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International SOS Foundation dedicated to Duty of Care launched―a first of its kind globally

Inaugural Duty of Care panel debate held together with the
International Commission on Occupational Health

March 19, 2012, Cancun, Mexico; today leading medical and security services provider International SOS announced the launch of the International SOS Foundation, a first-of-its-kind global effort to foster the study and adoption of Duty of Care best practices. The foundation’s goal is to improve the safety, security, health and welfare of people working abroad through research that will help companies, governments, non-profits, universities and other entities understand and mitigate potential risks to their global workforce. In doing so, it will expand on white papers published by International SOS including the 2011 Duty of Care Global Benchmarking Survey*. The foundation, established with a grant from International SOS, is a fully independent, non-profit organization and has the mission to:
• Study and provide information to governments, employers, workers and contractors on health, safety and security risks linked to international and remote assignments
• Encourage the development of international guidance on the prevention and mitigation of risks associated with working and traveling abroad
• Work with employers to develop and strengthen their responsibilities of Duty of Care.

Arnaud Vaissié, Chairman and Chief Executive of International SOS and founder of the International SOS Foundation comments: “With the increase of globalization more and more individuals are working further afield and are exposed to risks, which can impact health, security and safety. The foundation aims, through research and analysis, to better understand the risks, encourage prevention and improve people’s wellbeing, ultimately to protect and save lives.”

To commemorate the launch, the International SOS Foundation together with the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) will host a panel discussion and debate at the International Congress on Occupational Health in Cancun on March 19. The panel brings together a high-profile group of occupational health leaders to explore the legal, fiduciary and moral responsibilities and obligations that encompass Duty of Care.

Dr. Kazutaka Kogi, President, ICOH and Arnaud Vaissié will open a debate that examines whether the occupational health community should, with its unique understanding, experience and expertise in managing health and safety risks, play a leading role in helping organizations fulfill their Duty of Care. Panelists will discuss whether the health community should draw a definitive line from Corporate Social Responsibility to Duty of Care and how international guidance on the issue could be established. The panel of experts consists of:
Dr. P.K. Abeytunga, General Director, Canadian Centre of Occupational Safety & Health
Dr. Myles Druckman, Sr. Vice President & Medical Director, Americas Region Medical Services Dr. John Howard, Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Mr. Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, Secretary General, International Social Security Association (ISSA)
Dr. Olivier Lo, Medical Director, Group Occupational Health Services, International SOS Mr. Subash Ludhra, President, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (UK)
Jorge A. Morales, Associate Medical Director, Proctor & Gamble, Latin America
Prof. Jorma Rantanen, Past President, ICOH

Thereafter, the forum will be opened to invited participants from the occupational health community. The forum will be moderated by Dr. David Gold, Senior Consultant, International SOS Foundation and Founder & Managing Director, Gold-Knecht Associates.

“Trends are beginning to emerge globally between regulatory requirements and industry standards on Duty of Care. In some countries, not all regulations are implemented as an industry standard. The lack of harmony between regulatory requirements and industry standards lends itself well for the development of international guidance on Duty of Care, so employers do not have to work in a vacuum,” said Prof. Jorma Rantanen, past President, ICOH, regarding the significance of a panel on this topic.

Subash Ludhra, President, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (UK) added: “The business risk to an organization due to a medical incident could result in failed assignments, which can be costly in every respect. How an organization responds and protects itself globally will determine the organizational risk. Duty of Care is a big issue and one that continues to grow.”

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*More on the 2011 Duty of Care Global Benchmarking Survey
According to a 2011 Global Benchmarking Survey, more than 628 global organizations felt that Duty of Care is "everyone's responsibility". This includes the occupational health community, who are often charged with the overall health and safety of globally mobile employees―including international and remote site assignees, international business travelers and others.

The study highlights the need for employers to preemptively protect their employees and their business. Out of the study came the top ten threats to employees, half of which were medical, specifically: illness while on assignment, lack of access to proper medical care, workplace accidents, road accidents and pandemic. For more information or to obtain a full copy of the study, visit

About the International SOS Foundation
Established in 2011, the International SOS Foundation―Ambassadors for Duty of Care― has the goal of improving the safety, security, health and welfare of people working abroad or on remote assignments through the study, understanding and mitigation of potential risks. The escalation of globalization has enabled more individuals to work across borders and in unfamiliar environments; exposure to risks which can impact personal health, security and safety increases along with travel. The foundation is a registered charity and was started with a grant from International SOS. It is a fully independent, non-profit organization. The Foundation is currently in the process of setting up an experienced, independent governing Board of Trustees to steer its vision, objectives and future results.
For more information, contact:

Charlotte Black - Tel. 02073 957 124

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