Safety first for mobile workforce.

Safety first for mobile workforce.

safety first

Sydney’s Martin Place at night


Safety first  matters are the key to survival and success while taking part in the global mobile workforce this year.

With a range of international relations concerns, new geopolitical hot buttons and health warnings being issued, working in the field is becoming hazardous. Mobile workers need to quickly consider the safety risks to address and mitigate to protect their health and wellbeing.

Safety first  is the new motto for business travel and the mobile workforce.

Safety firstRobert Walker, Head of Information and Analysis at International SOS and Control Risks (ISOS) writes that managing the safety, health and security of mobile workers means there are now additional risks involved to consider.

Protecting a diverse mobile workforce is a complex matter. As Walker writes “…many organisations are finding it challenging to manage the travel safety, health and security of their workers.”

A diverse composition of mobile workforce means there are additional associated risks involved. This is particularly the case with security threats heightened in the Asian Pacific region.

safety first

Safety first while at work

Walker writes, “… a responsible employer will understand that they have a moral imperative to protect their employees from harm, no matter where they work. The appropriate travel healthcare and safety support should ideally consist of three components:

  • assessing risk
  • providing appropriate advice on prevention measures
  • responsive assistance.”

“Implementing these components into an organisation’s overall travel risk management programme is pivotal for maintaining sufficient legal standards, ensuring a high standard of Duty of Care and mitigating risk.”

Safety first

Safety first while travelling

There are now more women travelling for business than ever before. Travelling in unfamiliar places presents unexpected risks. It is useful therefore to update information on how to mitigate the additional security risks which women face when travelling abroad.

The ISOS website says it’s “… important to consider the composition of an organisations’ mobile workforce to individually assess the possible risks. Adequate preparation and education, addressing the unique needs and risk exposure of mobile workers, is an important risk-mitigation step.”

Journeys by road particularly increase the risks for travellers. ISOS reports that, in 2014, road accidents were consistently listed in the top five reasons for medical evacuations for business travellers. The organisation says therefore that we need to raise awareness of, and reaction to, vehicle accidents as a driver and as a passenger.

safety first

Road safety in wet weather

Road safety isn’t just about being a safer driver though. Because mobile workers use roads whenever they travel, it’s important to be aware of and understand the risks, obtain current facts, and take steps to protect traveller’s safety.

As ISOS says, “… sometimes, the safest option is not to drive at all.”

In addition to these ‘on-the-road’ threats, mobile office workers are more vulnerable to cyber security threats and physical information security threats than their office-based counterparts. For example, ISOS asserts there is an increased potential for knife attacks for bag snatching with computer hardware.

Smartphone zombies

Work-based travel needs to be ‘incident-free’.

Therefore, ISOS suggests it’s important to learn how to identify potential cyber threats and information security threats. Its website offers guidance on how business travellers might reduce their exposure to the risk of data theft.

As well as safeguarding hardware and software in standard work settings, ISOS suggests that “anyone travelling to, or working in a medium or high-risk environment is a potential target for criminals and terrorists. Women travellers need to consider the kidnap risks they might face.”

In the event of a kidnap, ISOS says that workers need to know how to effectively cope with, and survive, captivity. The organisation lists a range of information on current WHS practices and development workshops to access online.

While we never wish bad things to happen to good people, it is better to prepare for an emergency than to be involved in an emergency situation with no safety plans in place.

Safety first  is the motto for business travel and the mobile workforce in 2017.

Text copyright Fiona Rothchilds with acknowledgement to ISOS.
Photo images by Fiona Rothchilds, ISOS and David Foote.
Uploaded 13 August 2017

Further information on addressing these security risks is available at the ISOS website:

The article ‘Protecting a diverse mobile workforce’ written by Robert Walker is at:

The ISOS Womens’ Travel Risk Pocket Guide is downloadable. To increasing your knowledge of the risks to address for female travellers, see:

Details on some road safety issues are listed at:

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