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Press announcement

Risk Management in Times of Social Unrest: Security Tips for Staying Safe in Crowded Places


The Israel and Gaza crisis has heightened security concerns and given rise to an upsurge in social unrest and protests worldwide. In light of the global situation, International SOS, the world's leading health and security risk services company, emphasises the importance for organisations to have a robust risk management strategy to safeguard their employees during these challenging times.

On average, the number of protests globally has increased by 11.5% annually since 2009. With the largest concentration of activity in the Middle East and North Africa and the fastest growth rate in sub-Saharan Africa.1 It is also reported that 23% of significant protests reported to have lasted more than three months.2 As public demonstrations and mass protests become more widespread and frequent, organisations must remain vigilant and proactive in their approach to ensuring the safety of their workforces.

James Wood, Regional Security Director at International SOS, said

We are witnessing an era marked by geopolitical shifts and perma-crises. This is accompanied by associated mass protests and civil unrest, which can escalate in scale and frequency across continents and countries. In a time when workforce safety is of paramount concern, it is important for employers to understand that the dynamics of social unrest can rapidly evolve and escalate.

Organisations have a critical role in safeguarding their workforce. They can achieve this by taking proactive steps to prioritise risk assessments and implementing effective risk management strategies. During this period of heightened tension, employers should also ensure that their workforces stay informed about the local security situation through official sources. They should also avoid areas with known protests or demonstrations, particularly near embassies, government buildings amid protests linked to the Israel and Gaza crisis.

International SOS shares top five pieces of security advice for organisations to safeguard their workforces when in crowded places:

  1. Ensure employees stay informed: Provide employees with up to-date information about potential risks. Regularly assess the security situation by monitoring local news, government advisories, and real-time threat intelligence.
  2. Create an emergency response plan: Develop and communicate a comprehensive emergency response plan for all employees. Ensure that your workforce is well-aware of evacuation procedures and has access to essential emergency contact information.
  3. Encourage vigilance: Remind employees to be alert to suspicious behaviour or items and promptly report any unusual incidents or observations to the relevant authorities.
  4. Ensure employees comply with security measures: Anticipate increased security measures in urban centres, especially around key government areas, tourist destinations and public transport hubs. Inform employees to follow all official directives.
  5. Establish a robust crisis communication system: Provide employees with access to stay informed and connected during times of unrest. Utilise multiple communication channels, including mobile apps and SMS alerts, to ensure swift and reliable communication.

To hear International SOS experts discuss the latest analysis, advice and recommendations on the most pertinent topics impacting you and your workforce, click here.

1. Center for Strategic & International Studies Risk and Foresight Group | The Age of Mass Protests: Understanding an Escalating Global Trend Report (2020)
2. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | Global Protest Tracker (2023)
About the International SOS Group of Companies
The International SOS Group of Companies is in the business of saving lives and 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, and 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 over 9,000 organisations. This includes the majority of the Fortune Global 500. As well as mid-size enterprises, governments, educational institutions, and NGOs. Nearly 12,000 multi-cultural security, medical, logistics and digital experts stand with you to provide support & assistance from over 1,200 locations in 90 countries, 24/7, 365 days. Between them, International SOS employees speak nearly 100 languages and dialects in our Assistance Centres, Clinics, and offices.

To protect your workforce, we are at your fingertips: