Guardian Guides You Through Your Duty of Care

As a Danish organisation with global reach, your activities may require that your employees travel frequently or that you make use of worldwide contractors. Inappropriate management of personnel travels could put you in a difficult position by hindering the fulfilment of your Duty of Care. Guardian will walk you through an example.

Imagine you are investing in new market ventures in Bangladesh. This opportunity being an interesting prospect, you decide to send a team of project managers and engineers to a business meeting in Dhaka.
What are the risks for your employees in Dhaka?
Do they know about these? Were they trained to handle them?

While their travels to Bangladesh were seamless, one of the engineers disappears on the second day. The last known information is that he was visiting the city centre on his own, late in the afternoon. His colleagues are unable to find him, his phone does not work, and he has not told anyone of where he was going.
Do your employees have procedures to follow when incidents occur?

As he has still not been back to the hotel by night time and nobody has been able to reach him, other employees finally decide to call their superiors and let them know about the situation. Since there are no specific procedures for such cases, the line manager does not know who to contact. There is no information about a known next-of-kin or trusted relatives, so he simply reports it to top management. The family are unware of what is happening.
Who should have been contacted and when?
Who is responsible to deal with the situation and communicate on it?

The missing individual is reported to the local police and Danish authorities. The next day, the CEO contacts officials to ask for news but the Bangladeshi police have already called the line manager to confirm that the employee cannot be found anywhere. On the fifth day, the company receives a call from the Danish embassy in Dhaka, notifying them that the missing employee has been found. He had been abducted by armed criminals in a car after sunset and was forced to withdraw as much money as possible, before releasing him from captivity. The employee gets to call his family, who receives this information for the first time and is left speechless.
What is the next step for the affected employee?
Have you acted to the best of your ability and knowledge?

An ensuing medical check-up is done in a hospital, using the company travel insurance. While he has not been severely harmed physically, he is in shock and his abduction has been particularly violent.
Two weeks later, a media article is released and features the company logo along the headline “I was kidnapped at work and my family wasn’t even told!”.

Your company may eventually be faced with potential duty of care negligence and legal repercussions.

Duty of Care (DoC)
Acting to the best of your ability and knowledge to ensure the wellbeing of your employees

o Informed consent: your employees know the risks
o Training: employees know ways to limit these risks
o Preparedness: if an incident happens, who does what and when?
o Reaction: in times of crisis, what are the management functions and how to communicate what is happening?

Guardian’s Duty of Care series of articles offers a first insight into the world of DoC and its linked responsibilities towards your employees. Are you interested in knowing more or discussing your travel security?
Please reach out to CEO, Norman Kristiansen on norman@guardian-srm.com or +45 40 72 52 25.

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