The idea of a risk assessment is to identify the risks that you or your company are responsible for and try to completely remove the risk, make them less likely or less dangerous. For a project manager on a construction site, the risks will probably be all injury based, but you could use the same theory to assess other factors like budget.

Ideally, you want to assess a task or situation before work starts. Start by identifying the hazard. This could be tripping over something, falling down a hole, chemicals in a product, use of a tool or combinations.

Then asses who might be affected by the hazard, pay particular attention to people with additional requirements. Workers, visitors, elderly or young people.

Are there any measures already in place to guard against any accident? They may be enough but they should be assessed to.

HSE Risk Assessment

Using a risk matrix, you can work out if the current measures, if any are enough. On the left-hand side, we have the likelihood of something happening (remote to almost certain), and across the top, the severity of injury (near miss to catastrophic). The risk score is found by multiplying likelihood by severity.

Risk Matrix

The higher the calculated risk score the more urgently you need to be deploying a solution. A score of 1 or 2 is ideal. A score of 12 or above and you will need to address the situation immediately.


Let us take the hose pipe you need to get water across the site to the cement mixer for an example.

What is the hazard? Tripping over the pipe.
Who might be affected? Workers
What is currently in place to protect to prevent this from happening? Nothing

For a hose running through the middle of the site, I would say you are moderately likely to trip over it. It’s worth noting that with more people on site, the chances of somebody tripping over it increases. Score 3

Let’s assume that a trip over the hose would cause a minor injury at most. Score 2

Calculate the risk by multiplying the likelihood by severity. 3 x 2 = 6

Our assesment shows that the risk is quite low but could be improved. There’s not much you can do about the severity but you could lower the likelihood by moving the hose to the edge of the site.

For more information look at the HSE website.