As a leader of your organization, you’re likely familiar with the concept of “duty of care.” But what does it really mean, beyond the surface level of providing a safe working environment for your team? Let’s explore the practical and legal implications of the obligation employers have to their employees’ safety and well-being, as well as measures you can take to avoid negligence.


What Is Duty of Care?

At its core, having a duty of care policy means taking all reasonable steps to ensure the health, safety and overall well-being of your employees. This entails safeguarding their welfare while at their regular workplaces, during business outside the office, both at home and abroad, and clarifying your responsibilities to your employees during any personal days they may tack on to either end of their work trip, also known as bleisure travel. In addition, employers also have a duty to disclose to their employees all relevant risks and dangers that could potentially impact their safety and security while on a work trip.


Your duty of care to your team encompasses several key aspects, including:

  • Providing and maintaining a safe physical work environment.
  • Ensuring compliance with relevant industry standards and statutory safety regulations.
  • Conducting thorough risk assessments within the work environment and executing risk mitigation steps as necessary.
  • Protecting individuals from discrimination, bullying and harassment.
  • Providing appropriate training to equip employees with necessary skills.
  • Creating opportunities for team members to voice concerns and provide feedback.


A young female business traveler on a train talks on her phone and works on her laptop.


The Legal Dimension of Duty of Care

The legal requirements surrounding duty of care can vary depending on the country and sometimes even within different regions of the same country. For instance, in the United States, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets out several obligations and protocols to protect employees. In the United Kingdom, health and safety laws are regulated by the Health and Safety Executive. Employers in both countries are obligated to adhere to legislation, such as conducting risk assessments for individuals in high-risk categories, and providing necessary equipment, training and policies to mitigate threats to employee well-being.


Evolving Requirements

Some employers are behind in their duty of care obligation. Many others haven’t re-examined their duty of care requirements since the onset of the pandemic, which cut an entirely new facet to this obligation. The benchmark to meet your duty of care responsibility has changed and will continue to evolve for the post-pandemic workforce.


Contact us to learn how Global Rescue can help you fulfill your duty of care obligation.


In part two of this article, we’ll explore how companies can begin to craft a duty of care policy that meets, and exceeds, their obligation to their employees.