Safeguarding employees: site assessments in hostile environments

As corporate clichés go, it’s one of the most enduring:

A company’s most valuable asset is its employees.”

But this well-worn adage reveals a deeper truth about the duty of care an organisation has for the men and women who fill its ranks. And when those employees are put in harm’s way, it is a philosophy which ultimately save lives.

Tangiers International operates in some of the world’s most remote or dangerous locations – dealing with risk on a daily basis and taking every conceivable effort to safeguard its staff and partners.

From political upheaval to insurgent attacks, malaria outbreaks to road traffic accidents, the opportunity for crises to develop requires constant vigilance honed from more than a decade in the field.

Now Tangiers is offering this service to other organisations.

Businesses and NGOs hoping to operate in Iraq, regional Kurdistan, ungoverned spaces in Syria and other neighbouring regions can commission site assessments giving the crucial lowdown on everything from the availability of local healthcare services, to an up-to-date appraisal of the political situation.

In countries and regions such as these, the situation can unfortunately be pretty dire with militant attacks, formidable terrain and climatic conditions and political volatility often proving a continuing threat for foreign workers as well as locals.

Coupled with poor healthcare provision outside of major cities, even routine injuries and illnesses can easily become much graver issues if medical evacuation and contingency plans have not been drawn up by experts beforehand.

Tangiers’ global director of medical services, Dr Roberto Cataudella, said: “The scope of the consultancy is to provide a guide to clients. The assessment goes into everything from general diseases and health risks, to the design of medical facilities and procedures for medical evacuation.

“It’s a very detailed approach where we analyse and assess the specific geographic area and provide our customers and clients with operational reports containing all of that information.”

Site assessments, provided by medical professionals with in-depth knowledge of a specific region’s infrastructural and geopolitical reality, provide companies, non-profits and government agencies with the tools to protect their employees from a multitude of risks.

Services from Tangiers can range from comprehensive reports detailing how to deal with various health-related issues, to full assistance in setting up small on-site clinics with full-time medical staff. Reports even contain a flow-chart, giving instructions for dealing with medical emergencies as they arise.

Dr Roberto said: “It includes an overall view of the country – the security risk, the medical risk, the best way to prevent local diseases, the best way to deliver primary care, how to manage a fatality, how to manage a very sick person.

“If a company is operating in a city, they may have access to medical care, but if they’re operating in the desert and bringing, say, 100 people who are 80 per cent foreign contractors, we may recommend installing a one room medical clinic on site.”

A company’s most valuable asset may well be its employees, but for employees themselves, working in hostile environments, their company represents something much more important – the assurance that they will return home safely to their families once their time working abroad is over.