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Less Than 40% of AU Companies Protect Employees Abroad

|May 2|magazine6 min read

Australian companies have a large presence abroad, but new research reveals that their Duty of Care policies require more implementation when it comes to Australian staff on international assignment.

According to literature released by International SOS, the leading global medical and security assistance company, less than 40 per cent of Australasian companies are assessing risk prior to sending their employees abroad. The study’s results are compiled in the Duty of Care and Travel Risk Management Benchmarking Study Australia and Oceania, now available online.

"Every travel approval should include an employee risk assessment prior to departure.  Your Duty of Care obligation to your employees is ensuring that employees are oriented to the foreseeable risks and threats they are likely to encounter.  Employees with health risks or other personal concerns should be identified prior to travel so they can be adequately addressed to limit negative outcomes,” the study’s author, Professor Lisbeth Claus, said in the report.

"We know that one of the basic findings of the study is that all countries are eventually risky locations when employees or workers cross borders, and it's not just the medical and security environment that presents risks, but the unfamiliarity that the worker faces when they are in a different environment."

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When compared to last year’s study, International SOS Regional Security Director – Australasia, Simon Francis, cited ‘low risk’ countries such as Japan who experienced ‘high impact’ events as being ill-prepared for by many companies who sent employees to the region.

“The case data shows that we have a spread across low risk and high risk countries so when preparing workers we need to prepare them for the probability of a high impact event even in a low risk country and not just the high risk countries where we will most likely have low risk event," Francis said in the media release.

More than 600 global companies, 14 per cent of which were headquartered in Australia and New Zealand, were surveyed by International SOS for the Benchmarking study.  

The full study may be viewed here.