The actual risk of terrorism is extremely low for most Australian businesses so they should be focusing on where the bulk of their people-risk lies.

Kel Donovan – Managing Principal, Dynamiq Strategy

The 2018 Lowy Institute poll revealed terrorism continues to present a serious threat in Australians’ minds. This year, terrorism is again the top-ranked threat, as it has been consistently in Lowy Institute polling.

Overall, 94 per cent of Australians surveyed see international terrorism as either a critical or important threat. Of those, 93 per cent say it is a threat because ‘terrorists could kill innocent Australian citizens in our cities’ and 65 per cent say ‘terrorism makes it unsafe to travel overseas’.

Australians’ feeling of safety is at its lowest level in the Lowy Institute’s 14-year polling history. In 2018, 78 per cent say they feel either ‘very safe’ or ‘safe’, a result 13 points lower than in 2005 when 91 per cent felt safe.

Australia is a very lucky country indeed, the real threat from terrorism is virtually non-existent. Yet the rising hysteria propagated by the media and government is causing a disproportionate level of anxiety within the community.

Rather than reinforcing media and government perspectives on global terrorism, organisations should be focusing on where the bulk of their people-risk lies. Most often it’s with employees that are asked to travel on assignment into uncontrolled environments such as business travellers and remote workers.

As an employer, assigning people to work overseas comes with three key obligations:

Duty of care: Employers retain their duty of care over employees working overseas. Interestingly, the duty of care extends around the clock for such assignments, regardless of whether the employee is engaged in work or recreational activities. Where the employer doesn’t have internal around-the-clock support resources, traveller assistance is often outsourced to resources like Dynamiq Assist who operate 24/7 to support travellers all over the globe.

Duty of disclosure: When a person is requested to travel to a location for work purposes, the employer is obliged to disclose all of the risks associated with travel to that location and the risks while present in that location. This requirement is usually managed by employers through pre-travel safety and security briefings.

Standard of care: Employers are also obliged to provide a standard of care commensurate with that of Australian standards when operating overseas. Where this is not possible, the employer must demonstrate they have provided the available care closest to Australian standards. Organisations such as Dynamiq Assist assess service providers around the globe and maintain a comprehensive database of health care providers that meet the standard for servicing its clients.

By identifying real risks to your people and empowering your people with information, training, and assistance, you can rest assured that you’ve done your part to ensure your people travel safely.

Contact Kel Donovan.

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