Safety, it depends on how you look at it

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We prefer not to think about our safety. But times have changed, particularly in this area. Aren’t the risks you run during a business trip far greater these days and at least more far-reaching than over a decade ago?

We refer back to Darwin’s theory: man is a species that adapts to a situation and environment. As it turns out, also to a greater threat to our personal safety. But whilst safety is an important core value for individuals, research conducted among business travellers has shown that this does not actually worry them much at all.

Business travellers not worried much

Business travellers don’t experience the modern risks as very threatening. They are more concerned about short-term matters such as traffic jams on the way to the airport, whether they will make it to their flight on time due to unforeseen queues at security checkpoints, or a poor WiFi signal at the airport. They are used to taking care of themselves, even when travelling to remote and sometimes dangerous places in the world. In the past, these trips were not without risks either, but people are just not concerned about them. Not then and not now.

Some perspective

The threat of terrorism may well be greater and closer than ever before, but people seem to adapt to this in terms of their perception and feeling of safety regarding this. In actual fact, the chance that a business traveller will be involved in an attack is minimal. The greatest safety threats during a business trip are still having a heart attack (particularly in places where the level of medical care is below that of Western countries or where medical assistance is not so quickly reached) or being involved in a car accident. The risk of being bitten by a mosquito carrying malaria is also still greater than being involved in an attack.

Should we therefore not worry about this at all?

No, certainly not. A great many things after all have changed. A company that sent its staff abroad used to only have to book a flight and hotel. These days there are more regulations that have to be met by companies sending their workers to international destinations.

What many organisations don’t realise is that they have a duty of care to ensure as much as possible the safety of their employees who travel internationally on behalf of their company. Arrangements have to be made concerning for example:

  • Prevention
  • Information
  • Communication

Some may be more advanced in making these than others. The sector in which the company operates or the type (read: risk level) of destination that their travellers often visit plays a role in this. In the offshore world, for example, the safety of staff is frequently one of the most important KPIs. The number of business travellers in an organisation also plays a role. It is easy enough keeping an eye on one or two people, but what about when ten or twenty travel at the same time?

Safety policy can be very simple

Regardless of whether or not a company has a travel and safety policy: as soon as an emergency situation occurs, all eyes are fixed on the travel manager, the employee in charge of the bookings or the HR department of the company:

“Do we have people there? Who are they? Have we contacted them already? Are they safe?”

If you have it clearly set down in a travel and safety policy, everyone knows what to do in such a situation. Where do you get the information from, does the traveller know what he or she has to do, how do you make contact? If you simply leave this to chance, an uncontrolled panic will often arise that can have a major impact on the organisation and operations.

Back to today

So what is safety these days? Well, it depends on how you look at it. The traveller does not really worry much about it as long as it isn’t too close by. But an organisation has a different role and is responsible for the welfare and safety of its staff. It starts from that understanding.

Still no policy?

Then take the time to consider a safety policy for your company. Your travel provider can help you in this and often provides various tools to help you track down your travellers and quickly communicate with them in the event of emergencies. In order to help you on your way with this, we have outlined the most important points for a good safety policy. Because sometimes, unfortunately, you just have to give safety some thought.

Suzanne van der Maarel – Sales Manager ATPI

Suzanne van der Maarel has recently started as Sales Manager at ATPI and is active in both the Dutch as well as the Belgian market. She has an airline background and is therefore very familiar with the wishes and challenges that come with international business travel, both on a company as well as the individual traveler level

We will be happy to make an analysis and together with you look for a suitable solution for the safety of business travellers. Please feel free to contact me at: suzanne.vandermaarel@atpi.com