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Complaints - Step 6: Risk Matrix and Local factors

Risk matrix

The Complaints Handling Officer should assess the complaint using the risk matrix.

NB For Welfare complaints go straight to the Local factors

Possible injury risk/possible health risk

This refers to the consequence of the activity or nature of the harm that could reasonably be expected to occur.

It is linked to the levels of harm described in the Reporting of injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 and brief details are given on the matrix itself eg

Number of possible casualties at one time

The extent of the injuries or ill health should then be considered:

Multiple: events affecting large numbers of employees or major hazards with off - site risks where several members of the public may be at risk

Single or low: a single or small number of casualties


This means the probability of the uncontrolled event  which may lead to the injury or ill health happening.

Likelihood can be a subjective assessment that can vary within or between industries. A combination of factors should be taken into account, including the complaint officers knowledge of the industry/activity, accident rates and HSE guidance.

Officers should use their professional judgement to decide whether the likelihood is probable, possible, remote or nil/negligible.


A machine with unintentionally exposed and charged electrical conductors is located immediately next to an employee's work station.

This would give a probable likelihood of serious personal injury.

Using the "single or low" number of casualties this would give a RED risk coding.

Gas complaints

For Gas complaints the outcome of dangerous gas fittings or work not carried out safely is can be death or carbon monoxide poisoning so would be likely to red/amber. Any complaints which meet the definition of a serious gas complaint would be red.

For apparently administrative issues such as cases where there is no landlord's gas safety record available, these should be rated amber without recourse to the risk matrix because of the potential risk involved.

Local factors

Once the complaint has been assessed using the matrix the local factors flow chart which asks a series of questions should be used.

If the answer to any of the questions is "yes" except for the first question, then the risk rating is changed up eg from green to amber or amber to red.

Welfare complaints, which are not assessed using the risk matrix should be considered under local factors which asks: Is welfare provision significantly below that required by law?

Complaint Officers should consider: is there a denial of basic employee welfare facilities? For example:

In the case of complaints where there may be political sensitivity the case should be discussed with the Band 2. For example all conventional health and safety issues at nuclear sites, or issues raised by elected members of local or central government.

Updated 2021-05-05