Introduction: Travel Risk Management and Reasonably Practicable
When it comes to reasonably practical and travel risk management, this is what every travel, human resources and general manager should know. In this article we will cover reasonably practical defined, likelihood of event, impact and travel risk management plans to minimize or eliminate travel risks, threats and dangers and comply with the company’s social and legal obligations. By reading this article you will be able to confirm the true meaning of reasonably practical 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 the the legal definition of reasonably practical.
Reasonably Practicable Defined
Reasonably practicable represents what can be reasonably done in the circumstances as defined by legal opinion. This means that the duty holders must satisfy their duties as far as they are reasonably able to, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters, including:
• The likelihood of the relevant hazard or risk occurring
• The degree of harm, or seriousness, that might result from the hazard or risk
• What the person knows is, or ought reasonably to know, about the hazard or risk in the ways of eliminating or minimizing the risk, and
• The availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimize the risk
Only after assessing these matters can the cost of eliminating or minimizing the risk be taken into account, including whether those costs are grossly disproportionate to the risk.
Likelihood and Impact of Events
Following a comprehensive study and listing of plausible and possible negative events that can impact upon business travellers as a result of the prevailing danger, threat or hazard, managers need to determine the likelihood of the event. The forecasting of events actually taking place is far from infallible nor one hundred percent accurate however it can be refined and improved over time. This forecast should be determined by past empirical evidence and prudent future projections. A key component of this analysis is inclusive of the business traveller themselves and what they ought to reasonably know or have been educated, along with ways and means of minimizing or eliminating business travel risks.
Likely impacts to the traveller and the travel activity also need to be included. This process and focus should remain distinctly concentrated on the business travel aspect and not merge into a broader business review and analysis. The degree of harm, or seriousness that might result from the hazard should also be evaluated to aid in the identification and application of risk mitigation and elimination options.
A practical and reasonable cost analysis associated with eliminating or minimizing the risk/s must also be taken into account. This much also take into account whether the costs of mitigating or eliminating the risk is grossly disproportionate to the risk. Companies would not be reasonably expected to invest one million dollars to eliminate a one dollar risk. Conversely, it would be difficult to justify or defend a one dollar solution for a million dollar risk.
Travel Risk Management Plans
The travel risk management plan is often second in priority to the planning that must take place in order to produce an effective and appropriate travel risk management plan.
Travel risk management plans, while cascaded from a centralized travel management policy and procedure along with a collective travel risk management strategy, should be uniquely applicable to the various business undertakings, travellers and location of travel. The plan should document and identify the threat, likelihood, degree of impact or seriousness and the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimize the business travel risks.
Boiler plate versions and standardized implementation is neither appropriate nor compliant with the required business objectives or obligations.
Conclusion: Travel Risk Management and Reasonably Practicable
Now that you understand the importance of reasonably practical by legal opinions, you will probably see your approach and effectiveness in a whole new light. Reasonably practical does apply to travel risk management and your business travellers. In order to prove or effectively demonstrate that you have reasonably done in the circumstances 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 Reasonably Practicable by
Tony Ridley and Jason Parsons