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Why It’s Time Australian Business Got Serious About Duty of Care



TSI Points of View

Why It’s Time Australian Business Got Serious About ‘Duty of Care’

Russel Amaral, TSI Australia M.D.

August, 2016


An employee’s health and safety, not just acts of violence and natural disasters are the reasons companies should get serious about ‘Duty of Care’ and ensure that their travel policies reflect this care.


In 2012, Commonwealth legislation made it legally mandatory for Australian companies to provide a duty of care to all their employees (full-time or contracted) travelling on work-related business. The case for duty of care has been highlighted by recent acts of violence in Paris and Brussels and a natural disaster in Bali. However, data provided by International SOS suggests that it is not terrorism that tops the incident list for companies, but more common issues like employee ill-health during travel, opportunistic crime and flight delays.


Incidents related to employee ill-health are of particular interest since they can be easily avoided. Over 30% of such incidents are preventable according to leading travel management publisher, BTTB Australia. However, according to the publisher, only 37% of companies look into the health related risks of employees before sanctioning their travel overseas!


An absence of duty of care policy and compliance can prove expensive. To be duty of care compliant, companies should consider doing the following:


    • Assess individual employee health and fitness… to travel annually or in the period just prior to travel.


    • Use a travel company with proven travel expertise… like TSI, with the ability to provide travelers with travel alerts on security, hazards, special events and routes that may affect their trip pre-travel and whilst travelling.


    • Develop a travel policy with built in compliance… to ensure employees are only permitted to book airlines, hotels and vehicles that comply to the required registration, health and safety regulations.


    • Consider a technology that allows them to locate where travelers are… and that has the ability to make contact with them should the need arise.


    • Do everything possible to have their travelling staff aware of safety… and event related matters at destinations they are travelling to – drinking water, food, sanitation, airport closures etc.


    • Consider engaging specialist medical and event evacuation service organisations… these protect employees overseas and mitigate risk.


Duty of care arrangements should be regularly checked and assessed by travel professionals. You can learn more about Australian Government regulations on Duty of Care here.



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