Amsterdam – The International SOS Foundation and Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) announce a collaboration to help mitigate road accidents faced by business travellers and expatriates working abroad.
The recently released World Health Organization ‘Global Status Report on Road Safety’ states that 1.24 million people are killed each year on our roads. This equates to more than 3,300 preventable deaths every day. The GRSP works in partnership with governments, businesses and civil society to engage in practical and proven interventions to help reduce accidents and deaths on our roads.
Road accidents feature in the top 5 causes* for medical evacuations of travellers, expatriates and assignees. Arnaud Vaissié, Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of International SOS and Chairman of the International SOS Foundation states: “The new partnership fits with our emphasis on Duty of Care and the risk mitigation agenda to help international companies and organizations to reduce costly aeromedical evacuations, many of which are entirely preventable. We aim to work closely with the GRSP to study and understand how to reduce road risks and provide proactive education to global workforces.”
As a leading cause of injury and death for employees working abroad, road safety is an important occupational health and safety issue. Emerging markets and remote locations often can present high endemic road risks to business travellers. Arnaud Vaissié adds: “We have found that business travellers who self-drive in lower risk destinations are prone to traffic accidents as well. Travel fatigue and unfamiliarity with local road rules and driving culture can contribute to incidents.”
Actions planned by the International SOS Foundation and GRSP include developing campaigns and training to educate travellers and expatriates. Assessing and applying road risk ratings for countries and conducting research on road risk prevention are also planned.
“Because road travel is such a common everyday activity, there is a psychological tendency to underestimate the risks involved. Most business travellers believe that their travel risks in many countries are mainly related to minor and obvious causes such as stomach upsets and minor injuries. In fact, out of the yearly 1.4 million assistance cases that International SOS manages globally, we observe that strokes, cardiac arrests and road accidents are major causes of serious medical incidents and, therefore, certainly warrant a preventative approach**,” says Dr Neil Nerwich, Group Medical Director Assistance of International SOS.
Patrick Lepercq, Chairman of the GRSP, adds: “We see a real opportunity to share knowledge, road safety research and best practices with the International SOS Foundation. Examining the road risks faced by business travellers and overseas workers is an area in health and safety which can be developed further. The Foundation is well-placed to partner with multinational businesses and governments to help fulfil our mutual goals.”
* Journal of Travel Medicine, 2011, Can Business Road Travel Be Safe? Jasminka Goldoni, Laestadius, MD, PhD, Anne Gaelle Selod, MD, Jian Ye, MD, PhD, Lennart Dimberg, MD, PhD,† and Anthony G. Bliss, MD.
** From 2009–2010 International SOS data of 5725 aeromedical evacuations and 94,651 at-risk expatriates
About the International SOS Foundation (www.internationalsosfoundation.org)
Registered in 2011, International SOS Foundation is a fully independent, non-profit organization with the goal of improving the welfare of people working abroad through the study, understanding and mitigation of potential risks. At its inaugural event in Mexico in 2012, there was a consensus that the Duty of Care for employees working away from home is a crucial occupational health issue. A call was raised for leaders and industry experts to develop an international guidance based on national legislation and practices across the globe.
About the Global Road Safety Partnership
The non-profit Global Road Safety Partnership, (www.grsproadsafety.org) was formed in 1999 and its members are leading multi- and bi-lateral development agencies, governments, businesses and civil society organizations. Hosted by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the GRSP creates and supports multi-sector road safety partnerships that are actively engaged with front-line road safety good practice in many countries around the world. GRSP is also engaged globally in road safety advocacy programmes and is a recognised expert source of road safety knowledge and good practice.
About International SOS
International SOS (www.internationalsos.com) is the world’s leading medical & security services company operating from over 700 sites in 70 countries with 10,000 employees, led by 1,200 physicians and 200 security specialists. Our global services include medical and risk planning, preventative programs, in-country expertise and emergency response for travellers, expatriates and their dependents of over 70 percent of the Fortune 500 companies.