How To Maximise Travel Safety Awareness For Hostile Environments

The 2024 Global Risks Report from the World Economic Forum highlighted rising crime, geopolitical tension and natural disasters. With such a mix of potential risks, your employees must be ready for every eventuality. This duty of care is a company’s legal and ethical responsibility to safeguard employees.

So, how can you help your employees feel safe on their next business trip? Read this article to learn how to maximise your company's travel safety awareness and protect your employees from harm.

It’s Time to Optimise Your Travel Risk Management Process

Corporate travel can help forge and strengthen business relationships. Sometimes, you might need to send your employees to more distant locations such as Africa, Asia, or South America. In such situations, your employees must be prepared for potential risks when travelling in that region.

When people talk about hostile environments, they don’t always mean “bombs and bullets.” It's a broader term for unstable, risky, or challenging locations. For example, a natural disaster or a monsoon can quickly turn into a hostile environment. In such a situation, a business traveller must think quickly and adapt to stay safe.

Problems from extreme weather, natural disasters, and inadequate medical facilities in “safe destinations” in Western Europe can also occur. Companies must typically assess the level of threat in each destination. These are done on a scale from Low to Extremely High.

Travel Safety Training for Your Employees is Critical

Before you start creating your policies and procedures, it’s best to implement a training program to help your employees. In effect, you are empowering your employees to keep themselves safe straightaway. Blue Mountain Group offers two specific courses: hostile environment training (HEFAT) and travel awareness

These courses can help your company equip employees with the necessary skills to handle emergencies. Here are some of the areas that we cover in the courses:

  • Preparing travellers before a trip and explaining how they can reduce the risks
  • Training people to be more situationally aware when they are travelling
  • To be more culturally sensitive to the local area and customs 
  • How to respond effectively and safely when something unexpected happens
  • Learn skills to recognise, manage and respond to conflict

(While there are risks for business travellers, there are also similar and different risks that apply to lone travellers. This online course for lone travellers also gives valuable guidance on travelling the world safely.)

The Benefits of Travel Safety Awareness Training

Organising travel safety awareness training for your employees will ensure you meet regulatory requirements. While travel safety training might have seemed like an “extra cost” in the past, the constantly evolving landscape of corporate responsibility has made it necessary.

Also, after receiving training in travel safety, your employees will:

  • have less fear when they travel
  • need less supervision
  • follow procedures in the correct way

By investing in comprehensive travel safety training, companies can also create a culture of preparedness and responsibility among the workforce. These traits can lead to higher productivity and employee retention, which are incredibly desirable for any business.

Put a Risk Management Framework in Place

As detailed above, your employees must receive the travel safety training they need. On top of this, a recent study, ”Duty of Care for Business Travel: How Do Employers Assess and Manage Business Travel Risk?” concluded it is advisable to establish a risk management framework as soon as possible.

By establishing a risk management framework as an employer. You can assess the level of risk of your employee’s travel assignments. Instead of having a stab in the dark and guestimating things, you can have cold, hard facts. Your company can do this by evaluating the following factors:

  • The type of travel that your employee will undertake
  • The traveller's characteristics
  • Your company’s current travel policy
  • Your duty of care strategy
  • The risk appetite

Implementing this risk management framework helps your business take a duty-of-care approach to your business travel risk. You can take concrete actions and implement services before, during, and after travel. So, when a situation does arise, you know that your business can comfortably handle it without any stress.

Identifying the Real Risks

It would help to undertake travel risk assessments before authorising foreign travel in your company. These assessments can become integral to your travel risk management procedures. It is another piece of evidence demonstrating your duty of care to your employees.

It’s also important to note that your liability as a company can extend to omissions and negligence. Consequently, you must try to identify all the threats before travelling. There are also some things to consider when creating risk assessments, as people tend to react in specific ways. Here are some examples:

  • Downplay the more frequent, common risks and exaggerate the spectacular but rare risks
  • Under-react to long-term threats and overreact to immediate threats
  • Are slow to adapt to changes that occur slowly but react quickly to sudden, dramatic changes
  • They can have trouble correctly estimating the risk in situations and experiences that are unfamiliar to them

After gathering all this information, you can use these documents to brief and train employees before travel. It helps to promote compliance and safety for your business travellers and those around them. It’s also important to continually assess and update risk assessments as situations and conditions can change.

Organising a Professional Travel Policy Review

Businesses can find it challenging to stay compliant when regulations are constantly updated. Seeking expert advice for a review can reassure you that you have everything in place. At Blue Mountain Group, we have over 25 years of experience with travel policy documentation. Fill in this form to book a travel policy review, and we will assess your current travel policy and give you expert advice.

Next Steps to Maximise Travel Safety Awareness

Create a risk management framework and conduct risk assessments to optimise your risk management process. Also, book your employees into HEFAT or travel awareness courses so they can prepare before they travel. It will give them the confidence to stay safe in any hostile environment and legally protect your company.

If you need help, contact our travel awareness experts. They can help you select the proper travel safety training and advise your business on risk assessments so you know you are providing the best duty of care.

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