Events abroad such as the Algerian hostage crisis, the Kenyan shopping mall attacks and most recently Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines have shocked us all. Alongside the human impact and devastation, these events serve as a reminder of the need to ensure plans are in place to protect the welfare of employees working overseas.
UK employers have a legal requirement to protect their employees due to Health and Safety legislation and, more recently, the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007, but still many companies are falling short when it comes to implementing a robust Duty of Care strategy. On a moral level, it should be top of the agenda for all businesses, but it is also significant from a legal point of view; senior management is viewed as liable for any negligence in process, in respect of an organisation’s Duty of Care towards their employees.
Growing markets throughout the world present exciting business opportunities as well as increasing health and security risks, and forward-thinking organisations will consider and plan for all eventualities – no matter how extreme. Natural disasters, civil unrest, terrorist attacks; these are all events that can occur with little or no prior warning, whatever the country. No corner of the globe is free from risk. The recent Cyclone Cleopatra that ravaged the relatively ‘safe’ shores of Sardinia is a case in point.
So how do employers equip their staff with the tools to protect themselves when faced with a crisis abroad?
Ensuring that they have real-time information and intelligence at their disposal, before and during their journeys, is a start. In this ever-connected world, there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the expertise available. Smartphone technology has transformed the travel risk management landscape. It gives employees instant access to up-to-the-minute data that will help them make informed choices about their movements and, if necessary, instantly request for the assistance of security personnel or medical teams.
Implementing a robust travel risk management strategy has the potential to save lives. That fact alone should encourage those in charge of protecting the welfare of employees, to consider using assistance and intelligence services. Of course, no strategy is capable of preventing disasters from occurring, but there’s no excuse for not allowing employees to be prepared if disaster does strike.
This blog post was written for the Business Travel Show blog by Tim Edwards at AXA Assistance UK. Tim is Business Development Manager for the Corporate Mobility and Travel Risk Management product that AXA Assistance offers. For more information: www.axa-assistance.co.uk/intelligo