OBUHSN-38 issue 04 June 2011

Travelling and working overseas - Appendix 1

Guidance notes

All those involved in travel e.g. Travellers, PIC and Travel Co-ordinator / Administrator(s) are advised to read the following guidance notes.

Travellers

Flights: Flights may be booked with one of the University’s approved travel agents via Brookes Travel (travel@brookes.ac.uk or extension 3901) and in line with the University’s Financial Administration Handbook.

http://fls.jamkit.com/hb/ChapterIndex/StaffExpensesHospitality/ExpensesPolicy

The Travel Check-List: Risk Assessment, Occupational Health and Logistics (Appendix 4, Word doc 242KB) is a useful checklist to enable the traveller to determine whether all aspects of the administration and preparation arrangements of the proposed visit have been adequately covered.

The OBI intranet site also provides useful sources of information on different countries.

Travellers should also consult with their Travel Administrators in their Faculty / Directorate to ensure that they are properly prepared.

Risk assessment

Travellers and PICs may wish to consult the following documents in the preparation of the Travel Risk Assessment (Part B):

The nature and complexity of the assessment will vary with the type of activity intended and should be appropriate to the actual risk that the identified hazards pose in the particular circumstances. 

The overall risks of the visit should be considered for all trips and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) www.fco.gov.uk and CR24 website consulted www.controlrisks.com. Higher risk destinations will require a full risk assessment to be completed (Travel Authorisation Form Part B (Risk Assessment) and submitted to the Safety Officer.

Conferences held overseas may not be particularly hazardous and in these cases only the Travel Authorisation Form Part A (Travel Request) will need to be completed.

In some cases the work itself will not be particularly hazardous and consideration will only need to be given to local conditions.

Where hazardous work is to be undertaken some assumptions may need to be made based on the work as it would be undertaken in the UK. The assessment should be based on previous knowledge, information from the FCO, Travel Agents, and contacts in the workplace to be visited. 

In some cases a final risk assessment can only be made when on-site overseas.

Updates to the risk assessment must be completed if there is any change to original travel plan or work programme.  If visiting potential “hotspots” checks should continue to be made up to the day of travel. 

Where the traveller is in a country at the time of possible unrest or natural disaster – they must make contact with the designated PIC to establish that the traveller is well and to consider the need for and where appropriate, assistance with extradition.

The risk assessment must be acted upon and a safe programme and plan developed to ensure appropriate measures to minimise the risks identified and are in place for the trip.

The frequency and method of maintaining contact (e.g. email, Skype, phone) between the traveller(s) and PIC needs to be agreed in writing prior to the overseas visit.

Training and information

The risk assessment will identify particular training needs for the trip.  Additional skills may be required for working overseas and these may be partly determined by the local conditions.  If supervising others it is especially important to ensure supervisors have the relevant skills. 

Pre-travel advice

The University’s insurers provide a travel information service in conjunction with Control Risks (CR24) www.controlrisks.com, an international business risk consultancy, which provides general advice and assistance on such things as:

  • Business and social customs
  • Political situations
  • Medical advice and medical facilities overseas
  • Health precautions and vaccinations
  • Visa and entry permit requirements
  • Currency, banking hours
  • Time zones, climate 
  • Driving restrictions

This service can be accessed via the internet and is free of charge. 

To locate the service, go to www.umal.co.uk  and click on the link to the Control Risk website, under the Travel section of the web page.

The user names and password which are required to access this service can be found at the following website http://fls.jamkit.com/Insurance/Travel-1

Insurance

Staff engaged in overseas travel as part of their duties, are automatically provided with travel insurance, full details of which can be found on: http://fls.jamkit.com/Insurance/Travel-1

Staff engaged on overseas travel must be informed about their insurance cover and should be advised to take out additional personal insurance if necessary. For any details of additional cover as part of an extension to an authorised journey please check with the University’s Insurance Officer.

The Finance Department at Oxford Brookes University has responsibility for dealing with insurance matters. The person to contact for further advice is the Insurance and Risk Officer.

Occupational health

All travellers must have read the Occupational Health information for overseas travellers and have arranged to visit OH if appropriate.

Employees with pre-existing health problems should actively consider contacting OH before their planned trip.  In the first instance the employee should also seek the advice of their GP on their fitness to travel.

Employees who have had time off work (4 weeks or more) for any physical or mental health problem and proposing to undertake an overseas visit may wish to contact OH for advice.

The employee is responsible for informing the OH Department of any changes to their health status.  A change in health status may result in advice that a formal Travel Health Assessment is completed (Part C).

Part B –Risk Assessment will determine whether a full Travel Health Assessment (Part C) is required for individual trips.

If required, advice on fitness for travel should be sought in advance in the planning stages from the OH Department.  The Travel Health Assessment Form (Part C) should be submitted preferably 8 weeks before the intended date of travel so that the traveller is informed about and has had their vaccinations in line with clinical practice standards.

Arrangements are in place for members of staff to have the required vaccinations either through the OBU Medical Centre or their own GP to suit their individual needs. 

Travel Health Assessments are designed to ensure that health problems that could impact on safety or require treatment in the field are appropriately managed and that those travelling to tropical countries receive recommended vaccinations and, for example, protection against malaria.

Faculties and Directorates are responsible for funding vaccinations or malarial prophylaxis needed for travel on University business.

It is advisable that a Travel Health Assessment is completed for trips outside North West Europe and North America, if the traveller is undertaking regular trips to these regions or proposed visit(s) are deemed to be of medium to high risk. 

Fitness for travel may be withheld in exceptional circumstances where there is a clear danger to the employee or others should the person becomes incapacitated whilst abroad.  Advice from the OH Physician would be sought in these circumstances.

The Travel Health Assessment Form will be held by OH with the employee’s confidential OH Record.  The line manger will be informed of the outcome of the assessment.

It is the responsibility of the traveller, the PIC of the trip and/or Head of Faculty / Directorate, to notify OH and/or the Safety Officer if an employee:

  • Is taken ill
  • Has health problems as a consequence of their trip
  • Is subject to a traumatic event
  • Is involved in an accident or near miss when abroad. 

If required OH will asses the employee’s fitness to resume normal work on return to the UK and conjunction with the primary care services will ensure the person receives appropriate support.

First aid

Consideration must be given to the adequate provision of first aid cover and the implementation of accident and emergency procedures (including systems for accident reporting) whilst overseas.

Risk assessment will identify whether a first aid travel kit is required. Travel first aid kits can be obtained from OH Department by contacting the OH Administrator on extension 5572. 

On returning to the University the travel first aid kits must be returned to OH Administrator for checking and re-stocking.

All accidents and incidents of ill health must be reported to the relevant line manager as soon as possible (given the circumstances prevailing at the time), and especially those where an individual has received first aid treatment.

The PIC of the trip, Head of Department and/or Line Manager must inform the OH Department of the accident and health status of the employee.

Equipment

All equipment to be used during overseas travel and work must be appropriate for the local conditions and intended use.  It must be able to withstand the rigours of travel and be adequately maintained and serviced. 

Protective clothing, transportation of hazardous substances and other such activities normally covered by control measures when working within the University should be considered when undertaking the risk assessment. 

If equipment is to be obtained locally to the work environment, the Traveller(s) and PIC must be satisfied that it meets the required standards. The Traveller(s)/PIC must ensure the equipment is in good working order. 

Appropriate instruction and training in the use of the equipment must be undertaken.

Accidents and emergencies

If the accident or incident is local to the Traveller(s), these will in the first instance be handled by the Faculty or Directorate concerned. 

Accidents should be reported following the procedures laid out in OBUHSN-11.

In the case of disasters or other serious emergencies the Travel Administrator / PIC in conjunction with the central University database maintained by OBI will establish which staff members and are in the country and will ensure that a designated member of SMT (HR Director) is notified of the incident. 

If required the University’s major incident response plan may be activated.

Travel co-ordinator / Administrator

The Travel Co-ordinator / Administrator provides the link between the Faculties and Directorates and OBI, Safety Officer and OH.

The Travel, Risk Assessment, OH and Logistics Checklist is designed to assist Administrators / Co-ordinators to ensure that all aspects and arrangements for the intended visit have been covered.  See Appendix 4 (Word doc).