The Process Of Risk Analysis

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Risk analysis is the process of identifying and analyzing potential issues that could negatively impact key business initiatives or projects. This process is done in order to help organizations avoid or mitigate those risks.

Performing a risk analysis includes considering the possibility of adverse events caused by either natural processes, like severe storms, earthquakes or floods, or adverse events caused by malicious or inadvertent human activities. An important part of risk analysis is identifying the potential for harm from these events, as well as the likelihood that they will occur.

Conduct a Risk Analysis

Once you have identified jobs you believe might require a JHA, it’s important to prioritize each job. To do this, analyze each job to determine their degree of risk. To determine the degree of risk objectively, it’s important to know what risk is, so let’s discuss the concept next.

Risk = Probability x Severity x Exposure

The overall risk inherent in a job is a function of three variables: probability, severity and exposure. The greater the probability, severity and exposure – the higher the risk while doing a job. More on this later.


Probability describes the likelihood that a worker will be injured or become ill if exposed to a hazard. Common terms used to describe probability are:

  • Unlikely – Injury from exposure has low probability. Less than 50% chance.
  • Likely – Injury from exposure has moderate probability. 50/50 chance.
  • Very Likely – Injury from exposure has high probability. Greater than 50% chance.


Severity is an estimate of how serious the injury or illness will be as a result of an accident. The common terms used to describe severity are:

  • Minor – other than serious physical harm that does not prevent the employee from continuing to work in the same job.
  • Serious – serious physical harm that prevents the employee continuing to work in the same job.
  • Death – fatality


Exposure is the condition of being exposed to a hazard such that the employee is somehow affected by that hazard.

  • Physical exposure can be thought of as “arms-length” exposure to physical hazards.
  • Environmental exposure occurs when the employee can suffer some kind of injury or illness as a result of a hazardous environment. Distance does not matter.

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