We conduct in-depth security surveys and vulnerability assessments, identify liabilities and recommend measures that will ensure the security and safety of properties, human assets, assets, information and reputation.
Travel risk management vs duty of care
Within the topic of corporate travel safety there are a lot of very similar terms thrown around, Let’s quickly clear up some confusion around the terms ‘duty of care’ and ‘travel risk management’. Often the two are used interchangeably, which is incorrect.
Duty of care is a company’s moral and legal obligation to keep its employees safe. It obliges companies to take responsibility for the health, safety, and security of their employees, whether they’re in the office or away on a business trip.
On the other hand, travel risk management is the strategy that fulfills that obligation. It’s the action plan that provides the care that companies have a duty to give.
In short, the difference lies in what companies need to do in order to ensure the safety of their employees versus how they’re going to do it.
What are some safety risks to consider while traveling for work?
If your employees often travel to different parts of the world, here are some potential risks you might consider:
Political instability can affect travel plans and put travelers in jeopardy. 2019 saw mass protests taking place in countries ranging from France and Spain in Europe, to Hong Kong and India in Asia; from Chile, Colombia and Bolivia in Latin America to Lebanon, Iran and Iraq in the Middle East.
Business travel to and within areas that are politically unstable needs careful planning, based on up-to-date advice and information. Take a look at the UK government website, which publishes travel advice for all countries—there’s sections on safety and security, as well as the terrorism threat level. It’s a good resource for pre-work trip research for employers and employees alike.
Sanitation and health
65% of senior executive travellers reported they had experienced medical concerns abroad. While you often can’t predict health issues, you can plan how to manage them in advance.There are a number of health-related considerations to be aware of while traveling, including:
- The availability of healthcare—make sure your travelers know where they can get medical support *before* they need it.
- Food and water safety—whilst working abroad is a great way to gain new experiences and perhaps taste new food and drink, it’s worth remembering that some parts of the world might not have the same hygiene standards as at home. Traveler’s can reduce their risk of stomach upsets by sticking to safe eating and drinking habits. Although tempting, travelers should steer clear of street food. Similarly, opt for bottled water instead of tap water.
- Health threats and diseases—traveler’s will need to complete any necessary vaccination courses for the country prior to traveling.
Fortunately, not all duty of care concerns involves life or death circumstances. Employers may also want to consider their travelers´ overall health and wellness. Frequent flying may seem glamorous, but sometimes the cost to mental and physical wellbeing can be too much. To mitigate this, a company’s duty-of-care obligations should incorporate wellbeing practices—for example, looking for hotels that offer fitness or healthy menus.
After a long day of traveling, you may feel tired and dirty, so the first thing on your mind is likely to be freshening up or getting some sleep at your hotel. However, this is not the time to let your guard down.
Hotels can be hotspots for thieves. To ensure your safety wherever you’re staying, whether it’s a hotel or an AirBnb, you need to be prepared. Here are a few key safety tips:
- Research where you are staying—know what the security measures are, such as whether the front desk is staffed 24 hours a day. Use Google Street View to survey the surrounding area.
- Do not book a room on the ground floor—these rooms are more susceptible to break-ins.
- When you’re out and about, place the ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door. This way, it looks like you’re still in the room. By doing this, you’re decreasing the likelihood of an opportunistic theft.
- Know your emergency exit plan—this might be one of the most important tips. As soon as you arrive at your room, spend a few minutes getting to grips with the emergency exit map and determine where they are located.
A company’s duty-of-care obligations should not only cover its employees. It also extends to third-party contractors and other people the organization has responsibilities toward. In addition, a third-party contractor can pose new risk elements, will they expose traveling staff to security risks?
Either only using trusted parties from an approved list or thorough audits of third parties, especially overseas, is recommended.
Female traveler safety
While safety is paramount for anyone on the road, female business travelers are more likely to face risks than their male counterparts. According to a 2018 report released by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and AIG, 83% of women have had concerns about their safety while on a business trip in the previous year.
In spite of this, only 18% of travel policies specifically address female safety. It can be a delicate issue for businesses, but in order to properly uphold their duty of care requirements, they need to ensure that their female employees are alert to the unique challenges they may encounter whilst traveling for work.