When an organization gives one of their human resources a task, how often is a risk assessment done? The answer is: it depends. When firefighters are asked to enter a burning building, the person in charge first assesses the risk to his people. When the engineers at the Japanese nuclear plant had to re-enter the facility to prevent a meltdown, a risk assessment was also completed before that. However, when most organizations fly their sales guy to South Africa, or get the young clerk at the gas station to close up the shop at night, rarely do they consider all the risks.
A recent Reuters article entitled “Darfur kidnapping victim sues aids group that sent her” addresses an American lawsuit that has sparked a worldwide interest in the kidnapping industry. 2008 alone, Canada had five hostages taken in five months. A Canadian Government study assesses that terrorist groups will continue to attempt to kidnap Westerners, including Canadians, and that the greatest threat is to tourists, aid workers, journalists, business people and diplomats.
More and more organizations are asking the question: “What are the responsibilities associated with managing a travelling workforce?” This question has been increasingly relevant as of late, with a number of Canadian companies taking notice of the recent events in Egypt, Libya, and Japan.