New BSI Code of Practice helps organisations in safeguarding business travellers

BSI, the business standards company, has published PAS 3001:2016 Travelling for Work – Responsibilities of an Organisation for Health, Safety and Security – Code of Practice. Developed in association with International SOS, the medical and travel security risk services company, this new Code of Practice advises organisations on how to best address and manage the health, safety and security risks posed to their employees who are travelling overseas for work purposes.

A recent Ipsos Global Advisor study found that eight-in-ten travellers have felt their personal safety could be threatened while abroad, while 71% of senior executive travellers had experienced a medical problem while on business overseas.

PAS 3001 offers organisations recommendations on how to develop, implement and evaluate issues such as travel safety, health and security policy, threat and hazard identification, risk assessments, prevention strategies and incident management.

Howard Kerr, CEO at the BSI, said: “Global mobility has instigated a dramatic change on the way that we work today, affording employees and organisations much greater flexibility, but at the same time creating new risks. These risks must not go unchecked. Aside from everyday risks, there may be a significant difference between an assessed medical risk and an assessed security risk for a given location. These differences highlight the complexities organisations face when preparing workers for business travel.”

An analysis of international business travel found that nearly one-in-three trips abroad are to countries with a higher medical or security risk rating than the travellers’ own home nation.

Howard Kerr: CEO at the BSI

Howard Kerr: CEO at the BSI

PAS 3001 can be used by any organisation with travellers, whether they are workers, volunteers or contractors, subcontractors or students. The Code of Practice is also applicable to those organisations that provide health, safety and security assistance and advice to other companies. The PAS may be used on its own or integrated within an existing Health and Safety management system.

Arnaud Vaissié, chairman and CEO of International SOS, said: “We’re in the business of helping organisations achieve their objectives while reducing risks posed to their people. Our goal in supporting PAS 3001 was to share our experience in travel risk mitigation and the lessons we’ve learned. While organisations have begun to consider response plans in the event of major catastrophes, we find the main risks to travellers are everyday incidents such as petty crime, road accidents and falling ill. That’s why it’s so important that organisations don’t wait until the next crisis. Rather, they must have a support plan and network in place to safeguard their mobile workforce.”

Benefits of implementing PAS 3001

The benefits of implementing PAS 3001 include:

*Reducing costly interruptions to business activities and allowing for the development of new opportunities which could have otherwise been lost

*Generating a positive return on investment

*Reducing exposure to criminal liability and reputational damage, while at the same time enhancing corporate image

*Improving worker motivation through the worker’s perception of a safe and healthy working environment

PAS 3001 was developed using a collaborative consensus-based approach with input from industry experts including the Association of British Certification Bodies, the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers in Industry and Commerce, Control Risks, Falck Global Assistance, The Global Business Travel Association, the Health and Safety Executive, The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, the Institute of Risk Management, the International Organisation of Employers, the International SOS Foundation, Mott MacDonald, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, SAP SE, The Security Institute, the Trades Union Congress and the University Health and Safety Association.

Expertise was also offered by Dr David Gold, principal consultant at Gold-Knecht Associates.

For more information visit http://shop.bsigroup.com/pas3001

On Thursday 20 October at 11.00 am BST, the BSI and International SOS will host a webinar based on the PAS and Best Practices organisations can implement to manage business travel risks. Register here

Five things every business traveller should do before travelling

(1) Research local conditions and risks and identify events that may cause disruption, such as national holidays, elections or planned strikes and demonstrations

(2) Ensure awareness of any important local customs and political or religious issues

(3) Ensure a fully-charged mobile phone programmed with numbers that would be useful in an emergency

(4) Understand the basic geography of the destination being visited and a familiarity with key routes, avoiding high crime areas if possible

(5) Know the route from the airport to the destination. Research whether public transport or private car hire is recommended

Essential items when travelling

Probably the best safety object is a fully-charged telephone with access to the local network, and ideally data, so that you can call out and tell people if anything goes wrong and request help.

Also, depending on the location, it’s worth keeping a small ‘grab bag’ to hand packed with any important items – such as your passport, visa, travel documents, a bottle of water, mobile phone, tablet and chargers – which you can quickly pick up in the event of an emergency.

Responding to a major safety incident or disaster

*Never head towards an incident or disturbance. Immediately depart the scene by a direct route in the opposite direction of any threat

*Find a safe location, such as a major international hotel, a diplomatic mission, a hospital or a secure business premises. Move only if necessary to gain a more secure location

*Immediately attempt to communicate out. SMS texts have a longer latency and stand a better chance of reaching any recipient in an affected area. However, mobile (cellular) communications networks might be unworkable, either as the volume of traffic increases or as emergency responders reserve the network for their own purposes. Landline services are an alternative

*In the immediate aftermath, make reasonable attempts to account for other members of your party. If you’re in a group, stay together

*If necessary, medical assistance should be sought immediately. Any injured people should be accompanied to hospital and you should find out where any injured individuals will be taken. If you can, seek advice on any private medical facilities in the vicinity

*Once at a place of safety, continue to communicate. Even when telephone lines are down, e-mail and broadband links sometimes remain operational. If communications have failed altogether, take whatever steps you can to pass a message to the nearest diplomatic mission

*Don’t leave the secure location without notifying someone of your plans. Attempt to identify others similarly affected, stay together and pool resources. In general, avoid the temptation to relocate, certainly without ensuring that the route is clear and informing someone outside of your plans

Five tips for Pandemic Response Plans

(1) Anywhere, Anytime
A new virus can spread quickly. It’s important for an organisation’s Pandemic Response Plan to encompass all geographies, not just those where outbreaks have occurred

(2) Fast-moving
Outbreaks can evolve rapidly. Develop a Pandemic Response Plan that’s responsive and adaptive so you can quickly and consistently communicate with staff

(3) Severity informs response
Assessing the severity of an issue can be a challenge. Media reports and social media sentiment may exert a significant impact on the perception of risk. Develop processes and guidelines to assess severity in your communities, and then communicate that information to your employees

(4) Responding to the unknown
There can be confusion and a lack of definitive information about the nature of a new illness. The challenge for health authorities is to communicate the unknowns in a balanced, appropriate and tailored manner, focusing broadly on practical and actionable steps that everyone should take and, where necessary, enacting more severe measures to protect specific and affected populations. An organisation’s Pandemic Response Plan should further tailor the information based on employees’ needs as individuals or small groups, rather than as an entire population

(5) Variable capabilities
Some countries are better prepared to respond to an infectious disease outbreak. Organisations are encouraged to examine the responses to recent outbreaks in the countries where they operate and subsequently develop plans that incorporate the global variations

 

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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