Duty of care for business travellers in recent times has been a key area of consideration for companies to ensure safety of their staff. Factors such as political unrest, pilot strikes, weather disruptions, missing baggage, delayed flights are just a few incidences which most travellers can relate to and have been affected.
So how do companies ensure that their travellers are not adversely affected when these incidences occur? How do they track where their travellers are, as well as being able to maintain communications when they are in need? What assistance can your Travel Management Company (TMC) offer?
To avoid dissolution of working relationship and reducing probable damages incurred at the expense of our staff’s safety, we will explore measures on how companies can meet their Duty of Care obligations.
Employers, have you got your staff fully covered?
How to anticipate foreseeable harm and take ‘reasonable’ countermeasures to prevent it…
It is easy to distinguish negligence in legal terms. However the degree of “reasonable” measure in ensuring the company had taken enough preventive steps for an employee’s safety is a debatable area. Just how much is ‘enough’?
As appointed travel personnel or policy makers in the company, you can rely on the expertise and advice from your TMC. Here are some suggestions that you can consider when drafting a program for your travellers.
Investing in Traveller Tracking Technology
A company can minimize ‘foreseeable harm’ and be always prepared to address sudden situations with the help of traveller tracking technology. FCm offers their FCm Secure tool which is a comprehensive approach to travel risk management that supports an organisation's duty of care obligations. Working with Travel Risk Management (TRM) Intelligence tool iJet, it enables companies to build a TRM program for their specific needs. With FCm Secure, employees travelling can receive relevant real-time alerts and notifications that are dependent on their geographic location. Employers now have a straightforward channel to communicate with their travellers via email or SMS in times of crisis.
Destination Reporting and Assessment
Upon receiving news that travellers might be affected, the traveller tracking tool would report on travellers who are caught up in the area of disruption. These reports contain present-time details on how and where your traveller is being disrupted. You and your travellers would subsequently be contacted and be informed about the situation and ask if any assistance is required.
If you have traveller tracking tool, this enhances the report as you can assess threats to your staff anywhere with advance mapping and thus make informed decisions on your traveller’s trip.
Ensure compliance of mandated hotel and air policies
If you are the policy maker, not only do you have to mandate air and hotel policies but also to communicate to your travellers the consequences of not complying with appointed suppliers. Highlight why booking out of policy would put them at high-risk in times of crisis of being uncontactable. It is also at this point of time to consider arrangement of car transfer or picking a highly secured hotel in a destination that is politically unstable.
Validity of Insurance
Always keep the date of appointment and expiry of your insurance policy so that your company and travellers can be compensated if necessity arises.
Employees, how can you ensure your own safety?
Prevention is better than cure…
Employees, you are a key stakeholder in ensuring your own safety. You should always take the time to review the Duty of Care policy set in your company and equip yourself with knowledge of how to react in times of emergency.
Always be mindful of your belongings and surroundings. Keep a low-profile, even the smallest details like putting a cover on your passport to conceal your citizenship, creating your itinerary and handing it over to your travel manager so they know your schedule and whereabouts to trace you during a crisis. Remember to communicate your change of plans should you have any.
The key for any Duty of Care program to work effectively is when each one of us take ownership. Bon voyage!