change. There’s a place to note its priority to know what should be done and when. You can also note its status. This way, as changes come into your project (and they always do), you have a way to track them and make sure nothing crucial is overlooked.

More Project Management Templates

Everyone likes free templates. ProjectManager has dozens of free project management templates for Excel and Word that are ready to be downloaded on our site. You can find more than free templates that deal with risk. There are ones that cover every phase of your project and below is only a small sampling.

Gantt Chart Template

The Gantt chart is one of the most popular scheduling tools in project management. Use our free Gantt chart template for Excel to list all your tasks and see them on a visual timeline. It’s a great way to organize your costs and resources.

Project Plan Template

Project plans allow project managers to scope their work and break it down into manageable parts. It’s an essential document in project management. Using our free project plan template for Word will help you organize your tasks, phases, budget and much more.

Project Budget Template

All projects require money to deliver success, and budgets capture those financial details. The more accurate the budget estimates, the more likely you’ll be able to complete the project. Using our free project budget template for Excel will help you accurately forecast costs.

ProjectManager Is a Risk Management Software

There’s no doubt that free project management templates are great. But they’re also status documents that must be manually updated. That’s a lot of time and effort to extend on a limited tool. ProjectManager is online project management software that delivers real-time data to help you better manage project risk.

Track Risk in Real Time

None of the free templates can track risk in real time. Someone on your team has to manually update those templates and there’s always a danger that copies are floating around so no one is aware of their actual status. Our risk management features make it easy to stay informed. You can create a risk just as you would a task and assign an owner, add dates, priorities, tags, attachments and more. Always know the status of your risk in real time.

Manage Risk on Robust Gantt Charts

Having a risk management plan is essential and templates can help but they might not be flexible enough. In some cases, you need something more dynamic. Our online Gantt charts help you schedule and assign as well as monitor the project on a timeline. You can also easily share the Gantt chart with the project team and stakeholders.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart

Of course, teams and stakeholders aren’t going to need the details of a Gantt chart. That’s why we have multiple project views. Teams can manage and prioritize risk on kanban boards, which visualize the workflow. Stakeholders can be updated by viewing the calendar view or using customized reports to share just the data in which they’re interested.

Related Content

If you’re still hungry to learn more about risk and how to manage it, you’re in luck. ProjectManager isn’t only great software but our site is the premier online destination for all things project management. There are more than templates. We publish weekly blogs and have guides, videos and much more. Here’s some more risk-related reading.

ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps you plan, manage and track risk in real time. We also empower teams on a collaborative platform with task and resource management features to keep everyone working together more productively. Get onboard with teams from companies as varied as Avis, Nestle and Siemens who use our software to deliver success. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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10 Free Risk Assessment Templates and Examples (Excel and ClickUp)

ClickUp Contributor

November 29, 2022

Max 7min read

Risk assessment tools save project managers time and resources by clarifying potential risks before the team gets to work.

Research shows more than 60% of projects are often beyond budget, late, or fail to deliver according to specifications. By using effective risk assessment strategies, you are more prepared to prioritize threats and interruptions to your project. And as a result, the overall success rate of the project will improve.

We’ve put together a list of 10 free risk assessment templates and use case examples to fit your project or program requirements. Whether you need to address the safety hazards of potential equipment or share a risk rating document with teams and stakeholders—we got you covered!

risk assessment matrix template

What is a Risk Assessment Template?

1. clickup value risk matrix template, 2. clickup assumption grid decision matrix template, 3. clickup risk register template, 4. clickup pi planning risk template, 5. clickup job safety analysis template, 6. excelhub risk assessment excel template, 7. excel accounting risk assessment form template, 8. projectmanager excel risk matrix template, 9. projectmanager excel it risk assessment template, 10. excel analysis & risk management plan template, what makes a good risk assessment template.

A risk assessment template is a resource to assess risks early and develop an actionable response plan. Depending on your industry type, a general risk assessment includes:

Risk identification

This type of assessment template breaks risks down into varying stages, often using spaced tables for you to document identified threats and which parties are at risk. Risk templates also include a tool for assessing the likelihood and severity of risks.

10 Free Risk Assessment Templates to Try

ClickUp Value Risk Matrix Template

A technical and effective way to understand what to prioritize in your business model and new idea list is by understanding the worth of these features and the degree of risk linked to the implementation.

ClickUp’s Value Risk Matrix Template helps you go through the risk matrix for each possible risk that may occur. It’s a great way to practice proactive risk management . And since it’s a simple template, you can easily walk through the process and fill the value risk matrix quickly.

Here’s how you can use this risk assessment template:

ClickUp Assumption Grid Decision Matrix Template

An assumption grid helps you identify various assumptions from your business model. The grid plots these assumptions on two separate axes:

Visualizing these assumptions helps you mitigate risks, make judgment calls, and overcome uncertainties. The ClickUp Assumption Grid Template is similarly a type of decision-making tool.

You can easily determine what the big boxes represent by checking the Legend. Each box has a corresponding color with added meaning.

ClickUp Risk Register Template

One of the most crucial parts of managing risks is to operate strategically to address any potential issues that may happen when managing a specific project.

With this template, you can document risks and response actions to manage each risk. It also helps you track potential risks and implement preventative measures before the risks happen. The ClickUp Risk Register Template is essential to successfully manage risks identified and logged on the register with actions to be taken to respond to the risk.

Responses should be regularly reviewed to monitor the progress. This risk assessment template offers several benefits, including:

ClickUp Pi Planning Risk Template Updated

ClickUp’s Pi Planning Template helps you get a perfect overview of your PI Planning process with step-by-step frames that guide you through the entire risk assessment process.

The template gives you a clear picture of your team members’ backlog, including capacity, workload, and risks. Note that the number of sticky notes containing identified risks may shrink or grow as your team decides on mitigation approaches during the planning process.

The PI Planning Template is divided into four main boards to organize your PI Planning event:

ClickUp Job Safety Analysis Template

A job safety analysis should be conducted in workplaces to identify potential hazards that could cause major or serious injury such as hazard exposure, hazardous substances, and procedure changes.

The ClickUp Job Safety Analysis Template organizes key information all employees can access in a single view, including:

SafetyRisk Risk Assessment Excel Template

This is a basic risk assessment template in Excel designed to help you take the initial steps to standardize your processes. You can easily determine the data that should be collected from your business areas, outline suggested response selections, and define key terms.

Regardless of the risk events, configuration and assessment parameters, the risk assessment template in Excel can help you manage risks before they occur.

WPS Accounting Assessment Form Excel Template

Accurate finance and accounting risk assessment is essential and can make or break your personal or business finances. This professionally built risk Excel risk assessment template gives you valuable insights into your accounting risk level.

It also helps you provide all the necessary details about your business product requirements . In addition, accurate costing of purchased products is crucial to ensure your business does not suffer unnecessary losses.

ProjectManager Risk Matrix Template Example

The free risk matrix template from Excel takes any potential threat and determines the impact and extent it could have on a particular project. This template helps you create a risk management process to highlight and correct issues before they become serious problems.

It also serves as a communication tool to let the team members know the risks that might arise during a project. This allows everyone to alert others if an issue becomes known and where it falls on the prioritization scale.

ProjectManager IT Risk Assessment Template

The number of risks to an IT landscape is enormous, including software or hardware failure, viruses, malware, scams, pace, and phishing.

Human errors, as well as malignant threats from fraud, hackers, security breaches, and denial-of-service attacks also exist. Natural disasters like fire and floods also damage an IT system carrying valuable data.

With the Excel IT Risk Assessment template from ProjectManager, you can take into account the following:

ExcelHub Risk Analysis and Management Plan Excel Template

Identifying risks is just a single step of the risk assessment process. The subsequent steps include other activities such as risk strategy, monitoring, and funding.

The Excel Management template helps you determine the likelihood of risk occurrence and the potential impact through risk analysis. It also helps understand the project’s performance and quality. As a result, you can easily implement adequate response and risk mitigation.

A good risk assessment template is easy to update, creates consistency for future work, and simplifies the creation process. If your company has specific criteria for assessing risks, using a template will ensure everyone has the same information to take the correct risk and control measures. Here are four key processes a risk assessment template will include:

This process needs dedication and creativity as it focuses on highlighting potential risks that might occur and impact project metrics. There are several methods for identifying potential threats in your organization. Your project team can brainstorm possible hazards and transform the findings into a risk checklist.

Risk analysis

This goes beyond identifying risks and determines the criticality of the risk. This is where you assign both qualitative and quantitative values to possible risks and analyze the potential and strategies to minimize them. Risk analysis helps you understand the risks’ likelihood of occurrence and potential impact. This way, you can implement the proper mitigation and response.

Risk response and mitigation

Risk mitigation helps design and implement strategies to reduce the occurrence and the impact of the risks. The primary objective is to minimize the likelihood of risk incidence as much as possible.

Risk control

Risk monitoring and control are also part of your assessment template. It helps ensure that the plans are carried out properly. As a result, your template should use the risk monitoring and controlling function to guarantee that your assessment and risk mitigation strategies are effective.

Developing a Powerful Risk Assessment Plan With ClickUp

Without performing a risk assessment at the initial stages of your project, you won’t have the advanced preparation needed to prioritize safety controls.

Empower your team stays ahead of potential hazards with the best risk assessment tools and a productivity platform like ClickUp.

ClickUp makes it easy to plan, manage, and report on projects from anywhere. Get real-time project visibility and report on key metrics with automated workflows and Dashboards to keep your team informed and connected!

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Risk management matrix template

By stiltsoft.

Identify, prioritize, plan for (and avoid) worst-case scenarios

Risk management matrix template

You’re starting something new. Maybe you’re tackling an unfamiliar project, or perhaps you’re instituting a change to an existing process. Regardless of the specifics, this thought is bound to cross your mind: what could go wrong? Use this template with your team to find out. You’ll identify potential risks, assess their likelihood, and handle them accordingly. Stop sweating the worst-case scenarios, and start planning for them.

How to use the risk assessment matrix template

Step 1. provide some background.

This template isn’t about evaluating all potential risks for your business – it’s focused on one specific project or initiative. In the Background section at the top of the template, provide some context by explaining the project you’re assessing risks for. Make sure you link to any relevant research, websites, Confluence pages, and more.

Step 2. Familiarize yourself with risk ratings

Not all risks are created equal, and this template uses four different ratings for your potential risks: low, medium, high, and extreme. You can familiarize yourself with them in the Risk rating section of the template. In addition to forcing you to carefully think about the severity of a risk, this color-coded system is helpful once you get to the matrix portion of the template, as it makes it easy to instantly recognize which risks just aren’t worth it.

Step 3. Plot your risks

Your mind is probably swimming with some of the potential drawbacks of whatever project you’re planning for. In the Risks table, you’ll plot your risks based on two criteria: their likelihood and severity. Maybe it’s highly improbable that your budget for this project will dry up, but the effects of that would be undesirable. Plot that risk in that space of the matrix. Once you’re done doing that for all of your risks, you’ll have a handy visual you can use to promote productive discussions and planning sessions.

Step 4. Jot down your action items

You don’t just want to identify your risks – you want to mitigate them. In this final Action items section of the template, jot down the steps you need to take to close the loop on open questions or concerns. Basically, anything you need to do to reduce the probability or impact of a risk should get listed here. Remember to @ mention team members so they get notified about the tasks they need to take care of.

StiltSoft develops and delivers apps for Confluence, Jira, and Bitbucket so you can experience new functionality and boost your productivity.

More business strategy templates     View all

4ls retrospective.

Use this template to conduct a 4Ls retrospective with your team.

5 whys analysis

Use this template to conduct a 5 whys analysis and discover the sources of team problems.

All hands meeting

Share business updates, victories, employee spotlights, and more with your larger team.

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Managing risks and risk assessment at work

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3. Risk assessment template and examples

You can use a risk assessment template to help you keep a simple record of:

Example risk assessments

These typical examples show how other businesses have managed risks. You can use them as a guide to think about:

Do not just copy an example and put your company name to it as that would not satisfy the law and would not protect your employees. You must think about the specific hazards and controls your business needs.

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Risk Matrix Template

Maximize your risk management strategy, visually identify the elements of risk associated with a project and prioritize steps needed to mitigate them..

Risk Matrix Template

Over 8 Million people and 1000s of teams already use Creately

Identify Potential Areas of Risk

Identify Potential Areas of Risk

Infinite canvas to visualize all project tasks and identify elements that pose a risk.

Multiple app integrations to help you import data across multiple platforms and get a detailed list of all the tasks involved in a project.

Smart shapes and connectors to visualize and identify relationships between risks and outcomes.

Powerful colour and text formatting capabilities to highlight important points and add context to each task to make informed decisions.

Customizable styling options to represent risks according to the likelihood of them taking place.

Prioritize Risk Mitigation

Prioritize Risk Mitigation

Import images and vectors to the canvas and embed documents with in-app previews to provide more context with relevant resources.

Multiple frameworks to visually assess the risk based on multiple factors. Evaluate effort and impact before making any critical decisions.

Add detailed docs, attachments, links and more via the notes feature on each element to capture details and the big picture in a single space.

Freehand drawing to visualize and build on your ideas, concepts, and plans without any constraint.

Understand Risks Together

Understand Risks Together

In-app video and audio calls to work closely and consult with colleagues in real-time.

Real-time cursors for any number of participants. Collaborate with team members on a shared canvas and decide on the most optimal risk management process.

Comment with context , have discussions and follow-ups on the same canvas. Async!

Keep the Teams Aware of Potentials Risks

Keep the Teams Aware of Potentials Risks

Export risk mitigation processes as SVGs, PDFs, JPEGs, and PNGs to publish, present, print, or share.

Multiple access levels and roles to streamline managing, sharing, editing, and reviewing your risk mitigation strategies.

Connect to your favorite tools with Creately plugins for Slack, Google Workspace, Confluence, and more.

What Is a Risk Matrix?

Risk matrix is a project management tool that is used for risk evaluation. It helps evaluate risks in terms of probability and likelihood and the severity of the risk. It’s also known as the probability and impact matrix.

How to Use the Risk Matrix?

risk assessment matrix template

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How to use a risk assessment matrix: A free template and guide

A risk assessment matrix identifies threats and vulnerabilities that present the greatest potential for disruption or damage. use this free template to focus risk mitigation..

Paul Kirvan

A risk assessment matrix is a helpful visual tool to identify risks, threats and vulnerabilities. Disaster recovery teams can use them to categorize threats by likelihood, potential impact, and characteristics such as financial and reputational harm.

A risk matrix template can provide a simple yet effective starting point to perform an assessment. Risk assessments can become very complex, especially with sophisticated risk algorithms at play. However, there are common factors that can shape a risk assessment matrix.

A downloadable risk assessment matrix template as well as guidelines for using it are included below. Organizations can use this template as a jumping-off point to create their own matrix.

More complex risk assessments require more detailed matrices, and there are many tools for performing risk assessments available today. The nature of the planned assessment and the level of detail to be provided will help determine the complexity of risk assessment matrix tools.

Importance of performing a risk assessment

A risk assessment can help disaster recovery teams ensure they complete a project or activity on time and within budget . This type of assessment gives organizations knowledge of situations that threaten the activity's success before it launches, as well as during the activity and even after completion.

A risk assessment can help disaster recovery teams ensure they complete a project or activity on time and within budget.

In the course of performing an assessment, the primary metrics to identify are the likelihood of an event occurring and the impact to a project or activity if the event occurs. Many sources of risk data are available, from published risk tables to insurance risk tables to actuarial tables. Each of these resources can provide important risk data based on extensive analysis of risk events.

Why use a risk assessment matrix?

There are many factors to consider during a risk assessment. A matrix organizes risk data and other elements to help perform an assessment. A risk assessment matrix can also help organizations do the following:

Sample risk analysis diagram.

Applying risk matrices to different types of organizations

The risk assessment matrix template included in this article is fairly simple and straightforward, and it can apply to a variety of vertical markets.

For example, a risk assessment matrix for an organization located in a hurricane zone with backups in the cloud could look like the example in the template, with changes to the items the business assesses. As part of the data gathering, the risk team in this scenario should examine relevant weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center.

The team should also examine risk data from cloud organizations such as the Cloud Computing Association and the Cloud Security Alliance, plus the organization's cloud services provider. This data includes the number of past outages the organization has experienced and the duration of those outages.

Depending on the type of assessment, changes to the components in the matrix can be made to accommodate the specific risk requirements. Common risk assessment types include the following:

Risk assessment matrix template cover image.

How to use the risk assessment matrix template

The risk assessment matrix template provided in this article has two parts. The first is a color-coded general risk assessment matrix. This type of matrix is widely used to codify risks based on likelihood and impact. The second part is a ready-to-use template for performing a basic risk assessment including likelihood, overall impact severity and financial impact.

Likelihood ranges from 0.0 (no likelihood of occurrence) to 1.0 (100% likelihood of occurrence). Gradations of likelihood are indicated with numerical entries to the right of a decimal point, such as 0.15 or 0.024. The same weightings are used to rate impacts from 0.0 (no impact) to 1.0 (worst possible impact). Column B is used to indicate the general severity impact and can be a standalone column. Column C denotes financial impact and shows how additional factors can produce a more realistic calculated risk factor.

The risk assessment matrix template is a simplified tool that uses assessment values ranging from 0.0 to 1.0. More detailed and complex values can be substituted. To perform an assessment using the template, take the following steps:

Once the risk factors are calculated, refer to the color-coded rating chart that follows the matrix. This provides a visual representation of the calculated risk factors, based on where the risk factor values reside from 0.0 to 1.0.

An example of a completed risk assessment matrix is included in the template to demonstrate how the process works. Risk factor ratings are arbitrary ranges that can vary by process, so be sure that management reviews and approves any metrics.

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Risk Matrix

Risk Matrix Template

Identify and prioritize risks based on their probability and severity.

About the Risk Matrix template

Making use of a Risk Matrix helps you weigh the severity of a potential risk against the probability that the risk might occur. Risk matrices are useful for risk management because they visually represent the risks involved in a decision.

What is a risk matrix?

A risk matrix, also known as a probability matrix, risk assessment matrix, or impact matrix, is a tool of risk analysis that helps you evaluate risk by visualizing potential risks in a diagram. It allows you to weigh the severity of a potential risk against the probability that the risk might occur.

When to use a risk matrix

Risk matrices are useful for risk management because they visually represent the risks involved in a decision. They allow you to easily and quickly see the possible consequences of a choice. This empowers you to avoid worst-case scenarios by preparing contingencies or mitigation plans.

Risk matrices vary, but in general, are used to categorize risks in the following ways:

Critical/high priority risks: These risks are the most severe, so they must be dealt with immediately. Most teams choose to escalate critical risks to meet a deadline or serve a need before it balloons out of control.

Major risks: These risks carry slightly less severe potential consequences than critical risks. But they should still be treated with urgency.

Moderate risks: Risks that fall under this category are not a high priority. They are usually associated with devising an alternate strategy to overcome a setback during a project.

Minor risks: The team should address these risks only once the others have been mitigated.

How to create your own risk matrix in 4 steps

The risk matrix comprises a series of sticky notes in a grid set across two axes: probability—from rare to very likely, and impact—from trivial to extreme. This allows you to not only get the full scope of all the potential business risks that you face but also prioritize them by urgency. Miro’s whiteboard tool is the perfect canvas to create and share your risk matrix.

Step 1: Open the Risk Matrix Template

First, get started by selecting this Risk Matrix template and opening it on a Miro board.

Step 2: Brainstorm risks

Get all your team members together and brainstorm a list of potential risks to your organization or project. Then, categorize each risk by potential impact: low, moderate, major, and critical.

Step 3: Plot the risks on the matrix

With the potential impact of the risk decided by the team, now you have to place it on the matrix according to how probable the potential risk is. The upper right-hand of the grid should have the highest probability, and highest impact risks.

Step 4: Review and develop an action plan

Now, with all potential risks graded by probability and impact, you can explore the highest potential impact & probability risks and develop a strategic plan to mitigate these risks. The final outcome should be a detailed action plan that explores each risk and can inform future project management.

How do you create a risk matrix?

To create a risk matrix, you need to draw a risk matrix table (or use a template), brainstorm a list of potential risks, and then place them on the matrix according to the probability of their occurrence and the severity of the risk.

How do you read a risk matrix?

To read a risk matrix, start in the bottom left corner to see the lowest probability, lowest impact risks. Probability will increase with the vertical axis, and severity will increase with the horizontal axis.

Get started with this template right now.

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