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Duty of Care

What is Duty of Care?

Duty of Care refers to the moral and legal obligations of employers to employees, contractors, volunteers and related family members in maintaining their health, safety and wellbeing.


  • Organisations have legal obligations to act prudently to avoid the risks of injury or exposures leading to ill health. This obligation may apply both to acts and omissions.
  • Employers are responsible for building a broad culture within their organisation to address the health, safety, security and wellbeing of employees and other related collaborators to the business. In doing so, they are expected to develop and deploy appropriate risk management programmes to protect their workforce and ensure business resilience.


All employees need to be protected, at home or away, and the evolving Duty of Care landscape for organisations to navigate complicates this. 

An employer's Duty of Care can be based on several factors:

  • Who is working - consider individual risk factors (e.g. assessment of pre-existing health conditions).
  • Where they are working (e.g. different country laws and standards).
  • What they are doing (e.g. working from home vs. working on a remote site, business travel vs. international assignment).

Most organisations will be operating in such a way that many of the above factors apply. This will increase the complexity of your Duty of Care to your employees. For example:

  • The laws that apply to someone in their home country may change when they travel or work abroad.
  • The cultural perceptions in the employees' operating country differ from your corporate policies (e.g. application of gender / sexual orientation equality measures).

Duty of Care Training

Delivered virtually and in-person, the International SOS Foundation has designed the world’s only IOSH certified Duty of Care training programme entitled, Safety, Health and Security for the Mobile Worker.

The training courses provide occupational safety and health practitioners with the knowledge and skills necessary to actively participate in the management of safe, healthy and security of their workforce. These activities include reviewing risk assessments, developing and implementing briefings, building organisational directives, participating as a member of an organisation’s incident management team and action planning.
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