31 May 2016
With the impact of globalization resulting in increased transnational business opportunities, Hong Kong-based companies are faced with an ever-increasing requirement to send their employees abroad on business-related activities.
Many employees are expected and required to be mobile, flexible and ready to travel at short notice in pursuit of business opportunities, or to manage operations, personnel or crises overseas. Others are required to spend longer periods of time on assignment or secondment in a foreign jurisdiction as part of their training, knowledge exchange or career development.
While many employees welcome the prospect of overseas travel and assignments, employees traveling and working overseas may be exposed to a number of risks that fall outside of the scope of risks contemplated by health and safety management systems applicable to workplaces in Hong Kong. For instance, employees who contract an illness or pandemic disease may, in countries with weak healthcare infrastructure, be exposed to an increased level of risk. As borders open and markets emerge in areas that are politically, socially or economically unstable, risks related to personal safety and security present themselves alongside more readily assumed health-related risks.
From a legal perspective there is a duty of care on employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees at work. The duty of care is a personal, non-delegable duty. It is thus no defense for an employer to say he has delegated his responsibility to the employee himself or to another company to which the employee is assigned, even if the workplace is located overseas. An employer’s breach of this duty will give an employee a right to bring a claim to recover damages for losses suffered as a result of the breach, for example for the pain and suffering of any personal injuries and for loss of earnings for any period of time which the employee was unable to work as a result of such injuries... Click here to read the full article.