The 5x5 Risk Matrix Template: A Comprehensive Guide

by Ramiro Gonzalez

The 5x5 Risk Matrix Template: A Comprehensive Guide

A 5x5 risk matrix template is an instrument employed to gauge risk levels based on their likelihood and influence on an organization. It displays risk data using a color-coded tabular matrix with an extensive numerical scaling system. This detailed visualization enables health and safety (H&S) professionals and project managers to take a more granular approach in estimating risks and developing suitable intervention tactics.



A 5x5 risk matrix template is an invaluable risk assessment instrument for projects, management systems, worksites, and similar ventures. Here are three ways you can benefit from using this tool:

Streamlining Risk Assessments
First, it offers a more efficient and structured approach to risk assessment. A template already contains all the necessary elements in a risk matrix, saving you time from manually recreating it every time. This way, you can proceed with assessing risks without worrying about missing any critical items.

Visualizing Risk Data
This risk matrix template also presents a clear image 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 more profoundly. 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 adhere to legal requirements and standards for health and safety programs from (but not limited to) the following agencies:

  • Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – In the UK, risk assessments are a must to determine the potential risks for employees at work and take action accordingly.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – While not a requirement for legal compliance, the US government’s OSHA recommends incorporating risk and hazard assessments in a workplace’s health and safety program.
  • Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) – It also considers risk assessment an integral part of a robust health and safety initiative.

Essential Components

A 5x5 risk matrix template typically comprises the following elements:

  • Probability – Also known as likelihood, it measures the possibility of a risk occurring 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 allows you to list down suitable risk control measures to combat, mitigate, or manage the potential threat.

Utilizing a 5x5 Risk Matrix Template: Steps and Example

After learning about the components of a 5x5 risk matrix, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice. Here are five steps for using this template, along with an example.

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

  2. Identify the Risk Probability
    Once the project details are complete, it’s time to build your 5x5 risk matrix template. Start by determining the likelihood of the risk occurring 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
  1. 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 5x5 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
  1. 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
  1. Provide Recommendations
    This 5x5 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you create a 5x5 risk matrix template?
  • Is there a standard format for a risk matrix template?
  • What are the levels of risk in a 5x5 risk matrix template?

Efficiently Addressing Risks with Checkwork

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.

Checkwork 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 Checkwork, you can digitize the following functions for risk assessment:

  • Download or build your own 5x5 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 5x5 risk matrix template with your preferred software programs, such as Microsoft Excel and Word.

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