Businesses that wish to develop a global footprint often send their employees to new and unfamiliar locations where their employees sometimes encounter situations where their health, safety and security may be at risk. Keeping the increase in terror threats, disease, aircraft accidents and natural disasters in mind, what are an employer’s legal responsibilities when it comes to sending their staff abroad?
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 employers have a legal duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all their employees. This includes, any agency, temporary or sub-contracted staff that may be working on behalf of the Company.
Furthermore, all employers have a Common Law duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure they take care of their employees and in doing so prevent any foreseeable injury, disease or death.
Remember also that the law does not just apply to the destination working environments. It could also apply to actions or inactions of a Company if they fail to assess fully travel arrangements.
So what steps can an employer take to mitigate your risks?
- Implement an effective travel safety and security policy. This will establish clear rules and levels of authority for approving work abroad
- Undertake individual risk assessments and complete full travel plans.
- Ensure that appropriate medical vaccinations programmes are completed not just for the destination country, but any countries enroute where there is a required stopover.
- Provide training to all workers travelling abroad on their specific risk assessments and emergency procedures. Make sure they understand their responsibilities also. If the risk is high then be prepared to allow them to make a decision not to go. Also ensure they understand that they always have the right to say NO to any practices which they believe to be unsafe whilst working overseas.
- Make sure that your employees always have Senior Management support
- Ensure there is a Crisis Management Team in place who are well trained to respond to any incident. This means having an up to date Crisis Management Plan
- Ensure your travel insurance is robust enough for all considered eventualities as well as evacuation
Track and communicate
As an employer, it is also necessary to establish a mechanism in which you can track and locate each employee at any given time. Being in constant contact with your employees working abroad will minimise risks and keep you informed of any developing situation.
Everyday there is something happening somewhere in the world that may put a company’s employees working abroad at risk. Going through the above will enhance safety and security for your employees and ensure efficient and effective systems are in place to manage any incident or crisis.
If you need to discuss travel safety and security please contact us on 08450 519389 or follow this link: