Travel Safety and Security

Your people are your most valuable resource, and it is important that they are looked after when travelling abroad.

In the UK, the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act clearly lays down the duties of employers to their employees, in relation to their health, safety and welfare. Interpretation of this has developed over time, with more onus now being placed on employers.

Put simply, this states that employers have a duty of care to their employees. This requires them to take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of personnel. Legally, employers must abide by relevant health and safety and employment law, as well as the common law duty of care. It is also common sense.

Such duty is clearly particularly relevant to staff deployed outside of the home country, whether this be on a semi-permanent basis, or simply for brief visits. The following are therefore clearly pertinent to such duty: –

  • Undertaking risk assessments
  • Ensuring a safe working environment
  • Providing communication channels for employees to raise concerns, and
  • Consulting employees on issues which concern them

You may think that in the past there have been no significant issues of concern; this does not mean that you should be complacent. The aim of any review is not to scaremonger, but to provide practical suggestions to what could potentially be problems in the future.

How BGP can assist

The main purpose of any assessment is to look at potential security issues as opposed to advising on basic travel advice, which is often adequately covered elsewhere. Without stating the obvious, it is evident that any risk assessment, as well as travel or security guidance must be relevant to the town, country or region of deployment. A one size fits all strategy can be both ineffective, to a degree pointless, and also potentially dangerous.

Working with you, we would first discuss your needs, and dependent upon where your people travel to, put together a number of recommendations to address any issues, most importantly ensuring that your staff are safe, secure and comfortable wherever they may be travelling to.

We are then able to provide an assessment in relation to locations where deployed, following which, informed decisions can be made as to individual requirements. It is evident that some visits carry a greater risk than others, therefore, the location will depend upon the level of briefing required.

We can also review insurance policies in place, ensuring that cover is not only adequate, but relevant to the location of travel.

Information security is also a potential concern. It is readily accepted that there are certain places where there is a significant chance of security being compromised, whether this be from government sources, or others with a separate agenda.

In order to develop realistic assessments, we obtain information from a number of sources, including, but not limited to, advice of relevant governments, international security and risk organisations, as well as various media sources. Government advice is generally fine for those going on holiday, but is rarely sufficient for business travel.

For those in the UK, it will be noted that the current threat level from terrorism for London and the rest of the UK, is deemed by the security services to be ‘severe’. This means that an attack is highly likely. It is therefore often questioned as to why such reports are necessary, when the location may be of no more of a risk than London. This we believe has no relevance whatsoever, as the staff deployed are still in an unknown foreign country, as opposed to being at ‘home’ where they are familiar with any risks.