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Keeping your travellers safe – understanding Duty of Care

So what does Duty of Care mean and why is it so important in travel? Duty of Care is a reference to “a company’s moral and legal obligation to strive for the well-being, health, and safety of its employees whilst they perform their duties”. When it comes to travelling for work purposes, your employees are exposed to a wide range of potential risks and challenges while away, and Duty of Care is of vital importance. It is worth considering that by partnering with a reputable travel company, many aspects of your Duty of Care responsibilities are made simpler. However, regardless of how you book your travel, there are some simple guidelines for effective Duty of Care Management for every business. 

Let’s unpack the key elements of a Duty of Care programme specifically for you as a small business owner:

  • Travel policies: No matter the size of the business, you need a documented travel policy if you are sending employees away from home for work. This should provide easy-to-understand guidelines for employees on how to manage their travel best and what your expectations are as a business owner. The travel policy should highlight requirements during their trips and must include details on safety protocols, emergency contacts and procedures.
  • Risk assessment: Conduct risk assessments per destination before the employee travels. This means assessing the political climate and any security and health risks of the chosen route and destination.
  • Service provider vetting: Evaluate travel service suppliers for safety and reliability. Take time to establish the credibility of chosen partners. Use well-known brands where appropriate, read recent travel reviews, and ideally, work in partnership with a reputable travel agency to address any doubts regarding unknown or new service providers in the market.
  • Individual health and wellness: Ensure that personal well-being is prioritised. Provide appropriate vaccination advice and accessibility, adequate health insurance coverage and access to medical facilities if needed.
  • Pre-travel communication briefings: Arrange pre-travel briefings to ensure employees are informed about potential risks and are equipped with the necessary knowledge to navigate what might be unfamiliar environments.
  • Real-time information updates: Ensure that employees have the means to stay informed about any changes in travel conditions, security alerts, or other relevant information.
  • Emergency procedures: Inform employees about who to contact in case of an emergency and provide readily available support 24/7. Working through a travel agency usually means your staff will have access to a dedicated hotline and support staff capable of handling a range of issues that might arise.
  • Post-incident care: Should an unfortunate incident occur, be prepared to provide support such as medical assistance, counselling services, and assistance with insurance claims.

Fortunately, there are many technology tools on the market aimed specifically at the effective implementation of a successful Duty of Care program. Implement and promote the use of these platforms, communication apps, and tracking tools wherever possible.

Duty of Care extends beyond the obvious protection of your precious employees. Businesses that prioritise the well-being of their people demonstrate a commitment to their social responsibility, which enhances both their reputation and brand image. It reduces disruptions and ensures employee safety, which means operational continuity and minimises legal liabilities. No matter how big or small your business is – it makes sense to get it right.

Harvey World Travel is a proud NSBC Partner

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