03 Apr Lacking Health Risks Assessment for Remote Workforces: Don’t Wait for a Fatality
Enforcing security, health and safety for your valued workforce in a remote location is not to be neglected; however, it remains a serious shortfall for many companies. Organizations have a moral, ethical and legal duty to identify and address potential risks that their employees will be facing.
IOSH, the largest professional health and safety membership organization published a case study in collaboration with the International SOS Foundation in 2016 on this topic. This case illustrates the importance of properly assessing risks, implementing standard protocols and ensuring that workers fulfill all required conditions and follow the protocols prior to being sent on a remote assignment.
“A worker contracted a fatal malarial infection when traveling to West Africa to work on an oil rig. Prior to traveling, the employee was informed by his employer that he did not need to be concerned about the risk of malaria in West Africa, as he would be working on an oil rig, offshore, where there was no risk of being bitten by a mosquito. So, he took no anti-malarial medication before or during his trip. When he was bitten by a mosquito during an overnight stay on an island en route to the oil rig, he contracted malaria, which proved to be fatal. The High Court found that there was a clear failure on the part of the employer to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of the employee in the course of his employment, which included travel to and from the oil rig.” (pg. 4)
This situation reflects the need for organizations to be over-provident when taking measures to prevent health-related risks. Indeed, the employer should not have sent the employee on his assignment without making sure he had all the required medications and vaccinations prior to his departure. While this is first and foremost a moral and legal obligation for organizations, the reduction of Health, safety and security risks by taking extra precautions with remote workforces translates into smoother operations and reduced costs.
The costs that these incidents incur are on multiple fronts and can be extremely high – here are a few examples:
- Medivac/repatriation costs
- Suspension of operations
- Replacement costs (hiring, training, transportation, …)
- Legal prosecutions
- Reputational damages
According to the publication from the SOS Foundation in collaboration with Prevent, not only does it minimize risks of being sued and suffering from the above damages, but it also brings a return on investment estimated at $1.60 to $2.53 for each dollar invested in medical assessment programs.
Nomadis is aware of these issues and provides tools to help you manage health and safety. Our platform has the capabilities to:
- Integrate medical background into workers’ profiles. Special medical conditions can be added such as allergies, visual condition (blind/visually impaired), hearing condition (hearing impaired) and others. This medical information allows managers to plan the medical attention required for employees at all stages;
- Capture and validate required medical and travel conditions/documentation, such as vaccination, fitness to work, as well as any travel-related documentation. This ensures that all workers sent on a remote site have clearance prior to leaving for their assignment;
- Depending on internal policies, Nomadis can also send notifications when a document expires, or a condition needs to be renewed/reassessed. This can be sent to the travel team and the employee directly by email and SMS;
- Capture notes on health-related incidents, with custom classification and ability to produce reports;
- Automated synchronization of all profile data, with an integration to your HR/HCM software to avoid discrepancies and make sure your information is always up to date.
Institution of Occupational Safety and Health & the International SOS Foundation. “Managing the safety, health and security of mobile workers: an occupational safety and health practitioner’s guide”. 2016.