International SOS Foundation and Burness Paull LLP publish white paper

05 December 2016 ,  —


International SOS Foundation and Burness Paull LLP publish white paper to protect and promote global worker safety

The International SOS Foundation, the global not-for-profit organisation striving to protect the health, wellbeing and safety of people at work, and leading Scottish commercial law firm Burness Paull, have published the ‘Sending Workers Abroad’ white paper.  Detailing the Duty of Care required by Scottish companies for workers travelling on business and overseas assignments, the paper also provides guidance on risk aversion strategies designed to improve working conditions worldwide.

aberdeen white paper main picture 

‘Sending workers abroad: the employer’s duties in relation to health, safety and security’ explores the multi-layered relationship between the UK’s health and safety legal framework and the global workplace. It highlights the legal responsibility of organisations to ensure the health, safety and security of workers is safeguarded at all times.

Tim Willis, Security Director UK & Ireland at International SOS said “Scottish companies need to be proactive and conduct thorough risk assessments before sending workers abroad. This new paper outlines the organisation’s responsibilities towards the health and safety of their mobile workforce, as well as preventive principles, including travel risk policies, risk assessments, training, tracking and communication. 

 “By providing a jointly developed paper with the legal experts at Burness Paull we are able to provide organisations with trusted best practice in the planning, preparation, support and debriefing stages of a successful business assignment.”

The study reflects on existing legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HWSA), as well as those coming into force in 2017. This includes the ability of Fatal Accident Inquiries (FAIs) to investigate the deaths of Scottish nationals killed while working abroad.

Case study evidence is analysed within the white paper, including the landmark case of Palfrey v Ark Offshore Limited, which found in favour of the deceased oil worker’s family after he contracted malaria in West Africa. The verdict was that the company failed to take reasonable care to ensure his safety.

The collaborative paper also explains the essential checklist of health and security measures that make up the Travel Risk Management Toolbox, an essential checklist of health and security risk measures that organisations can use to help fulfil their responsibilities to their mobile workforce, in order to reduce the risks facing international assignees.

Rona Jamieson, Partner at Burness Paull, said: “While health and safety duties in the UK are well understood, there can be confusion over how these apply when a job requires travel abroad. International travel has never been easier and opportunities to work abroad, in remote or unfamiliar locations brings unique challenges. Whether you have workers travelling on short trips or working on longer rotations from the UK there are certain legal responsibilities that must be adhered to.

“This comprehensive white paper considers these responsibilities and will use practical tips to bolster confidence in, and understanding of the importance of an effective global health and safety framework.”

The white paper can be downloaded HERE


About the International SOS Group of Companies

The International SOS Group of Companies is in the business of saving lives, protecting your global workforce from health and security threats. Wherever you are, we deliver customised health, security risk management and wellbeing solutions to fuel your growth and productivity. In the event of extreme weather, an epidemic or a security incident, we provide an immediate response providing peace of mind. Our innovative technology and medical and security expertise focus on prevention, offering real-time, actionable insights and on-the-ground quality delivery. We help protect your people, your organisation's reputation, as well as support your compliance reporting needs. By partnering with us, organisations can fulfil their Duty of Care responsibilities, while empowering business resilience, continuity and sustainability.


Founded in 1985, the International SOS Group, headquartered in London & Singapore, is trusted by 12,000 organisations, including the majority of the Fortune 500, as well as mid-size enterprises, governments, educational institutions and NGOs. 12,000 multicultural medical, security and logistics experts stand with you to provide support & assistance from over 1,000 locations in 90 countries, 24/7, 365 days.   

To protect your workforce, we are at your fingertips:



International SOS is a trusted partner to the oil and gas industry. With a robust heritage of over 30 years’ experience in providing occupational health and remote medical services, we support our clients to reduce risk, increase efficiency and fulfil strict legislative requirements.  

With eight locations across Norway and the UK, we have a comprehensive understanding of the medical and health issues unique to the energy sector as well as the environments and parameters within which our customers operate.  This combined with unrivalled passion provides our clients and their people with seamless health and remote medical services on and offshore.

Our suite of tailored services include occupational health, remote medical services, medical staffing, work environment, supply chain and training. These essential functions deliver tangible business benefits including reduced operational risk, absenteeism and increased productivity. International SOS is fully equipped to provide both topside and diving medical emergency services and offers 24/7 emergency cover

Notes to Editors

More about Burness Paull

Rona Jamieson is a partner and head of Burness Paull’s health, safety and corporate crime team, with great expertise in relation to major corporate incidents. She regularly represents employers and insurers in relation to health and safety prosecutions, fatal accident inquiries and environmental protection.

Burness Paull is one of Scotland’s largest law firms employing more than 500 people, including 58 partners, across its key locations of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

A full service firm, with clients in more than 60 jurisdictions, its core sector areas include Property and Infrastructure, Corporate Scotland, Financial and Oil and Gas.

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