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Quantified Risk Assessment (QRA)

Last updated: December 12, 2019

What Does Quantified Risk Assessment (QRA) Mean?

A quantified risk assessment (QRA) is a risk-management tool used by employers to understand the likelihood or probability that a certain hazardous scenario will occur. QRAs depict the individual risk for people located in a specific place, time, and role from every hazardous workplace scenario that could potentially impact them.

The use of QRAs allows occupational safety professionals to classify the risk associated with a hazard according to both the amount of harm it could cause as well as the likelihood that harm will occur. The lowest risk hazards are low-harm and low-frequency, while the highest risk hazards are high-risk and high-frequency. Because QRAs rate hazards along a defined and quantifiable scale, they can be used by employers to demonstrate to occupational health and safety authorities that their worksite’s risk levels fall within tolerable limits.

Safeopedia Explains Quantified Risk Assessment (QRA)

QRAs begin with an inventory of all potential hazards in a workspace, their likelihood of causing harm, and their consequences. The risks associated with each of these hazards are assessed through comparison with a defined set of safety criteria. Due to their complexity, many companies that need to perform a QRA do so by contracting an independent third party with appropriate expertise to perform the assessment on their behalf.

A QRA is often used in industrial settings in which a variety of safety hazards are present, each of which needs to be understood both discreetly and in combination in order for the employer to gain a full understanding of the risk faced by workers at various locations within the facility. The assessment may be conducted during either the design or operation of the facility. If conducted during the design stage, the QRA may be used to inform the design choices that can be made to maximize worker safety. An employer may also be legally required to perform a QRA to demonstrate his or her fitness to operate a facility.

QRAs rely on measurable and objective data to attach a risk value to a specific hazard; however, in many workplace scenarios, it is very difficult to measure the risks associated with a particular hazard in an objective and data-driven manner. This limits the usefulness of QRAs outside of contexts in which their use has been deemed reasonably practicable by insurers and health and safety authorities. In situations where a QRA is not feasible, a qualitative risk assessment may be relied upon instead to provide an image of the risk level associated with a certain workplace.


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