ISO 31000 Risk Management

Streamline your risk management strategies and be at par with the ISO 31000:2018 standard

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Published October 16th, 2020

What is ISO 31000 Risk Management?

ISO 31000 is the international standard for risk management originally issued in 2009 by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). It provides a detailed framework for the design, implementation, and maintenance of risk management on a company-wide level.

The ISO 31000 risk management standard can be adopted by organizations of any size and industry but is not used for certification purposes. It only aims to be used as a guide to help businesses compare their practices with a benchmark risk management standard by the ISO.

In this article we will discuss the following:

What is an ISO 31000 Risk Management Checklist?

An ISO 31000 risk management checklist is a tool used to help organizations in identifying, assessing, and controlling threats to build a sound risk management system. It helps assess the framework for the design, implementation, and maintenance of risk management.

What is the ISO 31000 Definition of Risk?

ISO 31000 defines risk as to the effect of uncertainty on objectives. It means that every process has an element of risk that needs to be managed and every result is uncertain. It is defined in goal-oriented terms that provide a conceptual definition of risk.

What is in the updated ISO 31000:2018?

In 2018, the ISO 31000 risk management standards were revised to allow companies more flexibility in implementing the principles in a way that suits their objectives and goals. Here are the four main updates to ISO 31000:2018:

  • Review of the principles of risk management, which are the key criteria for its success
  • Focus on leadership by top management who should ensure that risk management is integrated into all organizational activities, starting with the governance of the organization
  • Greater emphasis on the iterative nature of risk management, drawing on new experiences, knowledge, and analysis for the revision of process elements, actions, and controls at each stage of the process
  • Streamlining of the content with a greater focus on sustaining an open systems model that regularly exchanges feedback with its external environment to fit multiple needs and contexts.

Learn more about the ISO 31000:2018 risk management standards revisions in this PDF.

What are the Five Components of the ISO 31000 Risk Management Framework?

ISO risk management focuses on the best practice principles for implementing, maintaining, and improving a framework for risk management. It has five components including (1) Mandate, (2) Plan, (3) Implement, (4) Check, and (5) Improve. These components help in providing a clear and universally applicable set of guidelines for risk management.

Adopting the new ISO 31000 Risk Management Standard

The latest ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management standard is depicted as a trinity of Principles, Framework, and Processes. These three components come together to ensure:

  • Principles – Sustaining a dynamic and continuously improving risk management system that is customized, innovative, dynamic, structured, and inclusive;
  • Framework – Senior management leads the proactive integration of risk management on all levels of the organization; and
  • Processes – Systematic application of policies and practices that support open communication, consultation, and risk reporting

With ISO 31000:2018’s iterative process to risk management, there will be a need for an organization to continuously report, review, and consider the right action to treat risks. It would be near impossible to successfully implement and sustain the ISO 31000 risk management standard if an organization’s process is heavily dependent on paper-based communication and record keeping.

iAuditor as your Digital Risk Management Tool

Implementing the right software and technology is a critical component of any effective risk management system. An effective risk management tool should be intuitive for users to capture data in a timely manner and powerful enough to capture and analyze quality data.

iAuditor by SafetyCulture is a powerful risk management tool that can transform your paper-based risk assessment into powerful mobile applications. Spend less time on paperwork and data-entry and more time identifying and fixing risks. You can get started by downloading from our free collection of customizable risk audit templates below.


Erick Brent Francisco

SafetyCulture staff writer

As a staff writer for SafetyCulture, Erick is interested in learning and sharing how technology can improve work processes and workplace safety. Prior to SafetyCulture, Erick worked in logistics, banking and financial services, and retail.