Due Diligence and Risk Timelines

October 11, 2021

When you know there are problems but have insufficient resources to fix them all at once…

During a recent discussion with a client, the topic of risk timelines came up and I realised that although we use it as a background concept in much of our work we haven’t articulated it in our textbooks or previous blogs.

The idea of a risk timeline approach recognises that you can’t do everything all at once because there are always constraints – time, people and resources.

Unless the situation is prohibitively dangerous for a critically exposed group (in which case the activity needs to be stopped and addressed immediately) then a risk timeline approach can be used.

Contemporary WHS/OHS legislation requires risks be eliminated so far as is reasonably practicable, and if they can’t be eliminated, reduced SFAIRP.  


This means that the focus of a risk timeline argument is always on solutions.


A risk timeline argument includes:

  • A program to address each particular issue of concern over a specified timeframe
  • A list of prioritised works; we at R2A would suggest based on safety criticality first
  • Categorisation of potential controls in terms of short, medium and long term SFAIRP solutions or options
  • Identification and recognition of opportunities to address known issues of concern during other works especially major upgrades.

The key of a risk timeline argument, however, is to make sure that:

  • funding is available to start the program,
  • works are underway, and that there is
  • a realistic, believable program in place to achieve the desired results.

The management of credible critical issues of concern, even if rare, cannot be deferred indefinitely.


If you'd like to discuss risk timelines for your due diligence project, please contact us.

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