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Terrain and Risk Assessments

When working within difficult or remote areas it is incredibly important to assess the terrain and the potential risks of completing work within these types of environments. In order to do so successfully, it’s best practice to incorporate terrain risk assessments within project planning. By doing so, the project management team can integrate the required measures and mitigation controls into the project scope.

A Terrain assessment is a detailed work site risk analysis that identifies hazards and risk areas that will be used to access and complete the required work on a particular project. The primary objective of completing detailed terrain risk assessments include:

  • Assessing the terrain for access, egress, and risk areas on the work site
  • Recommending the safest options for access and egress routes to and from the work site
  • Recommending risk management techniques and safe work procedures for operations
  • Provide a broad scope incident response plan for access, egress, and work performed on the job


Global Mountain Solutions classifies terrain using both industrial and recreational scales in order to provide the clearest picture of the landscape that operations will be completed in. Industrial terrain classification provides a framework for identifying varying degrees of risk associated with terrain, mountain conditions, and work completed within it. This framework assists with the evaluation and implementation of risk measures in industrial mountainous and/or difficult terrained operations. 

These classifications change as a result of the magnitude of factors such as slope, steepness, surface cover, vegetation growth, snowpack, daylight, rock quality, fall hazard potential, weather, temperature, water, snow, ice, repeated use, and other factors. 

Hazard identification and risk assessments for mountainous and/or difficult terrained operations is completed in three successive steps. First, an initial terrain assessment is conducted that includes standard scouting that identifies significant amounts of terrain of class III or higher. The secondary assessment will outline general hazards, recommendations, and mitigation techniques for the project, this assessment is completed by GMS mountain professionals.

Throughout the years, GMS has developed innovative approaches to assessing terrain and risks for difficult operations that have been proven to increase team’s safety and reduce overall project costs.