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March 24, 2022

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The 2022 State of Physical Access Control Report

Mitigating risks for travelling staff: Advice for the security department

With domestic and international business travel re-opening after various lockdowns, Craig Swallow, CEO at Vismo, looks at what an organisation’s security and H&S/HR departments can do to mitigate risks to their travelling employees.

Craig Swallow, CEO, Vismo

“Security” and “safety” go hand in hand, meaning that any employer with travelling staff needs to consider the risk profiles of each job category and, where appropriate, each employee.

Often, an employer also needs to consider the cost of risks from multiple departmental and job perspectives; for example the security department, H&S, HR, the employee’s departmental manager, and CFO or CRO (Chief Risk Officer).

A starting point, and to put risks into perspective and help to quantify them, is risk assessment, typically carried out by the H&S or HR department, or external specialists.

Execs will be familiar with risk assessments, but to recap, using the latest information from the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), “the minimum a business must do” is:

  • Identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
  • Decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
  • Take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk.

“Assessing risk,” the HSE adds, “is just one part of the overall process used to control risks in your workplace.”

Where risk is posed to the wellbeing or life of employees, senior management included, by travelling internationally or even domestically, the control and management of risks can come under the umbrella of the inhouse security department or external security specialist.

How can security experts help?

Security experts can help by implementing a means of communicating with employees across any geographic area, using a dedicated mass notification platform like Vismo Notify.

The tool is available to security personnel via a secure portal, where they can access the employee location platform. A dashboard gives access to all products and services that the platform links to. Notify enables employers to mass-communicate staff about critical incidents – anywhere, any time – that may affect the employees immediately or in the very near to near future. Communication is by secure/encrypted Vismo App or additionally by email, SMS and Text to Voice.

Two-way communication between employees and security personnel, via the app, using coded response options, means that employees can quickly acknowledge, and respond to, notifications with their current safety status.

An approach like this can greatly reduce, and help to manage, risk. In addition to using the tool to issue incident alerts, security personnel can send advice on how to be as safe as possible until help arrives if it’s required.

Compare the locations of staff in the context of known risks in those areas, and then warn staff on that basis, allowing risks to be graded and acted accordingly

To help with this point, we have partnered with companies that identify risks, including (i) Riskline, which tracks potential threats as they develop, using verified, independent risk assessments (ii) Dataminr, which detects the earliest signals of high-impact events and emerging risks from within publicly available data.

Security and emergency services, including the police and special services, which share common mapping systems with Vismo, can be called upon via the Vismo dashboard, or other communication channel, for help if it is required.

Deploy an app to employees’ smartphones, and to satellite tracking devices for any staff who will be out of the range of networks signals

The app should be tailored for use with Notify to allow it to operate seamlessly with the platform. With the app on their phone, not only can employees receive mass notifications, they can also alert their employer’s security department or outsourced security operation via its panic, or red alert, button. Advice and any necessary further help  can be provided as described above.

The app can also be used by staff for timed check-ins to any location – a building or open, larger area: an office, house, field, part of a town or city etc. If they don’t check out on the app within a pre-determined time, security personnel will be alerted and initiate a response. Geographical boundaries that employees are expected to enter and, later, leave, can be pre-defined through the use of geo-fencing, and seen by security personnel – and the employees – on their screens.

Be vigilant and knowledgeable about risks, those posed by Covid-19 and its variants, and political situations in different countries and regions, included

This point is key, of course, but is worth re-iterating. It’s easy to become familiar with the familiar, and day-to-day routine,  and let our guard down. Although tools like Dataminr, Riskline and Vismo’s solutions can prove invaluable to a security department, the element of what humans can do proactively should not be overlooked. Vigilance, allied with knowledge, is a powerful tool in its own right.


If you’d like to find out more about Vismo’s lone worker solutions, be sure to visit stand SH1474 at Safety and Health Expo, co-located alongside IFSEC International, this 17-19 May at London’s ExCeL! Register for your free ticket, here >>

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