Many spheres, including business, healthcare, and disaster management, want to avoid risks or be prepared to overcome them. For this purpose, risk management plans include the step of risk assessment – the process of “determining the probability that a risk will occur and the impact that event would have, should it occur” (The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, n.d., p. 4). It can also be interpreted as a preliminary cause and effect analysis, where researchers look at potential causes, processes, and outcomes of various dangerous occurrences. Risk assessment is vital for the development of mitigation plans because it provides risk managers with a list of issues, their possibility, and their results.
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Dangers cannot be prevented effectively if they are not identified – to overcome problems, one has to see them as well as their underlying reasons. However, while a person may predict various risks, it is also essential to evaluate their chances and outcomes. For instance, some events may happen frequently but have little impact on a community or an organization. In a contrast, other occasions may be extremely rare but have devastating consequences. These situations require different approaches and resources to be employed. Therefore, it is vital to start the creation of a mitigation plan with risk assessment.
The most vital part of risk assessment is the matrix that determines the probability of occurrences and the impact of each problem. As mentioned above, issues differ according to their frequency, potential, and outcome. This matrix shows the position of each risk, allowing one to decide how much attention should be paid to preparation. The probability of events is characterized by such categories as “frequent, likely, occasional, seldom, and improbable” (The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, n.d., p. 9).
Similarly, the consequences can be “catastrophic, critical, moderate, minor, and negligible” (The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, n.d., p. 9). This matrix serves as a foundation for the next steps in the plan.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.). Risk management plan. Web.