It is not uncommon for business travellers to also use popular retail travel apps or online services but their use can expose the business traveller and their company to significant risk if not consistent with legal workplace safety governance and that of risk management procedures. The result can be injury or death for the traveller and litigation and potential negligence claims against the company and/or it’s managers.

Safe or risky? Business travel safety

If a company can’t demonstrate adequate safety and control measures for a process [this includes commercial vehicle transport services] that places employee’s at risk of injury [physical assault, unsafe vehicles, accidents, etc] then the company could be found not to be providing a safe work environment and/or process.

With the cost of business travel expenditure documented within the travel expense report, and official reimbursement provided by the company, this is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the company officially/unofficially condones a travel practice. This includes the use of travel apps such as Uber. Travel management companies or expense management services that integrate into the use or tracking of expenditure of Uber costs, contribute to this unqualified endorsement and possible liability for the business. Expense management is not workplace health and safety.

Health and safety due diligence and demonstration of the use of adequate risk control measures  also takes into account cost. If the evidence is that a business traveller foregoes effective workplace health and safety controls [use of licensed and regulated commercial transport services] for the sake of saving $5-10 and is involved in a foreseeable risk event, such as a motor vehicle accident, physical assault, then the company will have a very, very difficult time demonstrating adequate health and safety compliance or provision of basic duty of care standards.

Any crowdsourcing, public or retail designed travel app  that taps into service providers that are not regulated by a central system, endorsed by a government administration and delivers consistent, safe results to business travellers can not be reasonably considered as an acceptable business travel safety risk. Uber appears to fall into this category. While similar hazards/threats exist within official and regulated public transport systems, there is far more evidence and predictability to permit their use, in certain circumstances, well above and beyond that of those that just happened to be nearby and registered in the same app as a provider.

travel safety analysis.Airport commute.rating.Intelligent Travel.ExampleFor any business that conducts standardised job safety analysis [which is required] that identifies hazards associated with a particular work task, then evaluates appropriate control measures, that once implemented reduces the uncontrolled risk to an acceptable level, then on the other hand uses a mobile app that provides direct access to an unregulated provider makes a mockery of your process and exposing your business travellers and business to unnecessary risk and liability.

If anywhere in your business, you require your company vehicles to be routinely serviced, inspected, operated by a qualified and licensed driver with adequate background screening and the vehicle to be driven in a particular manner, then how could you possibly approve the use of a mobile app such as Uber when none of these elements are provided nor mandated by the commercial transport provider?

We recommended business travellers only use commercially regulated or approved service providers in the location of travel.

We recommend businesses and their travel/risk managers educate their travellers on the specific risk of using ‘cost saving’ retail travel apps that expose both parties to unnecessary risk along with prohibiting the use of these apps and reimbursement of cost if incurred.

Only when a public or commercial transport service can openly, consistently and adequately demonstrate its own safety and risk management process should a business traveller consider using their service. This includes crowdsourcing or retail travel apps.


Travel Safety Experts
Travel Safety Experts

Travel health, safety, security and risk management experts