ISO 31031 - Risk Management for Youth and School Trips

Why ISO 31031?

Each year millions of young people around the world take part in school trips (day trips or excursions that see the group staying one or more nights), for educational field research, sports events, church activities, training, and so forth - domestically and increasingly travelling internationally with their classes, teams or other special interest groups.

As the volume and complexity of organizational needs required constantly increases, both for the groups planning and travelling and for the tourism organizations hosting these groups, so too do the potential risks and hazards associated with these trips. While it is true that risks like vehicular accidents or natural disasters are hard to predict, many risks are avoidable if appropriate checks are carried out. Our recent empirical research indicates that many travelling school children do sustain injuries, harm and even fatalities during their trips.  Many of these injuries and fatalities are a result of lack of knowledge or carelessness which could and should have been mitigated with more careful planning.

A new member of ISO 31000 family

This document will provide guidance for managing risk for youth and school trips for both domestic and international travel with specific attention to minors due to their particular vulnerabilities.  It will cover trips of any duration from day trips visiting local points of interest to months-long trips to other continents.  These trips can be for purposes such as excursions, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous or cultural activities undertaken for educational, research, training, or recreational purposes; the standard will cover any sort of travel under the auspices of an organization, be it one person travelling for an internship or dozens travelling for a sporting match.  The standard will cover not just the physical movement from location to location of travel but also the events and activities associated with the aim of the trip at the destination.

The document will provide good practices to address typical risks arising from activities related to travel. It will also include guidelines for creating an emergency response plan.

The standard will benefit both the travellers themselves and the organizations that serve them by covering:

•  safety and security of groups of young people travelling (specifically but not limited to school groups);

•  risk management and guidance for duty of care, including safeguarding, for organizations such as educational institutions or other organizations involved with youth, as well as tourist attractions, tour operators, service providers, and recreational activities, etc.

This document will provide a structured approach to the development of a framework for:

•  clarifying the context of the organization implementing the travel;

•  handling the specific requirements of minors and young adults;

•  managing, assessing, and treating travel risk.

This standard is not intended to cover situations such as minors travelling with their families.  As well, it will not include how to organize such trips and it will not be limited to adventure travel. Additionally, virtual travel will not be specifically covered by the standard.

The expected date of publication is June 2024.

Key ISO and other reference documents

The workgroup experts developing ISO 31031 can count on a corpus of pertinent material.  The main documents would be:

  • ISO 31030: Travel risk management — Guidance for organizations, published September 2021, which has established the foundations of travel risk management
  • BS 8848: Specification for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the United Kingdom

Other key resources will be ISO 21101: Adventure Tourism - Safety Management Systems - A Practical Guide for SMES, as well as many national documents (material from in France, and a 40-page guideline document for teachers organizing school trips and excursions in Germany, prepared by the Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (German Statutory Accident Insurance association), in addition to assistance offered by many national standards organizations).


The following members have delegated experts, document monitors, and observers: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States.

As well, WG 9 can count on the support of two level C liaisons at the Working Group Level: International SOS Foundation and Plan International.

Picture Joel Marier

Joël Marier from Canada acts as convenor of Work Group 9.