Introduction: Travel Risk Management and the Workplace
When it comes to the workplace and travel risk management, this is what every travel, human resources and general manager should know. In this article we will cover the workplace, how it relates to travel risk management and the expanded requirement for travel risk management and comply with the company’s social and legal obligations. By reading this article you will be able to confirm the true meaning of the workplace as it relates to travel risk management and determine if you or 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 to the legal definition of the workplace.
The Workplace, Actors and Duties Defined
A workplace is defined as a place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking. It includes any place where worker goes, or are likely to be, while at work.
A workplace could be a vehicle, a vessel, an aircraft or any other mobile structure; or any waters and any installation on land, and on the bed of any waters or floating on any waters. As such, not only are factories, shops, construction sites and offices workplaces, but roads, homes, parks, schools, hotels, airports, airplanes, ports and ships are also workplaces when people are working there. In fact anywhere can be a workplace if people work there.
This broader interpretation of what is a workplace has significant implications of the duties of people, or persons, at workplaces.
A person of the workplace is logically the Officers and Workers of the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) working at the workplace, who have set duties.
Unlike the terms Officer and Worker, the phrase “person at the workplace” is not defined. However, the duty is imposed on a person and, hence, is intended to apply to people that may have cause to be in the workplace such as visitors, customers, clients, passers-by, relatives and associates of workers, and trespassers.
A person at a workplace has a similar duty to that of a worker. They are required to take reasonable care with respect to their own health and safety, and take reasonable care not to adversely affect the health and safety of other people at the workplace and they are also required to follow the reasonable directions of the PCBU.
The definition clearly encompasses business travellers and all the locations and sites they may occupy throughout the course of specified business travel.
Travel Risk Management and the Workplace
When officers of a company first become aware of the definition and obligation of a workplace, the initial result can be one of shock. The legal reference to a place of work is far more liberal and encompassing than many managers may realize or acknowledge. Therefore most travel risk management plans need to be significantly broadened to include all locations where the business traveller may work. This also adds to the requirement for information and hazard identification due to the diverging threats likely or hazards at factories, hotels, airports, remote sites, oil rigs, and many more possible combinations. Typically many companies focus exclusively on the registered office or place of business which omits the majority of actual workplaces.
Therefore, all the locations identified as a workplace by business travellers must confirm to the wider and standardized obligations such as duty of care, due diligence, foreseeable risk, reasonably practical and risk assessments.
Travel Risk Management Planning
Travel risk management is driven by the person/s traveling for business, the workplace, duty of care objectives, foreseeable risk and reasonably practical measures. It is not the primary driver nor a selective menu in which to choose partial or full compliance. Token commitment has the potential to be even more damaging that complete avoidance or negligence.
With the composition and destination of business travel ever increasingly changing, companies must also be very mindful that although they may think they are not exposed to the higher acts and legislation, they may discover too late that potentially exempt individuals or locations do in fact carry the threat of litigation due to some very small changes such as the coverage of all nationalities under the act, regardless of place of origin and registration of business.
Business travel threats are not limited to extra ordinary threats and hazards such as piracy, terrorism, kidnapping and the like but more frequently routine hazards and events such as motor vehicle accidents, illness, standard of medical care, local laws and available risk mitigation or elimination options.
Conclusion: Travel Risk Management
Now that you understand the importance of the workplace by legal opinions, you will probably see your approach and appropriateness in a whole new light. The workplace does apply to travel risk management and your business travellers. We have covered the workplace, how it relates to travel risk management and the expanded requirement for travel risk management and comply with the company’s social and legal obligations.In order to prove or effectively demonstrate that you have included the workplace you need consistent, auditable, appropriate and implemented evidence if you are to mitigate or eliminate the risks associated with business travel, convey confidence to business travellers that you are proactively fulfilling your duty of care and defend or confirm your compliance with the various acts and legislation. Objectively review your current preparedness and process specific to travel risk management and use this advice to make your comparison and rectify any omissions to your processes immediately.
Travel Risk Management and the Workplace by
Tony Ridley and Jason Parsons