Duty of Care ...
Providing Adequate Security & Protection for Employees
This year marks the 25th anniversary of my life in the security consulting and investigation arena. That equates to almost 4 200 site security audits or operational audits completed. Shit! That's a fair amount of time spent reviewing and assisting clients to develop effective loss control and security plans.
After all this time, there is one thing that still surprises me daily, and that’s the common problem of companies or security managers failing to fully implement the portfolios around "Duty of Care". I find this particularly concerning when one considers that the companies I consult to operate in one of the most crime ridden, hostile environments on the continent.
So, what should you be doing to ensure the safety, wellbeing and security of your human assets?
Well to start let's look at who within a company or organisation should actually "own" the portfolio of "Duty of Care" and under who's department it should "live".
More often than not, when I ask this question I get a vague answer along the lines of “Security”, or maybe “Human Resources”, and sometimes even “Senior Management”.
The truth is most companies I help don't know!
Understanding the host of portfolios and security strategies related to those portfolios is really what brings about this confusion.
Take, for example, the simple issue of business travel:
- Who checks the risk level or portfolio of the town, city and region?
- How safe is the hotel, and what intel is this safety rating based on?
- Is the area known for hostile activity?
- Where is the closest emergency room to the hotel?
- What payment method do they require for admission?
- What transport is used, and how reliable are they?
- Does the hotel have a security manager on staff?
- What is the current political, socio- and religious-climate at the time of travel?
- Is additional security or VIP protection required?
- If so, is this deployed from a local company or do they travel from your base?
- Does the principal travelling have any allergies or medical requirements?
- In the event of an emergency, who will have this medical information at hand?
These questions apply to every business that expects its employees to travel. However, as you can see, numerous issues need to be considered. These can easily be interpreted as being the responsibility of one of several departments in a company – so who takes charge?
My position on "Duty of Care" (DOC) is that it should be owned by the Head of Security if there is one. In companies that don't have an actual Security Director or equivalent, the Head of Human Resources must own it.
What is critical though, is that the responsibility of a company to provide adequate and reasonable security be acknowledged and accepted. Creating questionnaires and documentation for your DOC portfolio can be challenging, but a company like ours will happily assist you.
Don't wait until something happens, great security managers and practitioners are always two steps ahead. Be great!
Want to remain informed and ahead in your field?
Follow Kyle "The Fox" Condon's blog hosted on www.investigators.co.za.
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