It is a phrase that is often banded about especially by travel companies but what does it really mean and what are the implications.
Over the past few years passenger safety has become an obvious concern with some of the terrible incidents we have witnessed around the world and whilst this is a real and genuine concern there are other issues including the health and wellbeing of travelling employees.
Travel can be stressful and take a toll on the body and mind that could affect an employee’s performance in a key meeting, as well as having a cumulative impact due to issues such as poor diet and disrupted sleeping patterns.
In the UK, employers have a legal duty-of-care for their employees wherever they are based or travelling, while the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations mean that companies also have the responsibility of undertaking risk assessments. This means that all of their time spent away from home is the responsibility of the employer. Organisations should have clear policies regarding their responsibility for employee health and wellbeing while abroad as there is a clear duty-of-care and legal responsibility. Companies should undertake risk assessments for every traveller to “identify any potential risks and seek to reduce the risks to an acceptable level”. The standard of accommodation also has an effect on risk, particularly when considering things such as food poisoning, which can be significant depending on the country being visited.
If a foreseeable risk exists and the employer fails to advise travellers or misrepresents the severity of that risk, then they can be liable for a health-related issue in the same way as a safety and security issue. Examples could be failing to provide adequate immunisation advice for travellers going to a high-risk area of diseases like malaria, cholera or hepatitis.
Working with a TMC like The Travel Company Edinburgh will help to eliminate these risks because as well as giving your travellers and travel bookers adequate advice and information we can also work with an organisations HR department to ensure we are meeting their requirements when developing a travel policy for you. You see, it’s not just about booking the cheapest airline ticket, if that’s going to be bad for the traveller and cause them lots of stress due to the timings or the routing. You might save on the airline ticket, but then the employee could be off sick because you have made them take unnecessarily long or inconvenient flights.
I believe these are some of the questions that you should be asking yourself as an organisation if you haven’t already:
What business class policy should you implement to ensure travellers arrive rested?
What should the company position be on employees self-driving after long-haul flights, especially when crossing time zones when jetlag is a factor that could increase the risk of an accident?
Where do travellers go for a single source of truth on health risks and vaccination advice?
Should extra layers of approval be built into the travel approval policy for destinations with high health risks?
If you need help with your travel policy and want to see if we can help reduce your travel expenditure please contact me either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 07941 920752
Click here for: Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office travel advice.
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