In some cases, business leaders fail to recognize that employee travel falls within the physical scope of workplace activities. In other cases, decision-makers believe that only those travelling to international high-risk destinations require any type of security protection. In most organizations, there is also a gap in knowledge when it comes to travel security, contributing to a lack of risk awareness and fragmented ownership of the function within the organization.
When it comes to employee travel, the risk landscape is changing for Canadian employers. The nature and extent of security and safety risks faced by today's business traveller are expanding, and conditions on the ground for international travellers are becoming more unpredictable. In parallel with these changes, we are witnessing a tidal wave of new occupational health and safety statutes and regulations aimed at preventing work-related violence, including recent examples in Ontario, Manitoba and Newfoundland.
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.