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Risk Assessment Matrix Example | Aviation Safety

by | reviewed 16/07/2023
Risk Matrix for hazards from minor to catastrophic. FREE download of a 5 by 5 risk assessment matrix. This example is from civil aviation, but can be used in many different contexts
This is an 5 by 5 matrix used for assessing the level of risk associated with a hazard. This example is based on an Aviation safety risk matrix published by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) in their Safety Management Manual. stakeholdermap.com
Similar matrices are used to manage health and safety risks in multiple industries, where if the risk were realised i.e. if the risk happened, it could result in injury to human or animal resources.
example of a risk matrix for Aviation safety

Severity definitions

This matrix rates the severity of the risk on a scale from negligible to catatrosphic. Each severity rating has a clear definition:
Severity Definition Level
Catastropic If the risk occured it would:
  • Cause multple deaths and/or
  • Destruction of equipment and resources
Hazardous If the risk occured it would cause:
  • A large reduction in safety margins, physical distress or a workload such that the operators cannot be relied upon to perform their tasks accurately or completely
  • Serious injury
  • Major equipment damage
Major If the risk occured it would cause:
  • A significant reduction in safety margins, a reduction in the ability of the operators to cope with adverse operating conditions as a result of an increase in workload or as a result of conditions impairing their efficiency
  • Serious incident
  • Injury to persons
Minor If the risk occured it would cause a:
  • Nuisance
  • Operating limitations
  • Use of emergency procedures
  • Minor incident
Negligible Few consequences E
Source: ICAO, Safety Management Manual (SMM), Figure 2-12. Safety risk severity table, 2 - 29. Emphasis stakeholdermap.com.

Risk probability table

The x axis categorises the probability of a risk occuring. Each rating is numbered, which combined with the risk severity gives the risk index (more on this later).
Likelihood Definition Value
Frequent Likely to occur many times (has occurred frequently) 5
Occasional Likely to occur sometimes (has occurred infrequently) 4
Remote Unlikely to occur, but possible (has occurred rarely) 3
Improbable Very unlikely to occur (not known to have occurred) 2
Extremely improbable Almost inconceivable that the event will occur 1
Source: ICAO, Safety Management Manual (SMM), Figure 2-11. Safety probability table, 2 - 28.

Risk tolerability or traffic lights

The ICAO group risks into three zones: acceptable, tolerable and intolerable. These zones or regions are shown on the matrix using a traffic light system of red, amber and green.

Once a risk is assessed the combination of the probability and severity gives a risk index. For example a risk with a probability level of 4 and a severity of B has an index of 4B which means that action must be taken to reduce the probability and/or severity so that the risk falls within tolerable levels.

Risk Assessmet Matrix download in PowerPoint and PDF

Download the matrix now:

Aviation Risk Assessment Matrix in PowerPoint .pptx

Aviation Risk Assessment Matrix in PowerPoint .ppt

PDF of the Risk Assessment Matrix

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Risk Matrix References

ICAO in its Safety Management Manual. https://www.icao.int/safety/SafetyManagement/Documents/Doc.9859.3rd%20Edition.alltext.en.pdf, Pg 2 – 28 – 2 - 29

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