When it comes to duty of care and travel risk management, this is what every travel, human resources and risk manager should know. In this article we will cover duty of care defined, how it relates to travel risk management and the key actions required by companies and managers in order to demonstrate or prove duty of care. By reading this article you will be able to confirm the true meaning of duty of care as it relates to travel risk management an determine if you and your company truly have a demonstrable travel risk management system that complies with your social and legal duty of care objectives.
The first point is to clarify as the legal definition of Duty of Care.
Duty of Care Defined
Duty of care is a requirement that a person acts towards others, including employees and the public with watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence in that a reasonable person in the circumstances would. If a person’s actions do not meet this standard of care, then the acts are considered negligent, and any damages resulting may be claimed in a lawsuit for negligence.
There are no omissions or exclusions granted for business travel.
Travel Risk Management and Duty of Care
Business travel, unless proven otherwise exposes employees to hazards and threats. Therefore, in order to provide a duty of care the process must be managed, demonstrable, effective and auditable processes applied. These processes must support the expectation and demand for watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence in that a reasonable person in the circumstance, as leadership, travel, human resources and management would. If a person’s actions, not intentions, do not meet this standard of care, then the acts are considered negligent. Penalty for proven negligence can result in physical/psychology damage to the employee, brand damage, loss of assets and financial damages claimed in a lawsuit for negligence.
As stated, evidence of action is required, therefore companies need to be able to demonstrate all supporting processes and support to the various stakeholders not only in the event of claim but as an ongoing contribution to the welfare and productivity of their business travellers.
Evidence of Duty of Care and Travel Risk Management
An officer/s of the company needs to demonstrate, with clearly planned, implemented procedures and systems that are put into effect continuously in order to demonstrate a commitment or compliance to duty of care within the context of travel risk management. These processes must include collection of information, assessment of hazards and threats, education, monitoring of travel-related activity, attention to the specific demographic of business travellers and caution when addressing foreseeable risks and dispatch of business travellers into areas and situations for which they are not yet prepared. All actions must be within the realm of reasonable and not gratuitous expenditure on any and all products, services and support in the area of travel risk management.
Failure to communicate or enforce compliance to duty of care can have disproportional effects on all organizations but even more so to those with sizable traveling or mobile human capital.
Conclusion: Travel Risk Management and Duty of Care
Now that you understand the importance of duty of care and how it is defined by both social and legal opinions, you’ll probably see your approach and effectiveness in a whole new light. Duty of care does apply to business travel risk management and your business travellers and in order to prove or effectively demonstrate travel risk management, you need consistent, auditable and effective evidence if you are to defend or confirm your ability to deliver on duty of care for business travel. Objectively review your current preparedness and processes specific to travel risk management. Use this advice to make your comparison and add any omissions to your processes immediately.