With the recent situation in Sudan causing thousands of British nationals to be stranded in the country, Towergate Health & Protection is urging employers to ensure they have a security evacuation strategy in place for all overseas employees working in all countries around the world.
Every country carries some level of risk for overseas employees
According to Sarah Dennis, head of international at Towergate Health & Protection, while Sudan is an extreme example of the issues that can affect an employee abroad, recent events such as the pension reform protests in France and electoral reform protests in Mexico demonstrate that every country carries some level of risk. Towergate Health & Protection is appealing to employers to make sure they have a strategy in place to support any and all employees abroad, wherever they are based.
Key areas employers should consider for overseas employees:
Towergate Health & Protection suggests four key areas that employers should consider to prepare for emergencies and protect their overseas employees:
Make the most of the knowledge of specialists, particularly those with local expertise, to assist with detailed emergency action and evacuation planning. An evacuation strategy should be put in place, regardless of how safe the country may seem at the time. It is vital to ensure that everyone is aware of the plan and where to find details if needed.
Local specialists and contacts can help to provide information and analysis of a changing situation in a given region, often ahead of any details provided on government websites. There are now also apps available to provide risk-level ratings and emergency alerts, which could be a vital form of communication in difficult times.
Support for overseas employees:
Security evacuation support may include advice and assistance from specialists like nurses, physicians, and former military special operations personnel. It can offer travel assistance and help if documents are unavailable due to a swift exit from the area. There are also experts who can provide decision analysis services and support.
Comprehensive support can include deployable medical personnel and specialist evacuation experts. Evacuations, extractions, and repatriation can be rapidly arranged to bring employees and their families to safety.
The importance of being prepared
Sarah Dennis emphasizes the importance of employers working with international specialists to provide not only health and wellbeing support for overseas employees but also access to emergency assistance in cases of civil unrest, kidnap and ransom, and if there is a need for evacuation or repatriation. She adds, “Our thoughts are with everyone caught up in the situation in Sudan and still trying to get home. The situation shows how quickly things can change, and being prepared is vital in supporting the safety of employees.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.