Learn what risk registers are and how they can be applied to your business and to different industries.
Published 23 Nov 2022
A risk register, also sometimes called a risk log, is a document project managers use to list down risks early in the project planning process to identify risks and how to mitigate them. This list is an important document in risk management for projects and businesses in all industries.
When creating and managing a project, a major part of it should be attributed to risk management. Generally, risk management is the umbrella term for all things risk-related during a project’s planning and execution stages. A “risk” is defined here as not only something that may cause harm, but also anything that may influence how the project’s final outcome will turn out to be. Following this, a risk management plan is then made, covering the analysis and assessment of risks. This covers not only the risks that may happen before the project is executed but also the risks that happen during the execution itself. Other parts of risk management are risk analysis and risk assessment.
An important factor to any successful risk management program is to have a risk register before project execution. As a risk register is the compilation of identified risks in the planning stages of a project, it is often referred to during the project planning and execution as a reference for risks. It is also used as a supplementary document in helping the project manager keep track of the processes undertaken by the team and to prevent delays, as they would continuously refer to it to know what to avoid and what to do better.
Risk Register Template | SafetyCulture
There is no one way to create and use a risk register. Different businesses would have different needs and risks, so each risk register can be created differently. However, the typical risk register has the following elements:
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Risk registers are used in almost all departments or lines of business in a company. Here are some examples of how they are used and applied per industry:
As belonging to one of the biggest and most dangerous industries, construction companies are known for dutifully maintaining risk registers. A risk register is a necessity for the preconstruction phase of any construction project as it helps in creating a plan on how to do the construction proper. Assessing risks and planning for them early on helps not only streamline the construction process, but it also helps prevent any harmful incidents from occurring. A risk register can also help in creating back-up plans for when natural disasters happen, or when other events outside of the managers’ control occur.
When constructing buildings, an environmental risk register can also be used. This kind of risk register is specifically used to help determine the environmental impact a certain project will have.
Although corporate businesses have less chances of workplace injuries or violence, there are still many risks to consider that can hamper operations. The improvements that can stem from having a risk register can then improve productivity and profitability.
Having a risk register helps businesses in the corporate field improve existing processes. With a risk register to help identify risks, managers can discover errors and work to improve on them by developing new policies to address issues. Some businesses may also use an environmental risk register depending on the nature of work.
Jobs in the field of customer service are considered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to be more prone to workplace violence compared to other jobs. Because of this, some employers have taken to using risk registers to help prevent any untoward incidents towards themselves and their employees. Additionally, a risk register can also be used as a reference on what to do in case of emergencies as well.
Risk registers are also very common in the fields of Information Technology (IT) and cybersecurity, as both fields deal with many risks daily. Risk registers allow professionals in these fields to not only identify and measure risks in one place, but they also help in creating new ways to improve cybersecurity.
Security risk registers or information security risk registers, in particular, are the most commonly used kind of registers for this purpose and they can be modified depending on the task. Sometimes, Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG) checklists are used in conjunction with this kind of risk register to help assess risks based on standards set by the US government.
For the culinary field, risk registers are often used in food preparation and inventories to stay aware of possible food risks that can affect overall quality and the safety of consumers. Risk registers can also be used to note other possible risks that may happen when in the kitchen, such as fires and slips, trips, and falls.
As part of their risk assessment guidelines, the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) offers a risk register template culinary businesses can use as a basis for their risk management plans with regards to preparing, cooking, and serving food. The HSE wants businesses to edit the risk register sample based on their needs as each business is different. They want them to have a risk register not only to ensure compliance with the law, but also for the safety of everyone involved in the business.
According to OSHA, jobs in the healthcare industry are at an increased risk for workplace hazards due to the amount of people they deal with daily, the chemicals they handle, and understaffing. To help mitigate these risks, risk registers have become an essential part of the healthcare industry’s daily operations, both for the benefit of employees and patients. However, as the healthcare industry deals with many people, their risk categories consider both the professional and the patient, making their risk registers more complex at times.
Similar to those in the healthcare and customer service industries, those in the hospitality industry also face many people daily. While the risks they face are different, they are still significant and can impact work and staff safety greatly. With a risk register, hospitality professionals can ensure physical safety on both themselves and their clients, as well as their data privacy, as they face a high chance of being the victims of cyber attacks, particularly cybertheft.
For those in the automotive industry, risks can come from many places. Manufacturers can have risks in their manufacturing processes and quality control practices, but they can also be affected by the other businesses they transact with, the age of the equipment they use, and the customers they deal with. These are all often considered pre-production and included in their risk registers and their daily logs to be reminded of them while working. Sometimes, risk registers are also used with equipment and vehicle maintenance logs to ensure maximum safety and quality.
As they deal with money coming in and out daily, banks are required to have risk registers to help them. Banks face risks in every stage of money management from deposit to liquidation, so it is important to be aware of the risks that come with each step in order to address them early or mitigate them. Larger banks in particular are more susceptible to risks due to the amount of their daily transactions.
Risk registers can help them manage these risks and implement policies to avoid them. A risk register can also help governing bodies, such as a country’s central bank or other government bodies, better create rules and guidelines that can be implemented on a larger scale.
A risk register is considered an essential to ship management in the maritime industry. Keeping track of the ship’s issues is necessary for both safety and productivity, as ship risk registers are an important part of overall risk management in their line of work. This is both because the sea is unpredictable and prone to risk, and that the ship itself needs a lot of upkeep and maintenance.
Similar to banks, a maritime-related risk register can also help create and implement policies on a larger scale with the involvement of government bodies. The HSE specifically has guidelines on maritime risk assessment, including how to identify hazards on the sea and on the ship, as well as how to address them.
Traditionally, risk registers were done on pen and paper. The documents are then stored in offices’ storage rooms or cabinets. Today, however, risk registers can now be done digitally and stored in the cloud.
SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) is a digital inspection app that offers such functionality. It can help you create and manage risk registers with digital checklists using your phone, then store them in the cloud for later access. With SafetyCulture, you can also address the risks on the go and highlight your findings on them should you need to. Checklists can be made from scratch, but you can also choose to use or customize premade ones from SafetyCulture’s Public Library.
Other things you can do with SafetyCulture are:
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This is a general risk register that can be used by project or risk managers of any industry to keep track of their occupation’s potential risks. With this template, managers can list down all risks before, during, and after a project, analyze them, and provide recommendations.
Roselin Manawis is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture. She has experience in news writing and content marketing across different fields of discipline. Her background in Communication Arts enables her to leverage multimedia and improve the quality of her work. She also contributed as a research assistant for an international study and as a co-author for two books in 2020. With her informative articles, she aims to ignite digital transformation in workplaces around the world.
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