Employers are responsible for employees, volunteers and service users whilst travelling abroad. Have you considered your travel risk management?
Protecting your Travellers
Assess the risk regarding:
- The country and more specifically the town/city being travelled to;
- The type of work that is being undertaken whilst abroad;
- Any lone working; and
- Staying in touch and details and procedures on how to get an employee home in an emergency (e.g. a terrorist alert).
Always check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) website before travelling. This provides guidance on local laws and customs as well as up to date information on the safety of certain destinations – Insurers will often place stipulations based on this guidance so it is always a good idea to consult with your insurer/broker if you are uncertain as to whether cover will be active before travelling.
It is also a good idea to check the FCO’s Fit for Travel website which provides travel health advice and will let you know if you should take any additional action with regards to illnesses such as malaria.
- Ensure you/your employee’s passport is valid and you have the necessary visas;
- Book flights and accommodation in advance of travel from the UK;
- Carry out a risk assessment – CaSE can provide a further guidance if required; and
- Have in place valid Business Travel Insurance which includes satisfactory arrangements for local medical assistance and medical repatriation, as well as cover for personal liability whilst abroad.
You should also confirm with your Insurer/Broker that your Employer’s and Public Liability insurance covers against any legal liability and agreed costs for damages and claimant’s costs in respect of any employee who is temporarily engaged by/working for the organisation.
As mentioned above, a risk assessment should always be carried out before travelling. An overseas risk assessment will be similar in many ways to those you undertake for your activities in the UK with specific guidelines on the activity being undertaken but in addition provide guidelines for employees on local issues. Some examples are as follows:
- Employees travelling abroad should think about how their clothing will fit in with local customs. For Lone Working, it is good practice that a colleague or manager holds a copy of any such employee’s itinerary and that they record arrangements to contact a member of the team at pre-arranged regular intervals;
- Checks should be made on the water quality in the location being visited to ascertain whether it is safe to drink.
In Cases of Emergency
The level of emergency will dictate the speed at which an employee would need to be evacuated.
All employers should have in place a strategy to implement what is necessary and this should begin with:
- Establishing communication links with reliable, well-informed sources of information;
- Evaluate the information and assess the nature and degree of the threat to any employees; and
- Having up to date contact information for all employees to keep them regularly informed on the situation at hand.
No two trips will ever be the same and it is important that you review your procedures regularly to ensure they remain up to date and adequate for the type of travel being undertaken.