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The purpose of this guide is to assist individuals when determining whether or not to move forward with a particular program or activity. If you have questions, contact the Office of Risk Management,, for assistance.

Risk Analysis Steps

1. Identify your activity

  1. Who are the participants (minors and/or adults, general public and/or students, etc.)?
  2. What will they be doing?
  3. Where will this activity take place?
  4. How long and how often will this activity occur?

2. Determine if this activity aligns with your program’s values

  1. What is the mission statement of your college, school, department or program?
  2. Can you articulate how your activity will support that mission vision?

If the answer to (b.) is NO, stop here. Do not proceed with your activity.
If the answer to (b.) is YES, go to step 3.

3. Identify the risks

Risks can represent the potential for damage or loss to the participants, harm to the
environment, property damage, or operational risks to the university or program.

List all the risks associated with the activity taking into account any external factors including but not limited to, weather, experience level of participants, location, etc.

4. Classify the risks

Plot the severity and probability of a risk on the Risk Matrix “heat map” below, and classify your risk as low, medium or high. Fill out a Risk Assessment Table (PDF).

5. Manage your risks

If your risks fall into the HIGH or EXTREME area of the matrix and you still wish to proceed, make adjustments to manage your activity to minimize those risks.

Ways to minimize or mitigate risks include; using proper safety equipment, educating the participants on proper safety protocol and utilizing common sense in unsafe conditions such as weather events.

You can also transfer the risk responsibility through contract or waiver. If you believe your program may require a contract or waiver, please consult the Office of Risk Management,

6. Determine the return on the risk

The purpose of a risk analysis is to determine if the value of the activity is “worth the risk” of the activity, i.e. Is there adequate “return on risk.”

Identify what you expect the outcome of your activity to be. Using the risk analysis of your activity, determine if there is adequate return on risk for your activity. If you are still unsure about how to proceed, contact the Office of Risk Management,

Risk Matrix

Severity: Negligible Severity: Marginal Severity: Critical
Small, unimportant; not likely to have a major effect on the operation of the event Minimal importance; has an effect on the operation of event but will not affect the event outcome Serious, important; will affect the operation of the event in a negative way
Probability: Low  This risk has never occurred at a college event and is unlikely to happen Low (1) Medium (4) Medium (6)
Probability: Medium  This risk may occur Low (2) Medium (5) High (8)
Probability: High  This risk is likely to occur Medium (3) High (7) High (9)

Explanation of Risk Ranking

  • Low and Medium: If the consequences to this event or activity are LOW or MEDIUM, your group should be okay to proceed. It is advised that if the activity is MEDIUM, risk reduction efforts should be made.
  • High: If the consequences to this event or activity are HIGH, it is advised that you seek additional event planning support.
Last modified: April 22, 2020
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