An Introduction to ISO 31000 Risk Management

Discover the details about the ISO 31000 risk management process, why organizations need to be certified, and how to monitor its implementation within an organization.

managers conducting ISO 31000 risk management planning

Published 9 Sep 2022

What is ISO 31000:2018?

ISO 31000 is a family of standards that pertain to risk management within an organization. These are the international standards that outline a generic approach to risk management, which organizations can use as a launching point.

There are many problems that organizations deal with on a daily basis such as looking to assess and improve different processes to boost productivity and efficiency. On top of that, they also have to deal with numerous risks that can vary depending on their industry.

The ISO 31000 risk management standard is designed to give organizations a framework when tackling the risks that they and their employees face throughout their operations.

The Importance of Getting Certified

Any organization, regardless of the industry, is exposed to significant risks. And when conducting operations, it’s important for the organization to identify the risks, mitigate them, and manage the ones inherent to the industry. This is to ensure that all employees are safe throughout operations and that the organization remains productive and efficient.

Getting an ISO 31000 risk management certification shows that an organization has done the appropriate steps in identifying and managing the risks that employees face during operations. It also indicates that you are capable of helping other organizations identify risks and establish their risk management plan and process.

The risks that employees and businesses face in their operations could result in accidents and injuries and even hinder productivity. By taking the time and putting in the effort to manage these risks, organizations won’t just be able to improve employee safety; they will also be able to boost efficiency and productivity.

What is the ISO 31000 Risk Management Process?

The ISO 31000 provides a general approach to risk management for all businesses and industries. So, while organizations may use this as a framework for their risk management process, it’s important to understand that you may have to add or tweak the framework a bit to better cover the needs of your business.

That said, the ISO 31000 Risk Management Standard does contain all the steps necessary in an effective risk management strategy. These steps include:

Identification

To start the process, organizations must first identify which risks are present throughout their operations. This involves identifying hazards, safety concerns, and other factors that may hinder a business from achieving its safety and productivity goals. During this step, it’s crucial for inspectors to cover all bases and ensure that there are no risks that remain unidentified.

Analysis

After determining the different risks present throughout the organization, the team must analyze them. During this phase, they can identify the sources, causes of certain risks, and the probability of accidents even with the current control measures; and establish the specific risk level that employees and organizations face.

Evaluation

The next step is evaluating if the risk analysis results show that the residual risks of the processes are tolerable within the organization. These results are compared to specific risk criteria in this phase.

Treatment

This involves placing controls and measures to reduce and manage the risk within an organization. The goal of this phase is to decrease the likelihood of certain risks down to a point where the organization reaps the ideal net benefits.

Establishing Context

This phase was recently added to the standard and involves establishing the assessment’s scope, defining the objectives, and establishing the criteria for risk evaluation. During this phase, it’s important to consider external and internal elements to ensure a comprehensive risk management process.

Monitoring and Review

This involves reviewing the overall risk management process and comparing performance against certain indicators. This is to determine whether the risk management process is still appropriate and relevant. If there are any lapses found in the process, it’s important to take steps to correct that to set the organization on the right path.

Communication and Consultation

This is one of the most important phases of the risk management process. It involves regular and proper communication between all interested parties to ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of the organization’s risk management process.

How Do You Monitor ISO 31000 Implementation?

Properly implementing ISO 31000 requires an organization-wide effort. To start, you need an effective risk management strategy and protocol. From there, it’s important to educate and communicate the strategy to everyone within the organization, establishing proper safety habits and sustainable culture of safety.

To effectively implement ISO 31000 risk management standards, it’s important to constantly review and monitor the risk management controls in place. From there, the organization should prioritize finding ways to further improve its risk management strategies to improve the overall safety of the organization. 

FAQs about ISO 31000 Risk Management

The current standards under ISO 31000 include:

  • ISO 31000:2018
  • ISO 31004:2013
  • ISO 31010:2019
  • ISO 31022:2020
  • ISO 31030:2021
  • IWA 31:2020.

All these standards deal with risk management strategies, establishing guidelines that organizations may follow.

The core principles under ISO 31000 include:

  • promoting inclusivity
  • being dynamic
  • finding the best available information
  • identifying human factors
  • integrating across all organizational activities; and
  • customizing the process based on the ISO 31000 standard, the organization’s goals, and its industry.

ISO 31000 establishes a solid foundation upon which organizations can build their risk management strategy. Through ISO 31000, organizations can manage and identify certain risks that employees face, improving productivity and overall safety.

SafetyCulture staff writer

Leon Altomonte

Leon Altomonte is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He got into content writing while taking up a language degree and has written copy for various web pages and blogs. Aside from working as a freelance writer, Leon is also a musician who spends most of his free time playing gigs and at the studio.

Leon Altomonte is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He got into content writing while taking up a language degree and has written copy for various web pages and blogs. Aside from working as a freelance writer, Leon is also a musician who spends most of his free time playing gigs and at the studio.