prevention rather than response. And this is an area many have yet to focus on. Whilst Australian WHS laws do not deal specifically with international travel, if a person’s principal place of employment is in Australia it is prudent to work on the basis that these laws apply when they are temporarily abroad conducting work activities. That being the case, if a business is operating under the harmonised WHS laws then it is their responsibility to do what is ‘reasonably practicable’ to ensure the health and safety of their employees during travel. This concept of ‘reasonably practicable’ rests in part on what a person knows, or ought reasonably to know, about a hazard or risk. Simply put, not knowing about a risk or hazard is not in itself an effective defence in the event of an incident. So what might be considered reasonably practicable in managing travel safety? A well rounded review should consider three areas:
- Risk understanding and management – ensuring the organisation has the tools and mechanisms in place to identify and manage the risks associated with travel
- Company preparation – such as an effective Travel Management Policy and appropriate Corporate Travel Insurance (too many people fail to read the fine print)
- Traveller preparation – including the use of information briefs and pre-travel training appropriate to experience, destination and intended activities
Documentation is also important. To meet legislative requirements, the measures organisations implement need to be reasonably practicable in view of the circumstances and options available to them. Documented systems will outline the reasoning behind this, and assist in demonstrating compliance with legislative obligations. By undertaking a comprehensive review, mobility professionals can ensure that the impact of travel safety management is considered across the entire organisation from the board of directors through to travelling employees. As the people responsible for the effective movement of people, mobility professionals provide an important voice in the policy agenda and most importantly, can help to change the culture from one of response to one of pro-active risk management that adds real value to their organisation.
BY PEOPLE OPTIONS:
People Options assists organisations to manage the risks associated with people. This includes travel safety management to assist in keeping employees safe when they travel overseas, recruitment and selection to ensure ideal job fit, and coaching to build high performance teams using behavioural profiling and mentoring techniques.