Free Duty of Care Guide and Checklist for Business Travel

If your employees travel for business of any kind, it’s up to you to do everything you reasonably can to ensure their safety while away on business and communicate to them what to do in the event of an emergency.

However, duty of care is not just about emergencies – someone losing their passport, missing a flight, or leaving their luggage in a taxi. It’s also about those details that can improve your employees’ mental and physical health, like making sure they don’t have to drive after a long-haul flight.

If you need to implement a duty of care policy for your employees, download our free guide which will walk you through the essential steps to protect your travellers and ensure their well-being.

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What is duty of care?

What is Business Travel Duty of Care?

You have a duty of care to your employees and must take every step possible to ensure their health, safety, and welfare. While caring for the physical and mental health of your staff can help improve employee retention and engagement, as well as increase productivity, legally, as an employer, you are required to comply with health and safety laws alongside common law duty of care. 

You also have a moral obligation not to cause or fail to prevent physical or mental harm. An employer may breach its duty of care by not doing everything reasonably possible to protect the employee from harm.

Why Duty of Care is important to business travel?

When it comes to business travel, Duty of Care is important because your staff may be exposed to risks that may not apply when they are in their usual place of work. In large businesses, travel risk management is a regular part of their business travel programme, but for smaller companies that don’t have a business travel strategy, the risks associated with business travel can be overlooked.

Risks to business travellers include:

  • Visiting and driving in unfamiliar places
  • Standing out from the local population
  • Fatigue and jetlag can impair their judgements
  • Sexual predation and hate crimes
  • Natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes
  • COVID-19 & other infectious outbreaks
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Healthcare availability

As well as the impact on an individual employee, any such risks may also affect a company’s productivity, profits, and reputation. Mitigating any risks can help reduce the likelihood of them happening altogether or minimise the impact if an employee is affected.

High-Risk Destinations

If your business requires employees to travel to destinations considered to be high-risk, it’s important that you’ve researched the countries and conducted risk assessments which need to be reviewed frequently as any changes may impact the risk to travellers. Any destinations that are considered high-risk are communicated as such.

Once these high-risk destinations have been identified, you need to know which travellers are going so you can ensure they are properly prepared. By working with a Travel Management Company (TMC) all travel will be recorded in one place which means:

  • You know where your employees are at any given time
  • Be alerted if travel has been booked to a high-risk destination
  • You can run reports to show which employees will be in certain countries before they travel. This is useful if travel advice changes.

If your staff arrange their own travel, make sure you have a process in place that notifies the relevant people within your organisation that the trip has been booked. If you don’t know where and when your travellers are going, you can’t help them prepare for their trip.

Once you know where your high-risk destinations are and who is planning to go there, you can arrange for them to take the required precautions that could include:

  • Avoiding certain places
  • Medical advice
  • Only staying in well-known hotel chains
  • Not travelling alone
  • Training with a security advisor
  • Pre-arranging all transportation or arranging routes for them
  • Security protection while travelling

Your TMC will be able to advise how high-risk destinations can be catered for in your travel policy and booking process. That could include requiring approval before travel to a high-risk destination can be booked or include a questionnaire to ensure the traveller understands the risks before flying.

High-Risk Destinations
Travel Risk and ISO 31030

Travel Risks and ISO 31030

We all hope that an emergency will never happen, even so, you need to be prepared. If one of your employees is affected by an incident when they’re away on business, both you and your employee need to know the process they should follow to help keep them safe and give them the reassurance they’ll need.

If you use a TMC or Duty of Care provider, they should have a process that will quickly locate anyone that could be affected, define a plan to get them home, and keep everyone informed of their progress and the traveller’s wellbeing. If you’re not using a TMC, consider how you’ll provide support with help from the new ISO standard, ISO 31030, which provides vital guidance to protect your employees. The standard, ISO 31030:2021, provides a structured approach to the development,

implementation, evaluation, and review of a travel risk management policy, as well as an assessment and treatment of travel risks. These range from events such as a road accident, or a health incident, to disease outbreaks, epidemics, and natural disasters, as well as conflict, crime, security, and health of travellers, and adversely affect the outcome of their travel objectives.

By promoting a culture where travel-related risk is taken seriously, resourced adequately, and managed effectively, the standard aims to garner recognised and realised benefits such as:

  • Contributing to business continuity capability and organisational resilience
  • Improve worker confidence in travel-related health, safety, and security arrangements
  • Enabling business in high-risk locations
  • Enhancing an organisation’s reputation and credibility – leading to a positive effect on competitiveness, staff turnover and talent acquisition
  • Reducing legal and financial exposure
  • Increasing general productivity

The Challenges of Building an Inclusive Travel Programme

Watch Carolyn Pearson from Maiden Voyage speaking at Meon Valley Travel’s Return To Travel event about inclusivity in business travel safety and duty of care.

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