©Outdoor Risk Management
©Avalco Travel 2020

(foto di David Mulero)

Risk Management in the Outdoor Adventure Sports

a big step beyond Safety…

Quoting Kurt Diemberger, “in any endeavour, risk is necessary to achieve the objectives”… on the other hand, there is no adventure without risk. Hence, in the outdoor adventureous sports, risk is something that we desire and seek.

Since more than 20 years, in a number of fields (industry, health care, military…) we see the traditional Safety evolving to Risk Management. This development is of great interest for our segment of adventureous outdoor sports, since the modern Risk Management allows to overcome the limitations typical of traditional Safety (such as: an excess of procedures and interdictions, the almost obsessive focus on human liability rather than the true causes of accidents, a strategy based on building barriers instead of pro-actively handling hazards, a poor effectiveness when facing unforeseen events).

The modern Risk Management also allows to overcome the obvious deficiencies of a “do-it-yourself” practice supported only by experience and lacking a structured methodology.

Risk Management is actually a technical discipline, not a philosophy. It aims at providing knowledge and methods for an independent treatment of risks; namely,  the necessary procedures are estabished internally by one’s own free choice, hence  reducing the need of introducing formal regulations  of external origin.

The goal of modern Risk Management is not indeed to reduce risks, but precisely to manage them. The main objective is to optimize the risk/ benefit ratio of the activity. This allows the amateur sportsmam as well as the practitioner to reach high perfomances yet at a controlled (and accepted) level of risk.

Risk Management produces the  result of reducing the frequency and the severity of accidents. This also reduces the interest of lawmakers to step in the business with new standards and regulations.

The above points explain how Risk Management ultimately leads to the freedom to risk, meant as the unconditional and responsible choice of the risks we want to take and accept in our sport actiivity.

A correct risk management practice is not acquired though experience alone;  specific training  steps are needed. The  process may seem grueling, but is indeed useful for whom wishes to reach the limit of the own’s performances and is essential  for those  (amateurs or practitioners) bearing the responsibility of other people’s safety (such as, for example:  guides and instructors, organizers, leaders of clubs and associations, teachers and coaches, managers of sport facilities).


–> Click HERE to download the RISK MANAGEMENT 2.0 presentation (pdf)

To start a systematic study of Risk Management in the outdoors:

“Libertà di rischiare”
author: Filippo Gamba
Versante Sud Publisher, 2013

READ  “Libertà di rischiare
probably the most complete and accurate book available today on the topic*

-> What is Risk Management ?
-> Why is it essential for those wishing to responsibly carry out their  activity ?
-> What is new and different when compared to traditional Safety ?

This  book provides the answers, and much more.

(*) for the time being only in italian language – an english edition may follow soon

To stay informed on the development in the topic, and learn from case studies (accidents analyzed): follow  @outdoorriskmanagement

(in italian – english translation with google translator online).

For any request of consultancy services, presentations  or training stages on Outdoor Risk Management: contact by email

WARNING: There are organizations or people who propose methods and tools for risk assessment without knowing the conceptual basis of Risk Management. Mistakes are often made due to excessive simplification, or poor understanding of the probabilistic logic, or because the variables involved are considered independent neglecting their correlations. In these cases, the results obtained from the use of the tools offered can be incorrect and leading to wrong decisions, giving an illusory conviction of safety; or, on the opposite, they lead to excessively conservative actions.
As for books and websites on the topic of Outdoor Risk Management: they often limit themselves to the concepts and methods of traditional Safety (SAFETY MANAGEMENT), or provide advice and tools for the general management and organization of the activities, rather than  being focused on RISK MANAGEMENT. The text mentioned above is among the few sources that specifically  deal with Risk Management in the Outdoors with a modern approach and in compliance with the ISO31000 standards, the only  method scientifically valid and internationally recognized by Risk Management professionals.

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