New IOSH Guidance - Managing Safely, Health and Security of Mobile Workers

24 January 2017

In collaboration with the International SOS Foundation, IOSH has published a new guide, Managing the safety, health and security of mobile workers which is reviewed here for the Sports Ground and Events Group as many of our members travel extensively for business.

If you did not know that statistically the most dangerous part of an overseas assignment is the taxi from the airport or that having a copy of a western women's magazine could be construed as pornographic material and lead to arrest in some countries, then this guide is a must read for the serious long haul traveller.

If as a company, you have no policy or guidance then this is a very good place to start looking for relevant content, although in places it is written more like an academic paper so does need to be adapted. For those that struggle to get senior management to take this issue seriously there is a good business case in the introduction.

The guide is comprehensive even considering, for example, some of the pitfalls that face LGBT employees in certain countries and how to avoid them. Most responsible event companies document key information on travelling employees and there is a very useful list on page 24. Some of the guidance points are debatable and reflect the fact that the guide was probably written before the current outbreak of attacks by jihadi inspired terrorists. For example, it advises that placing travellers at the end of a long corridor by the fire exit can make them feel vulnerable when arguably being next to a fire escape down a corridor can offer the best chance of escape from a terrorist attack. There is a good hotel check list on page 37 but it does not cover consideration of the hotel's location and external security measures. The section on serious crime has some good general advice but seems to ignore the prevalence of carjacking and similar crimes in some countries.

If you do not fancy reading all 96 pages, then the Appendix at the back has a working safely abroad action plan that offers a very useful starting point for companies and individuals to consider how to put together an international travel policy. It is not exhaustive and if the document were rewritten today it would have to give more consideration to the specific terrorist threat rather that the general political or social instability suggested.

The few omissions in this guide are easily outweighed by the solid, well thought out content that offers fact and concrete advice rather that generalisations which are so often the case with guidance of this nature. Every event company with an international portfolio should download and read it.