Risk assessments are a critical step in the risk management process. To protect your company properly, you first need to determine the threats you face and the damage each threat could cause. That’s what a risk assessment attempts to determine.

If you’re planning on performing a risk assessment at your company, keep reading to learn more about the types of risk assessment and best practices for assessing your risk effectively.

What Types of Risk Assessments Are There?

There are different kinds of risk assessments depending on your needs and the information you hope to gather. Risk assessments can broadly be divided into two categories: quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative

A quantitative risk assessment is one where the information gathered can be expressed numerically. Precise data and clear metrics are often helpful when presenting to board members and stakeholders or to track progress over time.

Qualitative

Qualitative risk assessments are those that rely on first-hand observations and interviews to determine the risks that may occur. A quantitative approach can sometimes omit the human element; or sometimes the best way to predict risk is by seeing it for yourself. And where quantitative risks might be expressed as percentages, qualitative risks are often expressed on some “low-medium-high” scale.

The following risk assessment forms can be quantitative or qualitative depending on your company’s individual needs:

Generic

As the name suggests, a generic risk assessment is one that can be adapted to a variety of situations and environments. The generic method is often used as a risk assessment template, or a first pass before moving on to more specific methods.

Site-Specific

A site-specific risk assessment will focus on the location being assessed. Considerations may include the equipment used in the space, health and safety regulations required for the activities performed, or climate and weather conditions.

Dynamic

A dynamic risk assessment differs from the previous methods in that it is performed in a limited time span. This kind of assessment is usually performed in the moment that a safety risk is occurring (or shortly after) to determine what steps should be taken to minimize the damage.

How Can I Choose the Best Risk Assessment for My Needs?

It’s important to note that sometimes a combination of assessments will yield the best results. Don’t narrow your focus to one methodology if using several will better meet your needs. You may also find that different departments in your company lend themselves to different assessments. It isn’t necessary to use the same technique for every area of your organization.

The most important question to ask when embarking on a risk assessment is: what are we hoping to learn? Consider whether your answer requires hard numbers or whether a holistic approach would be more beneficial. Your proposed time frame may also be a factor, as well as the experience and bandwidth of your assessor.

How Do I Complete a Risk Assessment?

The risk assessment process will be different at every organization, depending on the kind of assessment you choose, the size of your company, and your overall goals. If your company does not have a health and safety executive or a similar safety management team in place to conduct risk assessments, that may be worth looking into.

There are a few steps that most risk assessments will have in common:

  1. Identify Your Hazards. Hazards and risks are not synonymous. Hazards are any possible events that could cause harm, whereas risks are the likelihood that harm will result. Your first step should be to list all potential hazards that your company or site might face.

  2. Identify the Potential Harm. After hazard identification, attempt to predict any harm that could result from each hazard. Not all hazards are created equal, and determining what harm could be caused will help you prioritize and plan accordingly for every possibility.

  3. Determine Necessary Precautions. Once you’ve analyzed potential hazards, you’ll need to decide how you can best prevent them or minimize harm. This might involve training, controls, or insurance policies.

  4. Record Your Results. Creating a risk register that contains all of your potential risks and the control measures you’ve taken to prevent them is important, both for future training and for tracking your progress in the future.

  5. Review and Make Changes Over Time. Risk is not static, and the plans you establish now may not be sufficient as your company grows. Be sure to examine your risk prevention measures and your risk landscape regularly over time.

Assess and Manage Risks with ZenGRC

Identifying risk is only the first step to creating a successful risk management program. To provide the best possible defense, your company must be able to track the risks you’re facing and the mitigation efforts you’ve put in place. How can you assure a complete risk analysis for your entire organization?

If you’re searching for effective risk assessment tools, ZenGRC can help. ZenGRC is an innovative framework designed to give you a real-time view of your company’s risk landscape. With automation and integration throughout your entire organization, ZenGRC allows you to make sure that all of your potential vulnerabilities are accounted for.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about how ZenGRC can help you build a successful risk management system for your company.