Survey: U.S. Business Travelers Say Firms Have a Responsibility to Protect Employees

EIGHTY percent of U.S. business travelers think their company has a legal obligation to ensure their safety while traveling abroad on business, yet almost half (46 percent) say they have no clear travel security policy at their firm, according to a survey by Control Risks, the business risk consultancy.

Control Risks found that 52 percent of U.S. employees who travel on business would consider legal action if they were not supported properly. "Increasingly, companies from all sectors face a potential legal responsibility to demonstrate duty of care towards employees," said Laura Winthrop, vice president of Control Risks' International Support and Analysis division. "Creating and maintaining a robust travel security program is an extremely important part of that. It will ensure the safety of employees while helping the firm to avoid costly legal and reputational fall-out if something goes wrong."

While travel security is a concern for employees, U.S. companies are not as prepared as they should be. More than one-third (36 percent) of business travelers have little confidence that their firm would be able to give them the correct advice in the event of an emergency while abroad. In addition, 54 percent carry no specific contact phone number for use in a crisis abroad and 22 percent have no idea who to alert in case of an emergency.

"As companies continue to globalize and move into emerging markets, threats to business travelers increase," Winthrop said. "This report tells us that employees feel more exposed to potential dangers but they don't have the support necessary to ensure their safety."

The business travel climate does not look like it will improve anytime soon, Control Risks stated. Forty-three percent of the respondents predict that the world will become a more dangerous place for business travelers over the next five years. In light of this, corporations should make a move to adopt travel security policies and procedures or review their current programs for three basic components: information, tracking and 24-hour support.

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