It’s not uncommon to see the two terms ‘duty of care’ and ‘travel risk management’ used interchangeably, even by travel professionals. They do work together, to keep your employees safe while traveling for business, but there is one major difference between the two. In another addition of our definition series, we will be defining these two terms, as well as their differences.

Defining duty of care

‘Duty of care’ can be defined as the moral and legal obligation to take responsibility for the safety and well being of your employees. In relation to travel is often tricky to define, often making it a popular subject in the business travel communities.

Businesses have an obligation to their employees to provide a safe work environment. This is mainly due to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. It is what requires employers to cover workers compensation if an employee is injured while on the company premises or nearby. But what happens when your employees are representing your business, but not under the company roof? Is there an obligation to keep them safe? This is where duty of care gets a bit murky. Unlike workers compensation regulations, there are no defining law, rules or standards for businesses to adhere to when it comes to business travelers. Which is where travel risk management steps in. 

Defining travel risk management

Travel risk management is the course of action used to help provide duty of care for your travelers. There are no laws or regulations that tell a company the specific steps they need to take when it comes to protecting their employees while traveling on business. Which makes the process of protecting duty of care a tricky one for companies. On one hand, they can rely on minimal coverage, only accruing costs should something arise. On the other hand, companies care about their employees and don’t want to see them in harm’s way or injured.

It is finding this middle ground for companies within travel risk management plans that can be confusing. There is no one right way to conduct travel risk management. Additionally, it seems to always be evolving as advanced technology unfolds. For example, our SecurityLogic tool delivers real-time security data to monitor potential risks likes weather, airport delays, or security issues. It also offers the ability to quickly locate any traveler and immediately verify their safety with our Safe Check feature.

Anything else I should know?

It’s easy to think of only catastrophic events when discussing duty of care and travel risk management. Hurricanes, terrorist attacks, civic unrest, for example. This often leaves everyday or common risks out of the scope of your plans.  Things like food poisoning, non-violent petty crime, or minor traffic accidents are more likely to occur to your travelers than a tsunami or other major event. Some specifications can be included in an effort to reduce these more common risks. For example, if your travelers arrive very late at night or early in the morning, they are likely too fatigued to drive and may result in a car accident. Your company could include in your travel policy to provide transportation from the airport within these instance. 

Interested in learning more about other travel management terms? Check out our posts defining the GDS and corporate travel policies. Contact us to learn more about Christopherson’s unique solutions to provide travel risk management for your employees and deliver peace of mind.

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Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee

Kevin is a Business Development Executive from Montgomery, Alabama. He has more than 15 years of experience in the travel industry, with a specialized interest in higher education and government contract travel management. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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