Risk Assessment

It must be appreciated that risk assessment is not a precise science.

What may be a risky operation for one person may be a matter of common sense for another. It is necessary, therefore, to quantify the risks in a way that is understandable and credible to all concerned.

There are many systems that can be used to determine the risk associated with a hazard within the workplace. A simple and effective way of identifying and prioritising those hazards that require further control is by use of a numerical system such as that detailed below.

A Numerical System


(something with the potential to cause harm). May be quantified as:

  • 3 = fatal
  • 2 = major injury
  • 1 = minor injury


(the likelihood of that harm being realised). May be quantified as:

  • 3 = very likely
  • 2 = likely
  • 1 = unlikely

Consequently, the significance of a hazard may be calculated as: Probability x Hazard. For example:

HazardPersons AffectedHazardProbabilityHazard x Probability
Tipping the Forklift Truck Drivers and People 3 2 = 6
Dermatitis From Using Bactericidal Detergent Kitchen Staff 1 3 = 3
Beer Line Cleaner Splashed In Eyes Head Barman and Bar Steward 2 2 = 4

The interpretation of the results may be given as:

and Hazard
9 Significant
6 Significant
4 Significant
3 Significant
2 Not Significant
1 Not Significant