What is duty of care?
Duty of care is a company’s legal and moral responsibility to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees. Moving employees can be a complex and risky task because of language barriers, geopolitical context, natural hazard, exposure to disease, and many others. Employees who are sent abroad or “up north” for work purposes often are unfamiliar with the environment and are thus less prepared to face the multiple risks and threats.
The importance of well-developed duty of care policies
A Pan-European research study analyzing employer attitudes towards duty of care supports the argument that “well-developed duty of care policies improve profitability, increase productivity and attract – and retain – top talent.” The majority of the companies in the study acknowledge that their duty of care policy is at the core of their employee value proposition, that it helps them attract top talent workers and that it helps reducing employee absence.
According to this study, organizations with less mature policies or procedures should look up to those with a more holistic approach. It is crucial that they consider employee duty of care to be a value generator to their organization and not only a legal requirement.
Implementation of an optimal duty of care program
Companies who fail to implement a consistent and relevant care program and risk management program are exposing their workers to potential harm and threats, and they can also face some serious financial losses, reputational damages and lower performance compared to their competitors.
To put in place an optimal Duty of Care program, the HR, security, risk management, senior management and travel team must take an active role. It is also important to acknowledge there is no one-size-fits-all solution and thus, companies must be prepared for multiple emergency situations with a clear risk management program. You already have policies and procedures in place? Great, but keep in mind they must be continuously updated and reviewed to remain pertinent.
Recommended steps by International SOS for a duty of care program
International SOS – the pioneer and leader in International Health and Security Risk Management – published a global benchmarking study on Duty of Care and travel risk management in which it suggests following these steps when designing the Duty of Care and travel risk management program for your organization:
Phase 1: Plan the Duty of care program
1.1. Research on the Duty of Care legal requirements.
1.2. Assess company-specific risks (health, safety and security wise) in the location where employees are being traveled to.
1.3. Consider creating a Duty of Care committee, which would include a representative of all sectors involved in the transportation and management of employees abroad. This committee would be in charge of setting the policies and procedures, but also to make sure they are communicated and followed.
1.4. Develop a risk management strategy that includes both ongoing Duty of Care process and incident crisis management plan.
1.5. Install clear policies and procedures that will guide the actions of those working abroad and those planning the transportation and stay of employees on remote assignments.
Phase 2: Go-live
2.1. Make sure that the whole Duty of Care strategy as well as its policies and procedures are communicated to the entire organization.
2.3 Ensure that those working more closely with the remote camp and employee transportation are informed and trained appropriately.
2.4. Ensure that employees working on remote camp understand the program and feel supported throughout their whole journey.
2.5. Track your employees working abroad at all times and ensure there is a way to communicate with them in case of emergencies.
2.6. Provide ongoing guidance and assistance for your workers sent on remote assignments. Make sure they feel supported throughout their whole stay.
Phase 3: Analyze & control
3.1. Put in place management controls to ensure employer/employee compliance with the program. Compile and analyze the data to always improve the policies and procedures in place.
3.2. According to the situation and results of the program, adjust it so that it remains relevant to the situation.
The benefits of going beyond legal requirements
Employers can benefit from going beyond complying only with the basic legal requirements of duty of care. As indicated above, it is important to know where your remote employees are at all times and it is essential to have a way to communicate with them quickly in case of emergency.
Nomadis can help you achieve this and much more. Let us help you gain peace of mind so that if any emergency occurs during your workers’ traveling or on your remote camp(s), everyone knows what to do and how to do it.
To get more details, contact us to book a demonstration of our integrated software solution!
 “Reworking Duty of Care.” Chubb.
 Claus, Lisbeth. “Duty of Care and Travel Risk Management Global Benchmarking Study”. International SOS, 2011.