How to prepare for emergency situations for overseas employees

Employers whose approach to sending employees overseas is to simply purchase international PMI are risking their staff’s safety and the productivity of the assignment, according to Jelf International. The company believes that employers have a duty of care that extends beyond insurance that will help employees manage emergency situations, should they occur.


Jelf International advises employers to take the following five steps:-

1.       Pre-assignment planning

This may include a risk assessment of the location, a briefing of the political and social situation as well as the risk of terrorism. Cultural training could also be included on how to behave and what to wear if pertinent to the destination. Pre-assignment health screening may also be necessary if the employee has any pre-existing medical conditions.

2.       Emergency protocols

The employee needs to be made aware about what they should do in an emergency situation and in particular, who to contact outside of office hours and by what means of communication. This needs to comprise a briefing about security, contingency planning, and evacuation should a natural disaster or political unrest occur for example.

3.       Buddy set-up

Even if two employees are located in different parts of the same country, a buddy system is useful as it encourages discussion about processes, cultural learnings and best practice.  A formalised buddy system also means employees can also support each other from an assignment point of view – where they may not have otherwise sought help.

4.       Schedule touch-points

Head office should also have regular touch points scheduled in so that an alarm can be raised if one of these contacts is missed.  These touch points also make it easer for an employer to understand if the employee is struggling mentally with the assignment or by being overseas.

5.       De-briefing

A debrief meeting which covers the provision of support, protocols and processes should be arranged separately to the debrief that covers the work assignment specifically. This will ensure that the theory of planning is actually successful in practice and that the employee felt safe and supported during their assignment.

Adam Harding, business development manager, Jelf International, said:

“In many cases overseas assignments are voluntary. Therefore to encourage staff to take up these opportunities, not only does the employee need to be comfortable with the levels of support that are provided when working in a different country, but so does their family. Including next of kin in the pre and post assignment planning can be a vital link in ensuring that the trip or placement is as productive as possible.”

Author: Editorial Team

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