The International SOS Foundation, the global not-for-profit organisation striving to protect the health, wellbeing and safety of people at work, and leading Scottish commercial law firm Burness Paull, have published the ‘Sending Workers Abroad’ white paper. Detailing the Duty of Care required by Scottish companies for workers travelling on business and overseas assignments, the paper also provides guidance on risk aversion strategies designed to improve working conditions worldwide.
‘Sending workers abroad: the employer’s duties in relation to health, safety and security’ explores the multi-layered relationship between the UK’s health and safety legal framework and the global workplace. It highlights the legal responsibility of organisations to ensure the health, safety and security of workers is safeguarded at all times.
Tim Willis, Security Director UK & Ireland at International SOS said “Scottish companies need to be proactive and conduct thorough risk assessments before sending workers abroad. This new paper outlines the organisation’s responsibilities towards the health and safety of their mobile workforce, as well as preventive principles, including travel risk policies, risk assessments, training, tracking and communication.
“By providing a jointly developed paper with the legal experts at Burness Paull we are able to provide organisations with trusted best practice in the planning, preparation, support and debriefing stages of a successful business assignment.”
The study reflects on existing legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HWSA), as well as those coming into force in 2017. This includes the ability of Fatal Accident Inquiries (FAIs) to investigate the deaths of Scottish nationals killed while working abroad.
Case study evidence is analysed within the white paper, including the landmark case of Palfrey v Ark Offshore Limited, which found in favour of the deceased oil worker’s family after he contracted malaria in West Africa. The verdict was that the company failed to take reasonable care to ensure his safety.
The collaborative paper also explains the essential checklist of health and security measures that make up the Travel Risk Management Toolbox, an essential checklist of health and security risk measures that organisations can use to help fulfil their responsibilities to their mobile workforce, in order to reduce the risks facing international assignees.
Rona Jamieson, Partner at Burness Paull, said: “While health and safety duties in the UK are well understood, there can be confusion over how these apply when a job requires travel abroad. International travel has never been easier and opportunities to work abroad, in remote or unfamiliar locations brings unique challenges. Whether you have workers travelling on short trips or working on longer rotations from the UK there are certain legal responsibilities that must be adhered to.
“This comprehensive white paper considers these responsibilities and will use practical tips to bolster confidence in, and understanding of the importance of an effective global health and safety framework.”