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It’s Travel Safety, Not Travel Security

Nearly all businesses think, discuss, manage or undertake travel in some shape or form. Some manage multiple aspects of travel, including security and the popular term of “Duty of Care.” But despite this growing trend, most travel and risk managers still have the wrong idea on what must be managed and what should be managed.

Statutory compliance requirements, regulations and worst case scenarios that lead to prosecution or legal disputes all reside within the realm of safety, when it comes to business travel and the welfare of the individual when they travel for business. That is, the laws, standards and very specific requirements for management of people, safety and workplaces are all established safety compliance requirements. Not security.

In fact, occupational security has little to no regulatory controls that are internationally recognised, mandatory and will lead to prosecution if misadventure befalls employees or company staff when travelling. There are security standards, which are professional consensus platforms, but no actual laws that are uniquely security, for the most part.

Businesses need to be managing travel safety as a priority. This requires safe work systems, formulaic processes, standardised hazard identification, inductions, appropriate controls and most importantly context in regards to the traveller and the travel undertaken. It can’t be “templated” with the same cookie cutter response rolled out across the entire organisation, for all employees, for all trips, regardless of personal or journey context.

Addressing travel safety in this manner will account for nearly all the security issues and concerns required along the way but ensure the business and management are compliant first, rather than distracted by “security theater.”

Evidence required for compliance and defence is safety based. There are very evolved, prescriptive and detailed safe work practices that are routinely applied to physical workspaces, which are also required for temporary or mobile workspaces utilised more and more by business travellers. There should not be travel and non-travel distinctions between how you manage safety and risk. Travel is an extension not a special circumstance.

A simple, yet effective, compliance check for any business is to create a checklist for all the physical workspace safety procedures, standards, and control functions you have for your business, then assess how many of these exact same processes are conducted for each and every journey, specific to each and every traveller.

The results are often very telling, and help organizations prioritize this dangerous oversight with a roadmap for implementation in order to achieve the compliance they should have had in the first instance, rather than be mislead by marketing, convenience, fear, uncertainty or doubt.
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Tony Ridley is the CEO of Intelligent Travel, which created and developed a national travel health, safety, security and risk management system and a compliance process for business travellers.

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1 Comment

  1. Tony, thanks for the sound advice and information, I agree very much with many of your travel safety issues. On a side note, one of the core tenants missing in information security is putting in place good-quality documentation so that all employees – both end users of systems along with I.T. engineers – have a strong understanding of the use and application of information systems as a whole. A large part of being successful in thwarting growing cyber security attacks is just knowing what tools you have in place, actions to take, and other best practices – it’s really that straightforward. Many businesses, however, have failed to spend the time and money on such basic, core security mandates, which is both troubling and frustrating.


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