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Duty of Care

10 Tips – Keeping Meeting Attendees Healthy, Safe, and Secure

Are you preparing to send employees to far off and unfamiliar lands for a meeting, incentive or event?  All companies and associations have a Duty of Care – a moral and legal obligation to protect their employees and meeting attendees from risks and threats. When employees travel internationally, fulfilling this often-unknown obligation can be quite complex.

Meeting planners, as well as those who make decisions to send employees to events, play a critical role in safeguarding travellers and should follow best practices when planning and executing a gathering in an unfamiliar environment.

  • Increase awareness: If you are a planning a corporate meeting, communicate with internal divisions, departments and employees to ensure all parties understand the company’s Duty of Care obligations and each employee’s responsibility to act in a safe and prudent manner (Duty of Loyalty).
  • Plan with key stakeholders: Brief security, human resources, and legal teams within your organisation to map out each group’s role in the Duty of Care process. Use a scenario that represents a known risk associated with the meeting location or activity, conduct a planning session in which protocol, responsibilities, and desired actions are discussed.
  • Expand policies and procedures: Examine existing guidelines and consider adding additional policies or procedures that specifically address risks associated with the meeting or event.
  • Track travelling employees at all times: Many companies today use travel agency data to monitor and evaluate employee travel plans.

More robust systems allow you to instantly communicate with employees via e-mail or text message in case of an emergency or travel disruption and send pre-arrival information.  Does your company offer 24/7 support ?

  • Communicate, educate, and train: Clearly express expectations, guidelines, and resources to all participating employees and attendees. Let them know what assistance is available to them in case of an emergency. This can be done during pre-event communications brochures, e-mail, or Web-based training.
  • Assess risk prior to every meeting: Engage your company’s security team or security assistance partner to conduct a thorough review of potential threats in and around the meeting or event location.
  • Implement an employee emergency-response system: Understand your company’s process for contacting employees and their families following an emergency. Make sure travellers are aware of their responsibilities for contacting the company with an “I’m OK” message following an emergency event. Similarly, be sure to have an emergency medical response plan in place to manage a trauma or illness at the event location.
  • Implement additional management controls: Work hand in hand with human resources, finance, and legal departments to exercise controls that reinforce Duty of Care.
  • Practice, practice, practice: A crisis management plan works only if everyone involved knows their roles.
  •  Conduct due diligence: Make sure that Duty of Care practices are standard operating procedure for all vendors, subcontractors, and partners.

Source : Robert L. Quigley, MD : International SOS : http://meetingsnet.com

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