Travelling and Working Overseas (OBUHSN 38)


This health and safety notice must be read and understood by all employees of Oxford Brookes University likely to travel and or work overseas on behalf of the University.  

Most risks involving work and travel overseas are reasonably foreseeable and can be minimised or avoided. 

This health and safety notice outlines the necessary steps that must be taken for the authorisation and safe management of activities for employees travelling and working overseas on university business. 

For students undertaking:

  • Field trips
  • Placements
  • Exchanges.

Please refer to OBUHSN-24 and OBUHSN-43


Working overseas incorporates any practical work activity carried out by employees of the University which may include teaching, research, recruitment and marketing activities, attending meetings and conferences in countries other than those of the United Kingdom. Guidance Notes are provided in here.

Risk management provides a framework for the general guidance and control measures that are appropriate for managing the diversity of activities and risks involved in travelling and working overseas. See Risk Assessment Guidance Notes Travel Checklist.

The application of risk assessment provides the basis for adopting measures that are suitable, sufficient and appropriate for the level of risk.

Responsibilities and functions

Deans and Directors

The Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate has overall responsibility for the health and safety of employees working overseas from within their Faculty/Directorate and is therefore responsible for: 

  • Approving overseas travel and ensuring compliance with this Policy. 
  • Nominating a person as Travel Administrator/Coordinator in the Faculty or Directorate and making sure that processes are in place to ensure that:
    • The Overseas Travel Authorisation Form Part A -Travel Request (Word doc) is completed by employees who are undertaking overseas travel and submitted for approval to the Dean or Director. The initial assessment of risk in Part A will determine the need for a fuller risk assessment contained in Part B.
    • Travel outside EU and North America and trips involving hazardous activity (e.g. mountaineering or pot holing) require a full risk assessment.  If this is the case Part B - Risk Assessment (Word doc) should be completed.  Forms should ideally be completed 8 weeks before travel, although it is recognised that this is not always possible and is likely to depend on the visit arrangements. 
    • Part C – Travel Health Assessment (Word doc) is completed if required following the risk assessment for medium to high risk visits and as part of the pre-employment health screen for employees who regularly travel overseas on behalf of the university.
    • The completed documentation has been submitted so that the appropriate parties, Oxford Brookes International (OBI), Safety Officer, Occupational Health (OH), and Faculty contacts have received the relevant travel risk assessment documentation for evaluation, authorisation and to update the travel database in a timely manner.

See Appendix 2: Overseas Travel Authorisation Forms

See Travel Checklist (Word doc)

Person in Charge (PIC)

The PIC is the person in the Faculty/Directorate with local managerial control of the overseas trip.  The PIC may, in some instances be the Traveller, Lead Traveller or the Traveller’s Line Manager or nominee, and must be:

  • Competent in managing the health and safety risks of the trip.
  • Ensure that, where appropriate, the risk control measures identified in the risk assessment are followed in practice.
  • Report all accidents occurring during the trip.

Where significant risks have been identified the PIC shall ensure that:

  • A suitable and sufficient risk assessment has been completed and documented and that control measures are defined and in place from the outset.
  • The frequency and method of contact between the traveller(s) and the PIC needs to be agreed in writing and contact documented.
  • The Traveller(s) or Lead Traveller undertaking the overseas visit and in charge of the work activity is appropriately competent to manage the health and safety risks of the visit.
  • All involved are provided with appropriate information and training and where necessary have their competency assessed before the trip commences.
  • All relevant travel documentation for authorisation is brought to the attention of the Dean or Director.

The Traveller(s)

All Travellers must give reasonable notice of their intention to travel such that the overseas visit can be properly evaluated for approval and any necessary arrangements made. Approval must be obtained before travel arrangements are made.

All travellers participating in the trip must:

  • Ensure that the trip has been properly authorised. Travelling Overseas Authorisation Form Part A – Travel Request.
  • Comply with health and safety arrangements for the trip as specified in the risk assessment - completing Travelling Overseas Authorisation Form Part B and Part C where appropriate.
  • Seek medical advice when necessary.
  • Advise the PIC of personal circumstances or restrictions that may impact on their fitness or put them at increased risk of harm.
  • Maintain regular contact with the PIC or their nominee and report accidents and dangerous occurrences to the PIC.
  • Not put themselves or others at risk.

Every employee has a responsibility to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and, where necessary, in accordance to the local conditions they will encounter. They must also co-operate with the University in the execution of its responsibilities.  

Insurance and Risk Officer

The University Insurance and Risk Officer shall:

  • Maintain appropriate insurance as directed by the Director of Finance and/or Executive Board.
  • Provide advice and guidance on matters of insurance.

Safety Officer

The role of the Safety Officer is to:

  • Evaluate and approve all Travel Risk Assessments (Part B).
  • Provide specialist advice and guidance on risk assessments.
  • Define / give advice on the necessary competencies.
  • Arrange training in the management and control of health and safety risks for offsite work / field trips as required.

Occupational Health

The role of Occupational Health (OH) is to provide specialist advice and guidance on health risk and fitness for travel.  This includes:

  • Fitness for role at pre-employment stage (where travel is an integral part of the role).
  • Conducting travel health assessments where appropriate.
  • Ensuring that advice has been given in relation to the vaccinations and in-country health advice.
  • Conducting post-travel checks when required.

Oxford Brookes International

The role of Oxford Brookes International (OBI) is to work with the other parties to ensure that travellers are best prepared for their overseas visits, that processes are in place for travel plans and that OBI’s expertise is used, where appropriate, to assist travellers in their overseas visits. This will include:

  • Development and maintenance of guidance notes and travellers forms on the intranet.
  • Maintenance of a central database of travellers.
  • Coordinating, with a delegated member of SMT, a University response to any major incident overseas.

Issue 5 March 2018