New Zealand’s Health and Safety at Work Act, which came into effect on April 4 2016, has implications for every employer in New Zealand.
And although it’s unlikely that we’ll know the full significance of the new legislation across all industries and business activities – including corporate travel – until specific cases have been tested through the court system, what is clear is that companies will need to demonstrate a proactive approach to health and safety for all employees and workers irrespective of their physical workplace.
When it comes to corporate travel the new Act has two clauses that appear to be significant:
20: Meaning of workplace which "includes any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work."
30: Management of risks which talks about "if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risks to health and safety, to minimise those risks so far as is reasonably practicable."
With this broader definition of the “workplace” and focus on risk management, it may be timely to consider whether your organisation has a proactive risk management plan working hand-in-hand with your corporate travel programme.
Recent adverse events around the globe have reinforced how important information is when it comes to traveller safety – but regardless of health scares such as the Zika virus, ongoing conflicts, natural disasters, or acts of terrorism such as those in Belgium and France – New Zealand companies still need to do business around the world to remain competitive.
At APX, we have always taken this responsibility extremely seriously and have a raft of traveller security measures built in to our service including:
- Our partnership with American Express Global Business Travel includes a preferred global hotel programme, with each hotel carefully vetted for factors including safety of the location.
- The ability to automatically and instantly send all travel itineraries to International SOS or other risk management providers, for clients who choose to use these services. This includes any changes to itineraries.
- Our team of New Zealand-based travel experts offer assistance 24/7, 365 days a year and can be contacted to adapt itineraries or provide advice when needed.
But our new Amadeus Mobile Messenger product offers our most powerful tool yet to give businesses the means to ensure their employees are well supported every step of the way when travelling for work.
APX Head of Product and Innovation Andrew Barnard says Amadeus Mobile Messenger is a tool which, in light of the increased liability for employers via the new Health and Safety at Work Act, allows businesses “to be able to demonstrate that they’re looking after their employees while they’re travelling”.
APX is the first travel management company in Australasia to run Amadeus Mobile Messenger and is progressively rolling it out to all clients. All companies using APX are due to have access by the middle of 2016 and all new companies will be able to use Mobile Messenger as soon as they come on board.
So how does Mobile Messenger work and what functionality does it offer?
“Essentially what happens is that there’s a global risk management company called Riskline which is constantly monitoring global events via 160,000 individual sources in 220 countries. All that data is synchronized via Mobile Messenger with the itinerary information of APX travellers, which is up-to-date 24/7,” Andrew says.
“Mobile Messenger knows where all our travellers are and who will be arriving at a particular destination within a specified time period. When a risk is identified, it can proactively and automatically send a message to the traveller, as well as the APX risk management team and also the company itself if that’s how they’ve configured the system to work for them.
“That message can be sent via SMS, email or if they have downloaded the Amadeus Mobile Messenger app to their mobile phone, the message can be pushed out directly through the app.”
These features of Mobile Messenger are automated so travellers and destinations are effectively monitored 24/7 – but it also means that warnings and advice can be tailored to specific individuals and events and graded so that companies can decide what type of event would trigger an alert.
“We have it set up so that as a standard, the traveller will be contacted automatically if any event is categorised as ‘high’ in terms of criticality,” Andrew says.
“But the levels run from ‘low’ to ‘extreme’ and companies can adapt the system so they notify their travellers at any of those points.”
In the event of a serious alert, the automated message is then followed up by contact from APX – which is “where the serious smarts” of Mobile Messenger kick in, according to Andrew.
Its ability to instigate two-way messaging means the traveller can be contacted to ask if he or she requires assistance, and a location request means that a traveller can let APX know their exact geo-location using the GPS functionality on their mobile phone.
“They push a button and then you can actually see to within a few metres physically where they are on a map at that exact second,” Andrew says.
“For risk management that’s vital because when using other tools, we might have known where someone was flying into and which airport they were flying out of, but we would have little idea of exactly where they were when they were on the ground.”
Clearly in this day and age, an app which shows your geo-location may give rise to privacy and security fears, but Andrew says that the decision to send back the information of where they are is totally at the traveller’s discretion. Furthermore the location sent is a real time ‘snapshot’ of that particular moment and not an ongoing tracking system.
Even before a traveller sets off on a business journey, Mobile Messenger is designed to provide pre-trip advisories which can be set up for individual itineraries.
“The pre-trip advisories have all sorts of information around how to conduct yourself at a destination and latest risk messages with summaries around crime, political stability, conflict, natural risks. They can also be printed out as a PDF and linked as a URL for easy reference wherever you happen to be working.”
“What we’re saying is that we can keep people informed because I think that’s what modern travellers want most – to know what’s happening and have timely information that’s personalised and relevant to them,” Andrew says.
“And that’s why Mobile Messenger is so good – because the application knows where the traveller is, you’re not spamming people with useless information, you’re giving them information that’s relevant to their itinerary right there and then.”
For new business enquiries, contact APX Head of Business Development Garrick Loft by emailing Garrick.Loft@apx.co.nz.
To discuss customising Mobile Messenger for your company requirements email Andrew.Barnard@apx.co.nz
Disclaimer: This article is not intended as legal advice. Organisations should seek their own legal advice on their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2016.
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