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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Risk Assessment Matrix


A risk matrix is a matrix that is used during risk assessment to define the level of risk by considering the category of probability or likelihood against the category of consequence severity. This is a simple mechanism to increase the visibility of risks and assist management decision making.

Click on each item of the interactive risk matrix below to examine the risk of each scenario.

The hierarchy of control should be used in conjunction with the risk assessment matrix.

Risk assessment matrix interactive – zoo scenarios (interactive overlays transcript)

Risk assessment matrix overlays text - Likelihood x Consequence Severity = Risk Impact

In order of lowest to highest risk

01. Highly unlikely x Negligible = Low risk

An orangutan learns to use sign language, insulting and frightening visitors as they pass by, gesticulating rudely and banging on the glass enclosure.

02. Unlikely x Negligible = Low risk

A butterfly from the insect enclosure gets caught in a visitor’s hair resulting in some damage to the butterfly but only causing minor distress to the visitor.

03. Possible x Negligible = Low risk

Zoo kiosk coffee is too hot burning several visitors' tongues.

04. Likely x Negligible = Medium risk

A visitor forgets to apply adequate sunscreen for a day at the zoo and sustains a moderate sunburn.

05. Very likely x Negligible = Medium risk

While on school excursion, a child is separated from the group and gets lost, is found in a distressed state.

06. Highly unlikely x First aid = Low risk

A zookeeper forgets to wear protective gloves and is bitten while handling a lizard.

07. Unlikely x First aid = Low risk

A severe hailstorm injures several visitors and some animals, all requiring treatment for bruising and concussion.

08. Possible x First aid = Medium risk

A child falls into an unfenced pond, swallows dirty pond water, and is covered in mud.

09. Likely x First aid = Medium risk

A visitor trips on uneven ground caused by exposed tree roots, sustaining a grazed knee.

10. Very likely x First aid = Medium risk

A free-roaming swan attacks a child and steals a sandwich, biting a finger which causes bleeding.

11. Highly unlikely x Minor injury = Medium risk

Drinking fountains are contaminated with bacteria causing illness in some visitors.

12. Unlikely x Minor injury = Medium risk

A visitor is knocked down while crossing a walkway in the zoo car park by a vehicle travelling at low speed.

13. Possible x Minor injury = Medium risk

A photographer roams into a restricted area of the open lemur enclosure to take a better photograph of a young lemur and is attacked by several female lemurs defending their young, resulting in scratches and bites to the face and arms.

14. Likely x Minor injury = Medium risk

A child climbs on to a dinosaur display and falls, breaking an arm.

15. Very likely x Minor injury = High risk

A zookeeper crashes an electric cart into a tree at low speed, sustaining a leg injury and damaging the tree.

16. Highly unlikely x Major injury = Medium risk

A zookeeper contracts a serious virus from a macaque monkey, is admitted to a quarantine ward, and placed on a ventilator.

17. Unlikely x Major injury = Medium risk

A poacher sneaks into a safari zoo enclosure to steal rhinoceros horns. He shoots and seriously injures one rhinoceros but gets attacked by the others, causing multiple broken bones and internal injuries.

18. Possible x Major injury = High risk

A gorilla escapes a damaged enclosure, attacking multiple visitors, resulting in severe injury.

19. Likely x Major injury = High risk

Staff and visitors contract COVID19 from a source at the zoo resulting in hospital quarantine.

20. Very likely x Major injury = High risk

An animal handler fails to lock the gate properly during feeding time and is attacked by hungry tigers resulting in serious cuts and internal injuries.

21. Highly unlikely x Fatality = Medium risk

Extinct dinosaurs are recreated from DNA trapped in fossilised mosquito blood. They break free from enclosures and rampage throughout the zoo killing staff, animals, and visitors.

22. Unlikely x Fatality = High risk

Glass breaks in an aquatic display area causing a flood of glass and water, killing visitors, staff and animals.

23. Possible x Fatality = High risk

A visitor falls into a dangerous animal enclosure and is mauled by lions.

24. Likely x Fatality = High risk

A visitor or staff member is killed due to anaphylaxis from a wasp or bee sting while walking in zoo gardens.

25. Very likely x Fatality = Extreme risk

Directly caused by climate change, an extreme bush fire sweeps through a safari zoo resulting in the death of animals and staff.