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SMEs / Beginner's guide to...

duty of care Duty of care legislation is a legal and moral obligation for all companies, but smaller companies can struggle for the resources to fully address it Terror attacks and natural disasters are the sort of incidents that grab corporates’ attention, but companies are also responsible for protecting their business travellers from more mundane and every day threats such as illness, injury, crime and even lost passports, and assisting them when things do go wrong. “Being prepared for any incident, any problem and any emergency is essential for protecting a company’s reputation and staff morale,” says Edel Doherty, Managing Director at Belfast-based Beyond Business Travel. “Duty of care extends beyond headline incidents; employers must also consider travel details that can improve employee wellbeing, like making sure they don’t have to drive after a long-haul flight.” The groundwork should begin with getting the right procedures and policies in place, even before an itinerary is booked. Be prepared “A solid risk management programme goes far beyond considering how to deal with an incident should it happen,” says Matthew Judge, Group Managing Director, Anvil Group. “It needs to encompass both proactive and reactive measures and needs to start well before a journey has even been booked.” Judge says businesses must have procedures and documentation for identifying potential hazards in a particular destination or country and decide on the level of risk and suggest steps to mitigate and control it. Once an employee has embarked on their travels their employer must be able to locate and communicate with them at any given time. This can be done with automated

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traveller tracking systems that incorporate itineraries, allowing companies to identify staff who might be affected by an incident. In extreme circumstances, companies might consider GPS-based traveller tracking and request travellers ‘check-in’ at certain times. Staying in touch “Keeping in touch with your employees is paramount to ensuring their safety. Constant communication means employees can be accurately accounted for in the event of a security or medical issue,” says James Wood, Security Expert, International SOS & Control Risks. “Employers need to have instant access to their employee’s flight, hotel and contact information to be able to provide and realtime advice to keep their employees safe.” Finally, don’t think the work is over once your employee returns home, says Anvil’s Judge. “After a trip it’s important that you also have a way to gather feedback to constantly review your programmes and policies and ensure they’re fit for purpose.”

[ assess your plan ] Is your travel risk management up to scratch? Ask yourself these questions, courtesy of Matthew Judge, Group Managing Director, Anvil Group. If your answers are ‘yes’, then you’re good to go. • Do you have clear policies and procedures relating to travel (from a health, safety and security perspective) that are communicated and adhered to by all? • Are all of your travellers provided with the necessary pre-travel training and relevant briefings to empower them as individuals? • Do you have a process for controlling travel to higher-risk regions? • In the event of a safety, security or health incident, can you locate and communicate with travellers to offer support? • Do you have a robust incident/crisis management plan? Is this regularly tested? • Do you have trust in all parties in your chain, both internal and external?

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Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

The Business Travel Magazine October/November 2018  

The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...

The Business Travel Magazine October/November 2018  

The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...