Critical Elements of Duty of Care
As an employer, you are responsible for the welfare of all your employees, including when they are traveling. After you make the necessary arrangements for corporate travel booking, you have to make sure that they remain safe while they are away and that they comply with the rules set.
If you neglect to track where your travelers are staying or don’t know where they are when an incident happens, your business is at risk of prosecution.
In legal terms, this responsibility is known as “duty of care.” We’ll dive into elements that you may or may not realize fall under duty of care that can’t be ignored.
What is duty of care
Duty of care is defined as your moral and legal obligation to your employees in maintaining their psychological and physical well-being, security, and safety when they are working. It is especially important when you have employees who travel frequently for business purposes or when they work remotely.
As a manager, you should understand the importance of duty of care in the context of corporate travel. You need a sufficient business travel safety policy for your employees to follow. So, before sending them off to their next business trip, take the time to ensure that they understand the big picture surrounding duty of care and what it means for them.
For a duty of care program to be successful, it should define health and safety risk measures for your traveling staff. It should include:
● Pre-travel –Determine the proper steps to prepare for travel. Make certain your TMC provides relevant information and works with you to ensure compliance among traveling employees If your travelers are often visiting higher risk areas, consider employing a medical and travel security services firm for evacuation when necessary.
● During travel – Travelers should be armed with an easy-to-use mobile application that includes safety information. Companies can also choose to leverage robust duty of care tools, such as SAP Concur Locate. This tool gives you the ability to automatically remind travelers of the best options, like taking a taxi instead of ride sharing in certain areas, and two-way communication in the event of an emergency.
To ensure that everything is covered, partner with a travel management company (TMC) to work out the details of duty of care.
Why should a company work with a travel agency for duty of care?
Aside from making travel arrangements on your behalf, a TMC will give you guidance and the right tools to manage traveler safety and security.
When creating a program, they will work with you every step of the way, from analyzing your current risks, to tracking and communicating with your traveling employees.
Depending on the nature of the business you are running, there are various elements to consider when building and implementing a duty of care program with a TMC.
Employees who work from home
You are responsible for your employees’ welfare, regardless of where the work is done, including at home. You are required to:
● Ensure they’re working in a safe environment
● Provide and maintain equipment and systems needed for work
● Know about hazards within the workplace at home and provide appropriate control
● Establish communication and outline work conditions (e.g. hours of work agreed on)
● Provide information, training, instruction, and supervision for employee health and safety while working
At the same time, employees must cooperate with you for a successful duty of care program.
Teams that work at other offices
Your legal obligations do not stop in the main office. Duty of care covers employees posted on international assignments or working remotely in other parts of the world. This means you must act prudently to ensure that risk of injuries or exposures that can lead to poor health must be avoided.
● Provide direct supervision or colleague support for employees working alone
● Establish methods of calling for assistance for workers in secluded work sites
● Identify and assess risks present in work locations and provide proper control
● Manage and monitor the safety and location of employees working in other areas
Although international threats are a possibility, problems at home are just as likely. As an employer, it is your responsibility to have an emergency plan in place in case your traveling employees will be affected by domestic incidents like tornadoes, floods, and fires. You should be prepared and have the available resources to keep them safe during such incidents.
As a travel manager, it’s near impossible to know how safe a neighborhood is. For example, you might not know if the hotel you’re requiring staff to book on 3rd Street is safer than the hotel on 4th Street. However, you could be held liable for requiring staff to book accommodations in an unsafe area.
Adelman has integrated neighborhood safety scores into our proprietary mobile application, Ava. These scores allow travelers to easily determine if a property is safe for women, LGBTQ, safe from overall physical harm and more. This takes duty of care to another level that is often overlooked.
Other complex processes
Duty of care is rarely black and white, so simplifying every process is critical. You want to eliminate any obstacle that travelers may face.
For example, If the company is branching out into new markets, then booking travel and accommodations in a new place won’t be as straightforward. So, it becomes even more important to use simple solutions for booking.
Of course, there is a need to prepare your employees ahead of their trip. Ensure they understand the necessary preparations and know what to expect when they arrive at their destination.
With the help of a TMC, you can carry out these steps with ease.
Benefit of working with a Travel Management Company
Adelman Travel has the right partnerships and experience in duty of care that are going to make a significant difference, especially for companies without a risk management department. You can rest assured that with us, you will get the expertise from specialists who do this kind of work everyday.
Duty of care and travel risk management may already be integrated into your existing policies. However, you might find it a difficult task to handle. We can help you design and implement a duty of care program using the latest travel tools and the best practices of today. Contact us today to learn more.