Organisations have a responsibility to protect their mobile workforce as much as reasonably possible through Duty of Care.
People working away from home can be from a variety of backgrounds. They may be long or short-term employees, volunteers, aid workers, contractors or family members. The person may be travelling on a short or a long trip to one of multiple countries, or even within their own country. They may even have an expatriate assignment or posting. In all cases, the person is an employee sent elsewhere by their employer for work.
The person may go to locations ranging from relatively safe to high-risk. Note that a relatively safe destination can rapidly degenerate into a high-risk destination due to health, safety, security, political or social reasons, or natural disasters.
Mobility is increasing due to globalisation, new markets and the need for services. Employers therefore should ensure adequate health, safety, security and legal protection for their employees on international or remote travel assignments for the following reasons:
Prevention, response to, and mitigation of incidents reduces costly interruptions to business activities, improves morale and strengthens productivity.
The adequate management of risk during an incident may allow for the continuation of activities or the development of new opportunities, which could have otherwise been lost.
Meeting these responsibilities can mean a positive return on investment.
This protection is an important part of corporate social responsibility.
It is important to ensure that protection typically required domestically under national occupational safety and health legislation is offered to those working abroad, in order to comply to legal legislation and avoid litigation costs.
An initial step is for a company or organisation to create and agree upon important competencies for protecting the health, safety, security and legal status of international or remote assignees and travellers. Ownership and implementation of these competencies is a core executive responsibility.
Here is a practical checklist created by the International SOS Foundation: