Previously you read that risks can be categorised as low, medium or high. This is the simple method used from day to day during tasks. However, there is a more accurate and detailed way to determine the level of risk associated with a particular hazard. This may be used during a workplace inspection for example or when designing new procedures or activities.
The risk matrix is used to assess the level of risk associated with a particular hazard based on the possible consequences. This information can help the user to make better decisions. For example, if a hazard is in the red, immediate action should be taken as injury to a person is likely to occur and the consequence is very high (such as death).
To use the matrix, determine the consequence (top row) and draw a line straight down the page. Then determine the likelihood of the hazard causing injury (first column) and draw a line horizontally. Find the point at which the two lines intersect. This point is the level of risk assigned to that hazard. You can then use that information to make a better decision about what to do (by using the HOC).
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