Many businesses, managers and travellers believe they have an effective travel compliance system in place, when in fact what they have is just a travel conformity program. This may sound like exactly the same thing, but the variance is significant and the consequences could be dire for businesses and travellers.
Conformity is uniform behaviour in accordance with socially accepted conventions. Travel conformity is policy, standards and procedures invented/created by management, departments or companies for the purpose of having their people do what they want them to do. This includes such practices as:
- Cheapest available fare
- Cheapest available hotel
- Preferred providers
- Managed booking channels
- Pre approval of travel/expenditure
- Capped spending on hotels, transport, accommodation, etc
- Administrative paperwork
- Acknowledgement of policy, procedure, etc
Compliance is the state or fact of according with or meeting rules and standards, such as statutory regulations. Travel compliance is development, implementation, management and verification of policy and procedures [determined by federal, state or regulatory bodies] in accordance with the specific, mandatory workplace/occupational requirements. This includes elements such as:
- ISO 9001:2008
- ISO 1401:2004
- ISO 31000:2009
- ISO 27001
- AS/NZS 4801
- Codes of practice
It includes the acknowledgement, tracking and adherence to specific work safe systems and requirements for permanent, temporary and mobile/travel workplace environments.
Site Safety Forms: Checklist
Each site, location or work environment is required to have it’s own unique compliance documentation, specific to the work undertaken and individual/s engaged in work at this location. It is not a “one-size-fits-all” option and must include aspects such as briefings, inductions, verification, etc.
Workplace Health and Safety [WHS] Management System Audit Checklist
All forms, checklists, policies, procedures are a subset of an overarching safe work system, verified and audited for consistence and actual compliance. In accordance with the statutory requirements for that specific law, regulation or standard.
Lone Worker, Remote and Traveller Policy
If you have travellers, lone workers or remote employment environments, then you are likely required to have a policy and supporting procedure, specific to these employment demands. This is not administrative in nature, that is “Don’t spend more than $xx on accommodation“, “Travel declaration forms are to be complete and approved before travel” and so on, they are operational and prescriptive in terms of what must be done, who is responsible and what takes place at each stage.
If you don’t have this, you have a travel conformity system, not a travel compliance system.
Travel Safety Management
It doesn’t matter how detailed, prescriptive or inclusive you set conformity travel policies or procedures are, if they are not mapped against the relevant occupational/workplace health and safety legislation, standards and compliance requirements, you don’t have a travel safety management system in place. It is this deficit that will result in injury or claims and are these statutory compliance requirements that you will use as your defence or form part of the prosecution/claim against your managers and/or business.
Business travellers are increasingly more aware of what their entitlements are, the safe work standards required and options for making claims or filing for compensation as a result of a business not providing occupational safety systems that protect the employee, fulfil their duty of care and apply equally to travel as it does to other ‘traditional’ workplace/occupational environments such as offices. Unfortunately, less managers and travel agents/providers are aware of this oversight or vulnerability.
5 Minute Test
Extract your existing “Travel Compliance” documentation for 2 separate trips. One from Sydney to New York, the other from Los Angeles to London.
Is the documentation different for each location/journey?
Can you identify exactly which document or part thereof is related to the statutory requirements for your business and safe work systems?
Can you prove when the statutory requirement was last checked/updated and the relating document checked against the date of review terms of reference?
Is the documentation, content and outcome specific to the traveller undertaking the journey?
Is this content, briefing or induction documented against the task and individual?
Can your business at any point demonstrate the safe work system [as per statutory requirements] specific to the destination, trip and traveller?