risk management in the workplace

What level of risk management is used in the workplace?

Risk management is a crucial part of any workplace environment. No matter what industry you are working in, there will always be a level of risk in anything you do.

In healthcare, this may be to a patient’s safety whereas, in finance, this could be in loss of information or a crash in share prices. In teaching, it could relate to children getting injured or in an office, it could relate to fire risks or employee errors.

It is always important, whether you are a small or large company, working on a single project or working as a large team on an everyday basis, to have a risk management structure in place. It helps you to understand and prepare for risks, even if you feel as though you’re working successfully.

Foundations of risk management

Every workplace will need to follow the same six stages in their risk management process. These include identifying the key hazards, assessing their risk, analysing what strategies can be used to address or minimise this risk, choosing which strategy to follow, implementing it and then evaluating how well this has worked and what the outcome has been. The seventh stage is to learn from previous errors and adapt accordingly.

From this point onwards, though, there are three different “levels” of risk management that can be used within the workplace. Where you find yourself is very much dependent on the project or issue in hand and how it should be best dealt with.


When writing your initial or overall risk assessment, chances are you will be starting out in a very strategic place. You’ll be taking the time to put in a great deal of analysis, adding complete research and depth, projections and expert insight. This is often the type of level you will adopt if what you are assessing is a particularly high risk or there is a lot at stake – for example, making a large investment on behalf of a company.

It may be time-consuming and require many work hours, but it is a comprehensive and detailed method that ensures you have covered all ground. It leaves little to chance and means you have plenty of strategies at the ready in the event that something does go wrong.


This type of level is the middle ground. It is where a fair amount of time is spent on putting together the risk management process but not to the same degree as the strategic kind. There is still enough opportunity to create a full strategy and implement this.

It can be used on anything that is not time-sensitive, for example when creating a training programme, establishing a project or covering an event. It means that a risk management process is always in place and there are plans in place for any risks or hazards that become a problem, limiting their effect.


The most immediate type of risk management is “time-critical”. This is where there isn’t time to put together anything strategic or deliberate and you find yourself in a very reactionary position with the need to be responsive.

This level of risk management is used when you are in the process of completing a task that is part of an emergency situation, unforeseen event or at a time in which you need to act within a limited period of time. It requires that the risk is being considered at all times while quickly performing tasks – this will most likely be occurring verbally or as a thought process but won’t always get written down as a formal record.

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