Destination Risk Analysis

Every company has a Duty of Care for its employees. To comply with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999), employers have a duty to make suitable and sufficient risk assessments for all activities, including overseas travel – prior to commencing the trip. An overseas risk assessment should identify the risks arising from or in connection with work.

Essentially, it is necessary to consider and document the hazards, determine the level of risk associated with these hazards, itemize procedures taken to minimize/control the risks, consider the level of risk after instigating control measures, and determine the nature of any further action needed.

A consideration of overseas hazards would include but not limited to:

Human Issues: Has the country the traveller is working in recently experienced any civil unrest? (Check FCO Website) What is the culture (customs, dress, religion, political tension)? What are legal differences? (Think before you drink!)

Health: Are there any diseases, such as dengue, diphtheria, malaria, poliomyelitis,
tuberculosis, typhoid or yellow fever, associated with the area to be visited? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO Website) and World health Organisation (WHO Website) Websites lists problems associated with many countries and regions. Where vaccinations are needed, it is important to allow sufficient time (at least 6-weeks) for the administration of vaccines (and where necessary boosters) and the development of a protective immune response.

Do you have any allergies, such as to eggs, milk or to antibiotics that could cause problems during the trip?

Do you take any medications or have any pre-existing medical conditions? Please note that it may be a pre-requisite of your Company’s insurance policy that all pre-existing medical conditions/treatments are notified (to the Company’s Insurance in writing) prior to departure from the U.K. Failure to comply with the insurers regulation will lead to any claim (based on treatments required for a pre-existing condition) being repudiated.

Note: It should be emphasized that all dangerous sports and (dangerous) activities, e.g. ski-ing, snowboarding, parachuting, Para sending and bungee jumping, may also be excluded from your Company’s insurance.

Climate & Geology: Is the area to be visited hot and sunny or very cold? Is there a likelyhood of Oxygen deficiency, tidal extremes, storms/ typhoons, avalanche, earthquakes or volcanoes?

Accommodation: What sort of accommodation will be used during the trip? Reputable hotels will often lead to fewer problems than guesthouse, hostels or camping sites.

Food/Drink/Hygiene: Is there any problem with drinking water or food hygiene?

Transportation: How will you travel to and from and within the area to be visited?
The traveller should be wary of local airlines and air taxis. What is the mode of transportation within the area to be visited? (Public or private transportation).

Driving: If driving is contemplated, the traveller should ensure that the driving license is valid and insurance is arranged. The driver will need to become familiar with local driving regulations. It is important to verify that the driver is actually licensed to drive a vehicle in the country to be visited, e.g. does the country to be visited recognize a British driving license or is an International driving license needed?

Crime/Security: Is the area to be visited noted for its high crime statistics (to include
robbery/muggings/kidnap & ransom/terrorist activities? Where possible high crime areas should be avoided. Passport and money (divided into more than one stash and taken as traveller’s cheques where practical) should be kept separately in inside zipped pockets. Only a minimal amount of cash, sufficient to reach the destination, should be carried. Hotel safes should be used wherever possible, but be wary of room safes as these can be very easily compromised.

Working overseas: Will the traveller be working overseas, such as participating in field work, or working in industry?

The level of risk is usually categorized as “Low”, “Medium” or “High”. Workplace risk assessments should be carried out.

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