Industry Q&A: What do METS Companies Need to Know Before Sending Staff Overseas?

With more Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) companies looking to overseas regions for work during the downturn in the Australian mining sector, it's more important than ever to make sure your local staff are properly briefed before embarking on any travel. Whether it's a 5 day business trip, or a 2 year stay to set up a new international office, your team are your responsibility when they travel so it's critical to make sure they are prepared! 

Austmine caught up with Troy Lockyer, Managing Director of Lockforce, to get his advice for METS on how to go about this. Troy has over 19 years military experience, and has worked with resources companies across SE Asia, the Middle East, Africa, USA, South America and the Pacific region to develop security and corporate risk plans and training.

What are the 3 biggest risks companies need to be aware of when sending staff overseas for work, whether it’s a short business trip, or to live and work for months/years?

  1. Not having done any research and or risk assessments in relation to security and safety prior to deploying people to various locations, globally.
  2. The security and safety issues in which you will be deploying to and the area in which your staff will be working. A country brief or induction should apply to provide the people deploying with some important information and also demonstrating a duty of care from you, the employer. The cultural sensitivities involved, where they will be accommodated, points of contact they can rely upon for local support, embassy information, medical facilities etc
  3. A robust communication policy and procedure within a travel or journey management plan should be written, implemented and tested and exercised to promote a more travel safe and secure culture.

Who needs to be briefed before an overseas business trip? Why is it so important to ensure all relevant parties are briefed, not just the main traveller?

Everyone within your organisation should be briefed, whether they travel or not. This is to ensure if a traveller has been involved in some sort of incident or accident, people are aware and know how to respond, report and commence to support the traveller via various means and allocate various resources.

Are there particular regions that staff should be trained on, or should this apply for any overseas travel?

A general travel induction should be completed by everyone to ensure all personnel understand the policy, process and roles and responsibilities, as required. A further risk assessment should be done on countries that have a higher risk profile in which further information can be provided to the travellers.

What cultural implications need to be trained on if companies are looking to establish an office in a new overseas region?

People need to be aware of cultural differences and sensitives to prevent any potential issues or incidents. It also helps the travellers if they are aware of this as they will feel more welcomed by locals and also indicates they have taken the time to try and learn some of the cultural differences etc which is generally respected by the locals.

What would your top piece of advice be for an organisation that frequently has staff traveling internationally? 

Establish a travel or journey management plan, induction package prior to deployment, train staff on the processes involved and conduct regular training and testing to promote a more travel safety and security awareness culture within your organisation. 

This article appears courtesy of Austmine.

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