The British Standards Institution, the body that defines more than 2,000 industry standards in the UK per year, has launched a code of practice advising organisations on how to address and manage the health, safety and security risks posed to their workers who travel as part of their jobs.
Developed in association with International SOS, a medical and travel security risk services company, and numerous UK institutions, such as the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health; the Association of British Certification Bodies; the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers in Industry and Commerce, and the Trades Union Congress, the new code of practice offers recommendations to companies for developing, implementing and evaluating travel risk management policies.
The PAS 3001 Travelling for work—Responsibilities of an organization for health, safety and security—Code of practice, as it is known, recommends commitments that organizations can make to:
- create travel risk policy
- identify threats and hazards
- assess risks
- develop prevention strategies
- manage incidents
- develop training
- organize documentation
- manage communications
- evaluate risk management programs
Talking about the new code of practice, BSI project manager Matt Bonnamy said: “There was no previous standard in this area, yet more people are traveling for business than in the past and there has been a perceived increase in travel risk.”
PAS 3001 comes in light of an Ipsos Global Advisor study that found eight in 10 travellers have felt their personal safety could be threatened while abroad. The same study also found that 71% of senior executives had experienced a medical problem while travelling abroad.
Howard Kerr, chief executive at BSI, said that while global mobility gives employees and companies greater flexibility today, it also creates new risks.
“These risks must not go unchecked and, aside from everyday risks, there may be a significant difference between an assessed medical risk and an assessed security risk for a given location. These differences highlight the complexities organizations face when preparing workers for travel,” he said.
Organisations can choose to use PAS 3001 on its own or integrate it into their existing health and safety processes. It should also be noted that PAS 3001 is voluntary and adoption of its practices is no guarantee of immunity from liability.
Arnaud Vaissié, chairman and chief executive of International SOS, said that even though many organisations have started developing response plans for major catastrophes, the main risks to business travellers are everyday incidents such as petty crime, road accidents and being taken ill.
“That’s why it’s so important that organisations don’t wait until the next crisis and have a support plan and network in place to safeguard their mobile workforce,” he said.
An analysis of international business travel found that almost a third of trips abroad are to countries that have a higher medical or security risk rating than the traveller’s home country.
Getting the right advice for staff travelling overseas is more important than ever for employers and employees.
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