Travel Risk Management and the Workplace

Travel Risk Management Safety and Security Tip 37 - Delays, disruptions and stop overs [Video]



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 a 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. Anywhere can be a workplace if people work there.

This extended definition 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 established duties and these are defined in the associated articles.

Unlike the terms Officer and Worker, the phrase “person at the workplace” is not defined. However, the duty is imposed on a person and is intended to apply to people that may have cause to be in the workplace for instance; visitors, customers, clients, passers-by, relatives or associates of workers, and trespassers. A person at a workplace has a similar duty to that of aworker.

The extended definition therefore clearly encompasses all people who travel for the purpose of work and all the areas or locations that they may travel through or stay at during that time.

Travel Risk Management and the Workplace

The legal definition of a workplace is far more liberal and encompassing than many may realise or acknowledge and when Officers of a company first become aware of the extended definition and their obligation’s due to the change the initial reaction can be one of shock.

Most Travel Risk Management plans need to be significantly broadened to include all locations where the business traveller may work or transit and all of the locations identified by people travelling for work must confirm to the wider and standardised obligations such as duty of care, due diligence, foreseeable risk, reasonably practical and risk assessments.

This also adds to the requirement for information and hazard identification due to diverging threats or likely hazards. In short, any newly identified or present hazard needs to be adde to the hazard register, risk rated, control measures implemented and the entire process incorporated into the company Safety Management System.

Typically organisations have focused exclusively on the registered office or place of business which omits the majority of actual workplaces as covered under the new definition.

Travel Risk Management Planning

Travel Risk Management is driven by the person/s traveling for work, the workplace, duty of care objectives, foreseeable riskand reasonably practical measures. It is not a selective menu in which to choose partial or full compliance. Token commitment to Travel Risk Management Planning has the potential to be even more damaging that complete avoidance or ignorance.

With the composition and destination of work travel increasingly changing, organisations must also be mindful that although they may think they are not exposed under the legislation. They may discover too late that individuals and locations, previously thought to be exempt, do in fact carry the threat of litigation due to the legislative changes. Many compliance requirements extend to the coverage of all nationalities under the Act, regardless of place of origin and registration of business. For example, all Australians working in Australia or working abroad for Australian companies are covered under the Act. Conversely, Australian companies must comply, even for Australian workers abroad.

Business travel hazards are not limited to low frequency, high consequence, “…extra ordinary…” threats, hazards and events such as piracy, terrorism, kidnapping. They also include the more frequent, low consequence, or “…routine…” threats, hazards and events such as motor vehicle accidents, illness, poor standards of medical care, breaking local laws or being a victim of a robbery.

Travel Risk Management planning should include both the “…extra ordinary…” and the “…routine…” threats, hazards and events that a person may encounter while travelling for work and advise the traveller of available risk elimination or minimisation options.

Conclusion: Travel Risk Management

Now that you understand the importance of the changed legal opinion of the workplace, you will probably see your approach to and appropriateness of Travel Risk Management in a whole new light. The definition of a workplace does apply to Travel Risk Management and your work travellers.

We have covered the workplace, how it relates to Travel Risk Management and the expanded requirement for Travel Risk Management to comply with an organisation’s social and legal obligations.

In order to prove or effectively demonstrate due diligence and reasonably practicability in regards to Travel Risk Management you need consistent, audit-able, appropriate and implemented evidence to show that you have eliminated or minimised the risks associated with work travel and convey confidence to your work travellers that you are proactively fulfilling yourduty of care and defend or confirm your compliance with the various acts and legislation. This can be achieved by objectively reviewing 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

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