5x5 Risk Matrix Templates

Establish a structured approach to assessing and managing risks in the workplace using a 5x5 risk matrix template.

safety managers evaluating risks on site

Published 19 Aug 2022

What is a 5x5 Risk Matrix Template?

A 5x5 risk matrix template is a tool used to measure risk levels according to their likelihood and impact on an organization. It presents risk information using a color-coded tabular matrix with an expanded numerical scaling system. This in-depth visualization allows health and safety (H&S) officers and project managers to take a more granular approach in calculating risks and devising appropriate intervention strategies.

This article briefly discusses the following topics:

Advantages

A 5×5 risk matrix template is a valuable risk assessment tool for projects, management systems, worksites, and similar undertakings. Here are three ways you can benefit from using this tool:

Streamlining Risk Assessments

First, it provides a more efficient and structured approach to risk assessment. A template already includes all the elements needed in a risk matrix to help you save time from manually replicating it every time. This way, you can proceed with assessing risks without worrying about missing any important items.

Visualizing Risk Information

This risk matrix template also presents a clear picture of risks across degrees of probability and consequences. The numerical values in the matrix take a quantitative approach to understanding the gravity of each risk factor with more depth. Meanwhile, its color coding system allows you to pinpoint high-risk areas that require immediate attention.

Establishing Compliant Health and Safety Programs

By simplifying this process, it becomes easier to follow legal requirements and standards for health and safety programs from (but not limited to) the following agencies:

What Should It Include?

A 5×5 risk matrix template typically consists of the following elements:

  • Probability – Also known as likelihood, it measures how possible it is for a risk to occur in a project or organization.
  • Impact – Also known as severity or consequence, it indicates the extent to which the risk will affect the project or organization.
  • Risk level – This value reflects the degree of threat that a potential risk presents to the project or organization according to its likelihood and impact.
  • Recommendation – This field lets you list down appropriate risk control measures to combat, mitigate, or manage the potential threat.

How to Use a 5×5 Risk Matrix Template (+ Example)

After learning about the components of a 5×5 risk matrix, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice. Here are five steps for using this template, along with an example.

Step #1: Establish the Project Details.

Before mapping out the risk landscape, it’s important to provide a background on the system, project, or worksite to be evaluated. Thus, the first step is to outline essential information about the activity in review, including its potential risks to your employees and your organization.

Step #2: Identify the Risk Probability.

Once the project details are complete, it’s time to build your 5×5 risk matrix template. Start by determining how likely the risk will occur in your project, system, or worksite based on a 1-5 scoring system as follows:

  • Rare – has less than 10 percent chance of the risk occurring
  • Unlikely – can possibly happen but only with a less than 50 percent chance
  • Moderate – likely to occur with the odds left at a 50:50 split
  • Likely – more possible to happen, with the odds ranging from 60-80 percent
  • Almost certain – highly probable to happen, with over 80 percent chance of occurrence

Step #3: Determine the Risk Impact.

Next, you’ll need to rate the extent to which a risk factor can affect the activity you’re assessing. As this is a 5×5 risk matrix template, it will follow a 1-5 scale as follows:

  • Insignificant – negligible consequences without causing serious harm
  • Minor – minimal consequences, leading to mild injuries or illnesses
  • Significant – manageable consequences, causing harm that may require short-term treatment
  • Major – critical consequences, leading to long-term damages
  • Severe – devastating consequences, resulting in fatalities and catastrophic damages

Step #4: Calculate the Overall Risk Level.

Once you have rated the Probability and Impact of a risk factor, determine the risk level by multiplying these two values. The result can range from the following:

  • Acceptable (1-4) – requires no further action
  • Adequate (5-9) – needs further observation and assessment
  • Tolerable (10-16) – requires regular monitoring and improvement interventions
  • Unacceptable (17-25) – halt operations and enact corrective action

Step #5: Provide Recommendations.

This 5×5 risk matrix template takes things to the next level through proactive risk resolution. For this section, you can suggest risk control measures and appropriate interventions to prevent, mitigate, or manage existing risks.

See the example below for a complete picture of how a 5×5 risk matrix template works in an inventory transportation setting.

Addressing Risks Efficiently with iAuditor

Quality managers, project managers, and safety officers know how integral risk assessment is in any organizational operation. To streamline this process, they can utilize risk matrix templates to their fullest extent using digital tools.

iAuditor by SafetyCulture is an award-winning safety and risk assessment software trusted by over 1 million workers across various industries. It leverages a suite of powerful features to aid safety, project, and quality teams in proactively identifying and resolving operational and safety risks. With iAuditor, you can digitize the following functions for risk assessment:

  • Download or build your own 5×5 risk matrix template for identifying, measuring, and analyzing potential risks in various settings.
  • Generate professional risk matrix reports in Word, PDF, and Web formats and store them in an online repository for future reference.
  • Report issues during inspections to prompt immediate action, spot shortcomings at their onset, and ensure proper implementation of risk management strategies.
  • Review recurring trends and patterns from previous inspections and gain actionable insights for risk assessment and decision-making processes.
  • Integrate your 5×5 risk matrix template with your preferred software programs, such as Microsoft Excel and Word.

 

FAQs about 5x5 Risk Matrix Templates

  1. Place the risk probability in the Y-axis (column) of the template using a 1-5 rating system (1 = Rare, 5 = Almost Certain).
  2. Insert the risk impact in the X-axis (row) of the template following the same 1-5 scale (1 = Insignificant, 4 = Severe).
  3. Determine the risk level by multiplying Probability by Impact.
  4. Following the formula above, ascribe a numerical value (1-25) and color (green to red) to each cell in the matrix.

Risk matrix templates typically come in three formats: the 3×3 risk matrix, 4×4 risk matrix, and 5×5 risk matrix. Each matrix depicts varying levels of impact and likelihood, depending on the scale you want to use.

In a 5×5 risk matrix template, the levels of risk go as follows:

  • Acceptable – no further action required, but make sure to maintain controls.
  • Adequate – consider for further analysis.
  • Tolerable – review in a timely manner to carry out improvement strategies.
  • Unacceptable – cease activities and endorse immediate action.
leizel estrellas safetyculture content specialist

SafetyCulture Content Specialist

Leizel Estrellas

Leizel Estrellas is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture. Her academic and professional training as a researcher allows her to write meaningful articles that create a lasting impact. As a content specialist, she strives to promote a culture of safety in the workplace through accessible and reader-friendly content. With her high-quality work, she is keen on helping businesses across industries identify issues and opportunities to improve every day.

Leizel Estrellas is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture. Her academic and professional training as a researcher allows her to write meaningful articles that create a lasting impact. As a content specialist, she strives to promote a culture of safety in the workplace through accessible and reader-friendly content. With her high-quality work, she is keen on helping businesses across industries identify issues and opportunities to improve every day.