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Defining risk managment

You have now explored the advantages of systematic risk management and listed for yourself the possible results of poor management in this section you will discover how effective management is achieved?

BS ISO 31000 Risk Management Guidelines defines risk management as:

‘coordinated activities to direct and control an organisation with regard to risk.’ (BSI 2018)

But of course it is much more than that.

The standard goes on to describe a three stage model for risk management.

  1. Risk Principles

  2. Leadership and Commitment

  3. Risk Management Process.


In terms of managing emergency risk we are going to focus on the process as indicated below,


This model establishes a three stage process of establishing the risk context, through a consultative process, identifying and assessing the nature of the risk including an impact and likelihood analysis, evaluating and prioritising risk for action and finally treating the risk including a process of monitoring and review that completes the loop.

It could be argued that in risk critical situations there is very often not enough time to conduct such a structured and rigorous approach. But as we shall see the principles involved can be applied in dynamic situations and are applicable for emergency risk management at all levels.

Further reading

The Cullen report into the Piper Alpha oil platform disaster made significant and wide ranging recommendations not just for the oil and gas industry but for all risk critical operations. There is much that can be learned from this case study to help us understand how the ISO31000 process of risk management can help reduce exposure.

Lavelette M., Wright C. (1991) The Cullen Report - Making the North Sea Safe, Critical Social Policy 11 (31) 60-71 [online] available from

Miller K. (1991) Piper Alpha and the Cullen Report, Industrial Law Journal 20 (3) 176-187 [online] available from

Jeffrey K. (2013) Review: Lord Cullen - what have we learned from Piper Alpha? Finding Petroleum [online] available from Piper_Alpha/044b5113.aspx


The British Standards Institute (2018) Risk Management - Guidelines [online] available from

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This article is from the free online course:

Managing Risk in an Emergency Context

Coventry University

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