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Travel safety should fall under HR umbrella

Employees across the UK feel their employers should take more responsibility for their safety when they're travelling for work.

Research from Opinium found almost two-thirds (62%) of workers felt their company should do more to keep them safe while abroad, while only 22% said they received check regular check-ins from their bosses to ensure their safety.

This proved to be a deal breaker for many employees, as 67% said they would change employers if they thought their safety when travelling wasn’t a priority.

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The International Standards Organisation released its travel risk management guidance in September 2021, which detailed who should be responsible for employee safety abroad.

Kate Fitzpatrick, regional security director EMEA at World Travel Protection, said HR's role in employee safety should not be underestimated. 

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: "Ultimately accountability sits with top management. However, the newly released guidance from the International Standards Organisation doesn’t put responsibility on a specific person or job role, rather it says that on a day-to-day basis the ’Travel risk management (TRM) function should be managed by a person or team with necessary competence.’

"Unfortunately, this means that in some organisations it can fall between the gaps, with no-one taking on responsibility.

"As TRM concerns your staff, HR should definitely be involved but each organisation will need to clearly define who is best placed to lead and who can support. This could include security, health and safety, insurance or travel. What is essential is that the conversation happens in the first place."

Larger businesses with between 50 and 249 employees were more likely (57%) to outsource travel arrangements to a travel risk management company, compared to 25% for microbusinesses with 10 or fewer employees.

The research also showed that workers felt overly confident having a British passport, as 67% of workers under 34 thought this gave them special privileges when travelling.

Opinium surveyed 500 UK business travellers in May 2022.