Multipart article

Download Free Risk Register Templates

by Kate Eby on Sep 20, 2018

Businesses use a risk register to document, track, and mitigate risks associated with projects and their subsequent phases. A risk is identified at the beginning of the project, and is graded based on the likelihood and seriousness of its impact or effect on the project, with the goal of preventing a project delay. This article provides free, customizable templates and forms in PDF and Microsoft Word and Excel formats. Learn what to include iand how to identify and track risk to ensure successful project completion.


Risk Register Template

Risk Register Template

A risk register template is a simple document, spreadsheet, or database system designed to systematically track and evaluate risks, define risk priority and potential impact, and document mitigation strategies and their costs and results at the beginning of a project. Use this preformatted, customizable template to create a targeted action plan to identify and mitigate risks as they arise. With spaces to document risk descriptions, risk owners, triggers, probability, and response plan, you can easily create a strategic plan before a project’s timelines, budgets, or resources are derailed.

Download Risk Register Template

Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet


Project Risk Register Template

Project Risk Register Template

You can use this project risk register template as a master document to outline all potential project risks in a detailed table, including spaces for risk category, identification date, potential project impacts, and possible mitigation strategies. Similar to the risk register template, you can leverage this comprehensive template to detail the risks involved with every phase of your project and update it regularly to maintain visibility with team members and key stakeholders. Easily identify and mitigate risks associated with your projects before they seriously impact your deadlines — and your bottom line — with this customizable template.

Download the Project Risk Register Template

Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet


Construction Risk Register Template

Construction Risk Register Template

This template focuses on risks associated with construction projects, and can help you to identify risks before they arise, describe possible consequences, and propose risk treatment plans in an effort to eliminate project delays. Use this premade template to describe possible risks and organize them into appropriate categories, like climate, traffic and transport, and nature conservation. Pinpoint risk ratings based on likelihoods and consequences, and assign specific team members risk action plans to create.

Download Construction Risk Register Template

Excel | Word | PDF


Risk Register Template for Banks

Risk Register Template for Banks

This risk register template for banks works to assess and mitigate risks in the banking industry. Use this downloadable template to create a proactive action plan to identify and assuage risks and their negative impacts on banking projects, like inspection or audit issues. Prepare and update this template with potential risk activities, contingency plans, risk impact timelines, and more to keep your banking projects and day-to-day activities on track and on time.

Download Risk Register Template for Banks

Excel | Word | PDF


Occupational Health and Safety Hazard Risk Register Template

OHS Risk Register Template

An occupational health and safety (OHS) risk register template targets the understanding, possible causes, and mitigation strategies involved with any foreseeable health risks and hazards associated with a project. This template, which is a legal requirement for all projects that have a potential to impact any person’s health or wellbeing, assesses any hazards in a workplace, the seriousness of the hazard, and any control factors or features that should be put in place to prevent this hazard from harming anyone involved. Prepare this preformatted template to keep hazards in your workplace at bay and prevent legal or safety issues in the future.

Download OHS Risk Register Template

Excel | Word | PDF


What Is Included in a Risk Register?

A risk register is a brief yet informational document that includes many key components that help businesses and individuals identify, assess, and mitigate any risks associated with projects at each phase, from start to finish. These components include the following:

  • Heading and date
  • Project title or ID number
  • Project manager
  • Project category
  • Project impact or risk
  • Risk description
  • Date of risk or impact
  • Risk likelihood
  • Risk owner
  • Risk impact
  • Risk trigger
  • Risk category
  • Risk probability
  • Risk response or action plan
  • Positive and negative response options
  • Alternate response options
  • Cost of action plan
  • Schedule of action plan
  • Risk severity, ranking, and score
  • Mitigation or contingency plan
  • Status of risk (active, not started, ongoing, complete, dormant, retired)

You can include additional components in your risk register as well, such as residual risk, action progress, response effectiveness rating, and threat responses. Often, the risk register is included in a project’s work breakdown structure, a tool that visually breaks down a project into separate deliverables and individual components needed to complete the work. Doing so helps teams gain the most comprehensive sense of what the project entails and how to complete it.


Why Is a Risk Register Necessary?

Using a risk register adds structure and consistency to the project risk management process by having a readily-available document that targets each individual risk before it happens. Both the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and Prince2 state that a risk register template is a key component of any successful project. Additionally, you can review risks at the end of each phase of a project lifecycle and assess how well each risk was handled or how proposed remedies aided in the controlling of the specific risk.

A risk register should be incorporated at the beginning stages of a project planning process. When updated regularly and shared with team members, a risk register serves as a useful tool to manage and reduce the risks associated with any given project.

Additionally, a risk register aids in the business planning of any sort of project by doing the following:

  • Providing a documentation of risk strategies
  • Grading all potential risks
  • Ensuring communication with key stakeholders and senior management, should risks come into effect
  • Identifying mitigation actions required to solve a risk or its impact
  • Forecasting and preparing a strategy for inevitable risks
  • Flagging unidentified risks through open communication and input from team members
  • Instigating actions to reduce probability and potential impact

Although risk register templates are extremely useful for project owners as they work to identify risks and combat them, there are some downfalls in preplanning for risks in such a meticulous way. Sometimes, this can lead to ritualistic decision making and give a false illusion of control over situations. However, not all risks can be foreseen, which can lead to a fallacy of concreteness in project plans. Keep an open mind to ensure these downfalls don’t plague your projects, even as you begin to identify and solve risks before they arise.


Tips For Creating a Risk Register Template

As you create your risk register template for your project, keep these tips in mind to create the most effective, comprehensive documentation of risks.

  • Create the plan when the project is approved as part of the project proposal or brief. Doing so ensures that all potential risks are analyzed and covered within the risk register, which can minimize potential impacts on projects if the risks come to fruition.
  • Include active risks in project status reports to maintain visibility. This keeps all team members and stakeholders on the same page, which ensures transparency.
  • Identify new risks or update risks as the project progresses. Risks can pop up at any time, and keeping your risk register updated throughout the project guarantees that visibility and mitigation strategies will never falter.
  • Assign each risk a separate identification number to ensure continuity and clarity. Performing this step will eliminate any confusion when it comes to each risk and its subsequent mitigation plan, especially for large projects with many potential risks.
  • Define risk impacts and probabilities in a manner that is easy to understand (i.e. low, medium, and high). Streamline risk and impact terminology so all team members and stakeholders understand how a risk could impact a potential project.
  • Review the risk register regularly, especially before progressing to the next phase of the project. This step will ensure that all potential risks are up to date as the goals or targets of the project shift.
  • Do not skip the process of creating a risk register. Risks can happen at any time, and it is important to stay ahead of them and have an action plan in mind.

Seamlessly Update a Risk Register with Smartsheet for Project Management

Creating a risk register before a project begins that identifies, documents, and mitigates risks in a project can eliminate downtime and minimize unneeded costs. However, it’s crucial to provide visibility to key stakeholders and keep the risk register updated as the project progresses.

Smartsheet is a work execution platform that enables enterprises and teams to get from idea to impact — fast. Top project management leaders rely on Smartsheet to help align the right people, resources, and schedules to get work done.

Use Smartsheet to create consistent project elements, increase speed, and improve collaboration with scalable options that fit individual work preferences. Hold yourself and your team accountable, improve visibility into team priorities, and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

project management project portfolio Smartsheet

Discover how Smartsheet can help maximize your project management efforts, today.

Try Smartsheet for Project Management

Discover why over 74,000 brands trust Smartsheet to get work done.

Try Smartsheet for Free