The business travel compliance failure – Travel safety and duty of care

The business travel compliance failure- Travel safety and duty of care

Travel Health and safetyCompliance

Many businesses, managers and
travellers believe they have an effective travel compliance system in
place, when in fact what they have is just a travel conformity program.
This may sound like exactly the same thing, but the variance is
significant and the consequences could be dire for businesses and

Travel Conformity

Conformity is uniform behaviour in accordance with socially accepted
conventions. Travel conformity is policy, standards and procedures
invented/created by management, departments or companies for the purpose
of having their people do what they want them to do. This includes such
practices as:

  • Cheapest available fare
  • Cheapest available hotel
  • Preferred providers
  • Managed booking channels
  • Pre approval of travel/expenditure
  • Capped spending on hotels, transport, accommodation, etc
  • Administrative paperwork
  • Acknowledgement of policy, procedure, etc

Travel Compliance

Compliance is the state or fact of according with or meeting rules
and standards, such as statutory regulations. Travel compliance is
development, implementation, management and verification of policy and
procedures [determined by federal, state or regulatory bodies] in
accordance with the specific, mandatory workplace/occupational
requirements. This includes elements such as:

  • ISO 9001:2008
  • ISO 1401:2004
  • ISO 31000:2009
  • ISO 27001
  • FCPA
  • AS/NZS 4801
  • Codes of practice

It includes the acknowledgement, tracking and adherence to specific
work safe systems and requirements for permanent, temporary and
mobile/travel workplace environments.

Site Safety Forms: Checklist

Each site, location or work environment is required to have it’s own
unique compliance documentation, specific to the work undertaken and
individual/s engaged in work at this location. It is not a
“one-size-fits-all” option and must include aspects such as briefings,
inductions, verification, etc.

 Site Safety FormsChecklistIntlligent TravelImageWHSHealth and Safety

Workplace Health and Safety [WHS] Management System Audit Checklist

All forms, checklists, policies, procedures are a subset of an
overarching safe work system, verified and audited for consistence and
actual compliance. In accordance with the statutory requirements for
that specific law, regulation or standard.

 WHS Management System Audit ChecklistIntelligent TravelImage

Lone Worker, Remote and Traveller Policy

If you have travellers, lone workers or remote employment
environments, then you are likely required to have a policy and
supporting procedure, specific to these employment demands. This is not
administrative in nature, that is “Don’t spend more than $xx on accommodation“, “Travel declaration forms are to be complete and approved before travel” and so on, they are operational and prescriptive in terms of what must be done, who is responsible and what takes place at each stage.
If you don’t have this, you have a travel conformity system, not a travel compliance system.

Travel Safety Management

It doesn’t matter how detailed, prescriptive or inclusive you set
conformity travel policies or procedures are, if they are not mapped
against the relevant occupational/workplace health and safety
legislation, standards and compliance requirements, you don’t have a
travel safety management system in place. It is this deficit that will
result in injury or claims and are these statutory compliance
requirements that you will use as your defence or form part of the
prosecution/claim against your managers and/or business.
Business travellers are increasingly more aware of what their
entitlements are, the safe work standards required and options for
making claims or filing for compensation as a result of a business not
providing occupational safety systems that protect the employee, fulfill
their duty of care and apply equally to travel as it does to other
‘traditional’ workplace/occupational environments such as offices.
Unfortunately, less managers and travel agents/providers are aware of
this oversight or vulnerability.

5 Minute Test

Extract your existing “Travel Compliance” documentation for 2
separate trips. One from Sydney to New York, the other from Los Angeles
to London.

Is the documentation different for each location/journey?

Can you identify exactly which document or part thereof
is related to the statutory requirements for your business and safe work

Can you prove when the statutory requirement was last
checked/updated and the relating document checked against the date of
review terms of reference?

Is the documentation, content and outcome specific to the traveller undertaking the journey?

Is this content, briefing or induction documented against the task and individual?
Can your business at any point demonstrate the safe work
system [as per statutory requirements] specific to the destination, trip
and traveller?

If you answered YES to ALL of these questions, you have a Travel Compliance system, if you answered NO to ANY of these questions, you a Travel Conformity system 


About Tony Ridley
Travel health, safety, security and risk management expert.

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