Security Risk Analysis and why the Risk Matrix is the incorrect measuring tool.


Adaptation for Security Risk Analysis & Assessment

In South Africa, Health & Safety unfortunately have a negative impact on security, partly because the Security Manager often also serves as the Health & Safety Officer. In some cases, one person may fill not only these roles but also those of the Building Manager and the Emergency Planning Coordinator.

Health and safety

Because Health & Safety are governed by law while security is not, the latter is often neglected. Many assessors use a grading system adapted from Health & Safety protocols when conducting physical security risk analyses.

Unfortunately, this approach to security risk Assessment is not very accurate, objective or successful. Although there are those that strongly oppose our viewpoint, through experience we have been able to determine that this is indeed the case.


Health & Safety focuses on probability, but the independent Security Risk Consultant assesses the opportunities created within the security system for potential crimes. The independent assessor considers a risk as a risk, and thus, it cannot be graded; this forms the basis of the security risk analysis.

Approaching the Physical Security Risk Analysis by grade is inaccurate

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Time and time again, we have received calls to reassess the risk and security of companies or homes that previously underwent this type of evaluation and subsequently became targets of criminal attacks.

Furthermore, an overwhelming number of these incidents occurred in areas initially rated as 1 on the security risk analysis scale.

This suggests that evaluators deemed these specific areas or points to have little to no risk.

The low scores led to neglecting these points in the security system, as decision-makers deemed them unnecessary for further attention, upgrades, or additional preventive measures. These areas were not even included or addressed in the Security Plan because decision-makers perceived them as unnecessary.

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Direct Overflow from Health & Safety Practice

A particular incident involved a popular and busy restaurant that had had a security risk analysis conducted in this manner. Read more on our case studies. 

In the initial Security Risk assessment,. The back door leading to an enclosed alley, where refuse and soiled foods were stored, received a ‘1’ rating. Everyone generally avoided this area due to the unpleasant odors emanating from the alley.

However, the Security Plan for the restaurant did not include any security upgrades for this door or the alley. A few months later, a criminal used this exact door as an entry point during an attack.


The thief waited in the alley for hours to catch the management off guard when most staff had left for home.

Observing for several days helped the criminal determine the best time to commit the crime for maximum profit. The original security risk analysis focused solely on the building’s hardware and structure, neglecting the human element.

Management Negligence

Management’s unintended negligence and lack of Security Awareness left them severely impacted by this incident.

The stolen items included all the weekly takings and the staff wages, which the restaurant was supposed to pay the next day.

Realizing the initial security risk analysis was wrong, and fearing future attacks. The restaurant requested an independent assessment to appraise and secure their properties effectively.

By Andre Mundell Physical security risk Assessor and consultant Alwinco.

Pretoria, Johannesburg, Country View, Morningside, Centurion, Fichardt Park, Durban, and Cape Town are just a few of the many South African cities covered by our independent security consultants.

Security Risk in the Workplace

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Written by Andre Mundell

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