What Is Duty of Care?

Image courtesy of Zero Foundation Africa

Duty of Care refers to the moral and legal obligations that employers have to their workforce to maintain their wellbeing, security, and safety at home and abroad. They may be short or long-term employees, aid workers, volunteers, contractors, or family members.

Globalization is allowing an increased number of people to travel and work across borders. Recent studies show that over the past decade there has been a 25% increase in international assignees. Studies also predict a surprising 50% growth in mobile workers by 2020. Wherever workers are located, organizations must address concerns such as illness, injury, accidents, crime and natural disasters. A preventative approach is always best to reduce security risks and incidents.

The initial step is for a mission sending organization or company to create and decide upon important strategies for protecting the safety, health, legal status, and security of remote or international assignees and travelers. The core executive responsibility is ownership and implementation of such strategies.

Organizations and companies that successfully manage their responsibilities to care for international travelers and assignees have put into place certain strategies:

  • Development of policies and procedures
    • Ex: Be up-to-date on national occupational health and safety requirements where the individual will be assigned.
  • Strategic planning: risk assessment
    • Ex: Identify and assess the risks, tools for mitigation, responsibilities for action and means for evaluating measures taken.
  • Communicating, educating and training their employees
    • Ex: Provide training with a view towards preventing an incident as well as protection from, response to and mitigation of a potential incident.
  • Maintaining contact
    • Ex: Locate and communicate with the individual during an emergency and provide up to date information on local health, medical, security, social and legal issues.

For more information on Duty of Care, visit the International SOS Foundation.

MissionSafe has integrated risk-management tools and other resources to help your mission sending organization with Duty of Care.

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