What is composite risk management (CRM)?

Composite risk management (CRM) is a proven process that is used for decision making. It was originally developed by the US military to help acknowledge, access, and address various hazards. It is also used to control risks during missions as well as normal day-to-day activities. The CRM process is broken up into five steps that help people to shift the way they think about situations and teach them ‘how’ to think to get to the best solutions.

Mn on top of ladder with a drill

  • Step 1 – Identify Hazards When in any situation it is important to identify the potential hazards that exist. In this step you are to use all your experience, factors of the environment, historical knowledge of problem areas, and more to spot the potential hazards.
  • Step 2 – Assess the Hazards Next, it is necessary to assess each of the potential hazards to determine how much of a threat they may be. This will help you to prioritize your response to ensure the biggest hazards are dealt with first, or at least that hazards are dealt with in a reasonable way.
  • Step 3 – Develop Controls & Make Decisions Developing control measures is where you come up with ways to eliminate or contain the hazards so that they can’t cause issues. As the measures are developed, the risks are re-evaluated based on those measures until they are determined to be sufficiently reduced or eliminated.
  • Step 4 – Supervise and Evaluate All the controls and standards that were put into place in the previous step need to be supervised to ensure they are followed. In addition, evaluating the effectiveness of these controls will be necessary to see if they provide the results that you were looking for.
  • Step 5 – Implement Controls Once the controls have been properly tested, you will want to roll them out to other areas, if appropriate. Putting proven controls in place is a great way to ensure everyone benefits from the CRM process.

Using CRM in the Workplace

While the CRM process was developed by and for the US military, it can be used in many different environments. Many workplaces have found that they can adapt the composite risk management processes to identify risks in the workplace and take steps to eliminate them.


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