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Does your business need to review its approach to duty of care?

Does your business need to review its approach to duty of care?

If your employees travel on business, you have a legal and moral obligation to consider their health, safety and well-being whether they’re in the UK or abroad. Unfortunate events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis or health issues, combined with the increased threat of terrorism is making many businesses pay much more attention to how they look after their employees wherever they are in the world. Even so, 60% of SME travel managers surveyed in 2016* reported that they had no such plans in place

Can you quickly locate all your current travellers?

If you need to locate your business travellers instantly, how do you do it? For example, if there is an incident, you’ll want to check if any of your travellers were in the area at the time. If this is not an easy thing for you to accomplish, you will need to introduce a process that allows you to do so.

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For many businesses this is where a good Travel Management Company (TMC) will help. By making all bookings through a single TMC, you’ll have access to reports telling you which travellers are where at any given time, and depending on the solutions offered by the TMC, you may also have the option to view this information in real time on a map. If you don’t currently use a TMC and don’t have an automated way of recording all trips, you can’t be sure you have a record of all traveller locations. Even if you do this manually, there is still the risk of human error that a trip won’t be recorded.

Does your company understand its duty of care obligations?

Does your company have a duty of care policy? Are duty of care obligations understood by senior management and line managers? If not, this needs to be addressed immediately.

Despite much press attention, some travel managers still report that lack of senior level buy in is making it hard for them to implement a robust travel risk strategy. To win them over, consider what travel related risks your travellers and company faces and determine the implications if any of them were to occur. Remember this is not just about how a risk impacts the traveller, but also how it will impact the business too. Some risks will have minor consequences whereas others could have a huge detrimental effect to people, productivity, profits and reputation. Present this information to senior management as a presentation or report so they can really understand why it’s so important.

Do you have procedures covering health, safety and security of employees while travelling?

If you’ve got a duty of care policy, that’s a great start, but have you determined the correct procedures to minimise risk both before and during a trip? How do you know if a traveller needs to visit a high risk destination? How do you risk assess all business trips?

How do educate employees of these risks and take action to mitigate them? If something does go wrong while an employee is travelling on business, how will you handle the situation?

If you use a Travel Management Company, they will be able to help you implement a travel risk policy and the processes required to ensure it is followed. If you're not using a TMC, think about how you will respond if an employee needs your urgent support.

Are you able to contact all travelling employees in the event of an emergency?

If you need to contact a traveller urgently due to an emergency, would you be able to? Ideally, a traveller’s current contact information will be stored in a traveller profile along with details of their next of kin. Of course, a traveller profile is only useful if it’s up to date, so it’s important travellers maintain them and update them promptly if their details change. Unfortunately, mobile phones aren’t available 100% of the time, due to reception or battery issues, so you should have contact information for the traveller’s hotel/business locations too, this way you can reach them if their mobile phone isn’t working.

Guide to Managing Business Travel Risk and Duty of Care for SMEs & Personal Assistants

About Kevin Harrison

Kevin is our managing director and business travel veteran! Kevin has worked within the industry for over 30 years and spent 20 of those at one of the UK’s largest travel management companies. Kevin leads a dedicated and passionate team who strive to make a difference to our customers’ businesses by improving their approach to corporate travel.
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