Opinion

Safe, healthy and sustainable travel has become more important for OSH roles

Vincent-Ho-IOSH-President-ioshmagazine.com
IOSH President

International trade and travel for work bring particular safety and health concerns, challenges and responsibilities for employers, managers and OSH professionals.

Ensuring people travel and do business away from home safely and healthily, effectively and sustainably, is becoming more significant to our OSH roles as we support the success of our organisations in going global. 

Although I am based in Hong Kong, my role and responsibilities as IOSH president take me all over the world. I recently returned from meetings and events in Singapore, and I will be attending the American Society of Safety Professionals’ Conference in New Orleans, in June, and speaking at the ASEAN HSE Excellence 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in July, as well as the National Safety Conference in Melbourne, Australia, in August. 

IOSH staff and volunteers also often attend events, conferences and strategic meetings in cities and countries worldwide. In mid-May, IOSH representatives met organisations and stakeholders that share our values, influencing good practice in very different economies and societies – from Baku in Azerbaijan, to Berlin, Brussels and Bulgaria in Europe, to Chicago in the US, and to Johannesburg in South Africa. 

As we collaborate to influence and enhance how organisations look after their employees worldwide, IOSH takes seriously its own duty of care. This is all consistent with our daily work as champion, supporter, adviser, advocate and trainer for OSH professionals in organisations of all sizes. 

How well we understand our duty of care for managing the health, safety and wellbeing of remote and distributed workers can reflect qualities we need when working with our supply chains, across borders and time zones

We anticipate potential hazards and risks to employees who work off site away from their colleagues, whether it is in their home country or overseas. For distributed and remote workers, we provide practical travel-safety support, as well as protect and promote their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Just as important is how we support and train line managers to do this as well. It is part of our duty of care.

You can also find good advice about this, including a toolkit, in our Out of Sight, Out of Mind report and resources.

This year, our IOSH presidential team members are holding roundtable discussions with hundreds of directors of UK companies at Institute of Directors events. Two themes they are looking at are “The loneliness of the long-distance worker” and “Developing a robust supply chain”. 

There is a connection here with other ways in which we do business. 

How well we understand our duty of care for managing the health, safety and wellbeing of remote and distributed workers can reflect qualities we need when working with our supply chains, across borders and time zones.  

Enhancing the “people” element of sustainability, alongside environmental and economic considerations, is a vital area where OSH professionals can work with others to develop new ideas and strategies.

I wish you safe travels and hope many of you will join me for IOSH 2019 at the ICC in Birmingham, UK, on 16-17 September.

 

Vincent Ho is President of IOSH

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