Business travel does not exist without a degree of risk, whether it be from flight delays, natural disasters, transportation strikes, or even pickpocketing. Because of such threats, businesses have both a legal and moral duty to develop or enhance travel risk management (TRM) policies in order to fulfill duty-of-care obligations to employees and maintain the well-being of the company. Here are four things to consider as you develop your TRM policy:
Download the guide: Steps to Achieving an Effective TRM Program
1. There Are Liability Issues
When employees travel within the U.S., employer liability in the case of illness or injury is limited due to workers’ compensation. Once an employee travels a certain distance from where the business is located, the company has obligations under U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide a safe work environment.
In the case of international travel, these legal duty of care obligations aren’t always clear. But legal experts say that the lack of any specific duty of care law does not necessarily mean there are no legal obligations for the health and safety of U.S. business travelers abroad. A proactive TRM policy could help mitigate against corporate liability for domestic and international travelers.
2. Business Travel is Increasing
In January, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) forecast that U.S.-person trips are expected to hit 537.1 million in 2017, which is up 2.9% from 2016. And, with all that travel comes risks of varying degrees, such as infectious diseases like Zika and Ebola or unexpected weather events and natural disasters like tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
3. Smaller Risks Matter, Too
When it comes to travel risks, it’s not just about high-profile incidents and catastrophic events. Lower-impact risks like medical issues, road traffic accidents, public transportation incidents and petty crime might not get as much attention, but they are much more common. Thus, it’s important to consider these as part of a broader notion of traveler well-being, and keep them in mind when crafting a TRM.
4. Business Risks Need to be Mitigated
Not only is it critical for companies to protect their greatest assets – their employees – but it’s also important for them to protect themselves. While there are costs associated with implementing a TRM program, the cost of failing to provide adequate duty-of-care can be exorbitant in terms of medical expenses, sick pay, employment litigation, loss of productivity and morale, etc. What’s more, a poorly-managed traveler emergency can also have negative ramifications for the business’ reputation, competitive advantage, business continuity and financial health.
These are key reasons why establishing travel risk management and duty-of-care practices for your organization is so important. To learn more, download part one of our travel risk management whitepaper series: The Travel Risk Management Imperative, produced by the BTN Group.