If you have employees who travel as part of their job, your business has a duty to safeguard them when on the road.
When on the road both domestically and abroad, accidents and other unforeseen events can occur that can put your employee at risk … from a bush crash in a Madrid to coming down with severe gastrointestinal pains in Mumbai.
Meanwhile, political risk is increasing daily, and so is the threat of terrorism, as evidenced by the spate of incidents in Paris, Brussels and San Bernardino.
The duty of care is on the part of the employer that sends its workers on business trips domestically and overseas. They need to ensure that their employees are prepared, trained and safe for these travel assignments.
You can follow these tips to protect your road warriors, which were outlined in a white paper on the subject by Lisbeth Claus, professor of global human resources at Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management in Portland, Oregon:
Implement a travel management plan – If you are sending an employee to a new destination, particularly one that may be considered high risk, you should consider giving them a security briefing before they leave. They should be given information on the dangers that they may face in a particular location – from pickpockets and muggings in some large U.S. cities, to kidnapping in South America by a hood masquerading as a taxi driver.
The plan should cover the following areas:
• Awareness of potential dangers – The employee should be given information on the dangers of the location that he or she is traveling to. Risks vary from location to location, including terrorism or food-borne illnesses.
• Don’t have a routine – This is especially true in countries where crime and kidnappings are rampant. It’s recommended by security experts that employees on temporary or long-term assignments abroad don’t do the same thing every day. They can take a different route to their work site every day, visit different lunch places and take a taxi one day and a bus another.
• Don’t draw attention to yourself – Advise your traveling employees to keep a low profile. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or watches or any items with American flags on them. It’s best not to stand out, and they should try to dress like others do in the area to the best extent possible.
• Stay in touch – You should require that employees traveling in new places check in with a designated company contact on a daily basis, preferably in the morning and upon returning to the hotel in the evening.
• Think security – There are many simple things a traveling employee can do when on the road to increase their protection, from not straying off main streets at night or in unknown parts of town, to using the deadbolt and swing lock on their hotel doors at all times.
Essentially, you need to:
• Assess risks – Understand dangers at locations where employees will be assigned or will visit most frequently. Analyze how job functions expose workers to risks.
• Plan – Determine if your organization is meeting its duty-of-care obligations. Create policies and find resources necessary to meet these obligations.
• Train – Educate employees about travel dangers and how to react to emergencies while abroad.
• Track – Know where each employee will be at any given time.
• Assist – Establish a mechanism to communicate with employees at any time and to provide assistance as needed.
Even if you take precautions, there is still a chance that something can go wrong. That’s why there is kidnapping, ransom and extortion insurance for traveling workers.
You can also purchase a security evacuation and pandemic disease rider to attach to that type of policy.
Other available coverages include:
• Foreign voluntary workers’ compensation insurance
• Global medical assistance services
Finally, many insurance companies and brokers have also created country and city risk ratings, which are available on line. They are worth a look if you have traveling workers.