Duty of care requirements put the onus firmly on employers to ensure they are providing appropriate training, briefings and safety measures for employees overseas.
Employers should look to specialist third party providers for integrated pre-deployment services that encompass everything from basic security awareness e-learning, employee route recommendations and detailed journey plans, to information on location-specific medical care and the prevalence of terrorism, civil unrest or piracy. Employees should, where relevant, be trained to cope in challenging environments.
Whilst pre-travel planning and research can help determine if it is safe to travel and what mitigation measures are commensurate to the threat, technology solutions can help augment duty of care once personnel are in-country and employers should harness the right technology to protect their employees.
A GPS tracker may be seen by some as ‘big brother’, but users maintain their ability, through the device, to regulate an employer’s knowledge of their location. The availability of itinerary travel tracking and regular mobile app check-ins means that a tracking device such as a satellite tracker (which frequently pushes out its position) needs only to be considered for higher risk travel or travel to countries where communication systems are poor or impacted by a natural disaster.
Travellers to high-risk destinations or individuals considered at high risk of an attack can benefit from wearing a tracker that constantly sends back their location and has an SOS capability. This can reassure travellers and enable them to continue their work.
In high-risk countries, communication systems can be unreliable and GPS may be the only way of ensuring that someone back at the office is aware of their team’s movements and can pick up quickly if they have strayed from a geo-fenced area, proposed route or plan. Early identification of unexpected activity could save a life.
Remember that personnel tracking needs to be part of a comprehensive and secure risk management platform that operates an 'opt in' tracking facility and delivers not just real-time situational awareness of staff, assets and facilities in a single display, but also 24/7 intelligence about political and civil unrest, terrorism and armed conflict, piracy and maritime incidents, health risks, severe weather warnings and more. All this should be complemented by integrated emergency medical and security responses and tailored to employee locations and client needs.
If an emergency does occur, fragmented medical and security assistance supply chains will complicate and delay employee access to life-saving information and emergency responses. Seamless support via a single contact point will best help organisations to operate efficiently in risky areas.
We’re finding that the appetite for one-stop security and medical risk management, tracking and emergency responses for employees abroad is growing. It now extends well beyond the (traditionally risk-prone) oil and gas sector, to, among others, the corporate, shipping, NGO, media and academic fields.
This post was written by Chris Knight, Head of Corporate Services for CEGA, and Emily Roberts, Head of Business Development for Solace Global. CEGA and Solace are exhibiting their one-source medical and security assistance service, INtrinsic, at the Business Travel Show in February, Stand B251. Travel bookers, buyers and managers can register for a free pass.