Risk Management Matrix®

The Risk Management Matrix® began as an informal body of knowledge based on the combined documented experience of over 100,000 hrs of swiftwater experience of Jim Segerstrom (since 1984) and Jim Lavalley (since 1988), including their research and experience as international, court recognized subject matter experts, in court cases they on worked together, regarding fatal accidents in this environment and the resulting coroner inquiries and civil litigations.

In many of these cases, there were no standards or regulations in place regarding Standard of Care and it had to be created case by case, based on the record of performance of rational, objective and successful persons operating in similar situations (mandate, tasks and environment).

In 2002 Jim Lavalley began to formalize and structure this research and evidence based, body on knowledge into the objective, Risk Management Matrix®.

For example, environmental matrices rank risks into four objective levels:

  • low
  • moderate
  • high
  • extreme

as applied to the survivality in specific environment of

  • an untrained, healthy adult
  • a trained, experienced and equipped expert, in the land, water and aerial environments.

For example the water environment has matrices for rivers, flood, surf and storm surge.

Regarding rivers, the IRIA Matrix is based on nineteen objective criteria, in both scope and frequency, in four levels of risk, which can be applied all people/organizations operating in this environment.

The international river classification system developed as a guideline for canoeists and kayakers is based on two subjective factors in six levels of difficulty.

Both systems certainly have their place, however in some applications (in court and in developing professional standards) objective, evidence based criteria has shown to have some advantages over subject, opinion based guidelines.

The IRIA Risk Management Matrix® is the foundation of the IRIA professional Standards.