HW Risk Assessment form for Travel Overseas - Heriot-Watt University

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HW Risk Assessment form for Travel Overseas - Heriot-Watt University

How to write a risk assessment for overseas travelRISK ASSESSMENT FOR OVERSEAS TRAVELThe University has a Duty of Care for its staff and students. To comply with theManagement of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999), employers have a duty tomake suitable and sufficient risk assessments for all activities, including overseas travel -prior to commencing the trip. The risk assessment should identify the risks arising fromor in connection with work. The University’s Safety and Risk Office and School Webpage scontains forms, which will be useful in making the risk assessment. A proforma isincluded as Appendix 1. Examples of risk assessments for travel to low (Appendix 2)and higher risk destinations (Appendix 2) are attached.Essentially, it is necessary to consider and document the hazards, determine the level ofrisk associated with these hazards, itemize procedures taken to minimize/control therisks, consider the level of risk after instigating control measures, and determine thenature of any further action needed.A consideration of hazards would include:Health: Are there any diseases, such as dengue, diphtheria, malaria, poliomyelitis,tuberculosis, typhoid or yellow fever, associated with the area to be visited? The Foreignand Commonwealth Office (FCO; Website: http://www.fco.gov.uk/) and World healthOrganization (WHO; Website: http://www.who.int/en/) Websites lists problemsassociated with many countries and regions. Where vaccinations are needed, it isimportant 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 causeproblems during the trip?Do you take any medications or have any pre-existing medical conditions? Please notethat it is a pre-requisite of the University’s insurance policy that all pre-existing medicalconditions/treatments are notified (to the University Insurance Section in writing) at least10 days prior to departure from the U.K. Failure to comply with the insurers regulationwill lead to any claim (based on treatments required for a pre-existing condition) beingrepudiated.Note: It should be emphasized that all dangerous sports and (dangerous) activities, e.g.ski-ing, snowboarding, parachuting, Para sending and bungee jumping, are excluded fromthe University’s insurance. All diving activities must be notified to the School/SectionInsurance Co-coordinator at least 2-weeks prior to departure.Climate: Is the area to be visited hot and sunny or very cold?1

Accommodation: What sort of accommodation will be used during the trip? 4/5 starhotels 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? Useof IATA listed airlines is usually regarded as being safe; the traveler should be wary oflocal airlines and air taxis. What is the mode of transportation within the area to bevisited? (Public or private transportation).Driving: Is the traveler intending to drive in the area to be visited? Individuals shouldrefrain from driving immediately following any long haul flight. Driving: If driving iscontemplated, the traveler should ensure that the driving license is valid and insurance isarranged. The driver will need to become familiar with local driving regulations. It isimportant to verify that the driver is actually licensed to drive a vehicle in the country tobe visited, e.g. does the country to be visited recognize a British driving license or is anInternational driving license needed?Crime/Security: Is the area to be visited noted for its high crime statistics (to includerobbery/muggings/terrorist activities? Where possible high crime areas should beavoided. Passport and money (divided into more than one stash and taken as traveler’scheques whereas practical) should be kept separately in inside zipped pockets. Only aminimal amount of cash, sufficient to reach the destination, should be carried. Hotelsafes should be used wherever possible. It should be noted that insurers issue lists ofcountries for which details of risk reduction measures are needed to be made prior todeparture from the U.K. Details of the current list may be obtained from theSchool/Section insurance Co-coordinator.Working overseas: Will the traveler be working overseas, such as participating in fieldstudies or conducting laboratory work, or working in industry? A brief description of thework activities should be included with the risk assessment. If it is the intention to relyon the University’s insurance cover, it is essential to give at least two week’s notice ofthe intention to travel so that the necessary arrangements for (insurance) cover may bemade. Such notification should be given to the School/Section Insurance Co-coordinator.The level of risk is usually categorized as “Low”, “Medium” or “High”.PROCEDURES TO MINIMISE RISKS:Health: Travelers should take preventative measures according to the hazards that havebeen identified. For example, anti-malarials and vaccinations may be needed – advicemay be received from the University Health Centre’s travel clinic. For arthropod bornediseases, such as dengue, for which prophylactics are not available, the traveler shoulduse insect repellents. Long sleeved shirts and long trousers should be worn duringevening, night and at dawn to further reduce the risk of arthropod bites. If bacterial orparasitic diseases are common, the traveler should approach his/her physician regarding2

the acquisition of anti-infectives/anti-parasitic agents. The FCO and WHO Websitesneed to be monitored for updated health information.Note: The University and its insurer do not accept responsibility/liability for travelerswho fail to receive the recommended vaccinations/medications prior to travel abroad.Form E111 requires to be completed by all staff and students who travel within theEuropean Union for short business periods. All students who will participate in workplacements or exchange programmes are required to complete the E128 prior to traveloverseas.Climate: If the climate is hot and sunny, the traveler should take a high factor suncream, which should be used liberally according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.Also, the traveler should wear a sunhat, and try to keep out of direct sunlight during thehottest part of the day. Conversely, if the climate if much colder than Edinburgh, thetraveler will need to take warm clothing appropriate to the area to be visited.Accommodation: In some countries, it may be preferable to stay in 4/5 star hotels thanin guesthouses, hostels or camping sites. The safety of the accommodation must beconsidered before departure.Food/Drink/Hygiene: If water quality is of dubious quality, reliance should be placed onbottled water (to be opened in front of the traveler); avoid ice in drinks. If food hygieneis likely to be a problem, eat only hot, freshly cooked food – avoid cold food, peeled fruitand ice cream. Consideration should be given to taking water purification tablets (bewarned: effectiveness against viruses and parasites is often not proven!) and compoundsto prevent diarrhoea (essential when actually traveling).Working overseas: If the traveler intends to carry out field work, or work in laboratoriesor industry, it will be necessary to comply with local safety arrangements. Is there any(local) insurance cover? What are the hazards involved? If in doubt, refer to Heriot-WattUniversity Safety and Risk Office for guidance.Note: The traveler should ensure that the School/Section Insurance Co-coordinator hassupplied a copy of the current travel insurance booklet and a medical emergency card.It should be noted that the University's insurance liability does not automatically extendto cover work abroad - it will depend on the contractual obligations placed on theUniversity. The University's insurers have a requirement that they must be made awareof the names of all staff/students, who want to have the protection of the University'sliability policy whilst working abroad. However, where contractual terms from the thirdparty clearly accepts liability of the staff/student, there is no requirement to notify theinsurance section. If the contractual arrangement states that the University is required toaccept liability then a notification must be made to the insurance section.A copy of the risk assessment is required, and also a statement of the nature of the workinvolved. This information is presented to the insurers, and cover arranged. There maybe instances where working overseas may lead to additional insurance costs.3

Fieldwork: The School/Section Insurance Co-ordinator must be notified of all fieldworktaking place out with the UK in order to confirm insurance cover; this specifically appliesto any Diving operations.A brief description of any work/fieldwork to be carried out overseas should be appendedto the risk assessment.NATURE OF FURTHER ACTION NEEDED:This could include monitoring FCO and WHO Web sites for health and security alerts,and seeking local advice. It is important that the traveler pays particular attention to allUniversity emails alerts regarding increased risks when traveling abroad4


DISTRIBUTION:Traveler; File copy6

APPENDIX 2 Example (A Risk Assessment for a trip to a low risk destination, suchas Dublin)RISK ASSESSMENT FOR OVERSEASTRAVELREFERENCE NUMBER:TITLE: Annual meeting of the Botany SocietyLOCATION OF TRIP: Dublin, IrelandDATES OF TRAVEL: September 20-25, 2004NAMES OF THE TRAVELER(S): A.N. OtherNATURE OF THE HAZARDS:Health: There are not any health hazards in Dublin, at present.Climate: Compatible with Edinburgh; the climate is not overly hot and sunny or cold.Accommodation: The hotel is known to the traveler, and is regarded as safe.Transportation: Public transportation to and from and within Dublin is regarded as safe.Crime/Security: The central area of Dublin is not associated with high crime statistics –pick pockets pose the greatest risk.Driving: I do not intend to drive in Dublin.Working overseas:N/ALEVEL OF RISK: Low/Medium/High – LowPROCEDURES TO MINIMISE RISKS:1. Passport and money (divided into more than one stash) will be kept inseparate inside zipped pockets.2. Traveler’s checks and credit cards will be taken.3. Passport, spare money and other valuables will be stored in the hotel safe.LEVEL OF RISK AFTER INSTIGATING PROCEDURES TO MINIMISE ANYRISKS: Low/Medium/High - LowNATURE OF FURTHER ACTION NEEDED:None identified.7


EXAMPLE 2. Example (A Risk Assessment for a trip to a higher risk destination,such as Java, Indonesia)RISK ASSESSMENT FOR OVERSEASTRAVELREFERENCE NUMBER:TITLE: Attendance at an international seminarLOCATION OF TRIP: City X, Central JavaDATES OF TRAVEL: September 20-27, 2004NAMES OF THE TRAVELLER: A.N. OtherNATURE OF THE HAZARDS:Health: Malaria and dengue have been reported in the general area to be visited. Foodborne infections occur commonly.Climate: The area is very hot and sunny.Accommodation: Accommodation will be in a 4-star hotel (organized by the host, whohas attested to its cleanliness and safety)Food/Drink Hygiene: There are likely to be problems with the quality of drinking waterand food hygiene, which could lead to intestinal diseases, including diarrhoea.Transportation: Transportation to and from the country will be by scheduled airline.Internal travel will be by private car and licensed taxi (organized by the host).Crime/Security: Violent crime including terrorist type activities have been reported insome major cities. However, problems decline substantially in areas away from touristactivities.Driving: n/aWorking overseas: Some field work will be carried out to obtain samples from the localmangrove swamps. The hazards could include insect bites and animal, stings bypoisonous plants, and drowning.LEVEL OF RISK: Low/Medium/High - HighPROCEDURES TO MINIMISE RISKS:Health:9

1. FCO and WHO Web sites will be monitored to determine the nature of any healthalerts relating to the area.2. Antimalarials will be used.3. Insect repellents (of the type recommended for tropical areas) will be usedliberally to cover exposed parts of the body. Aedes mosquitoes are to be found indaytime; therefore, it will be necessary to use insect repellents to repel mosquitoesduring daytime, twilight and at nighttime. Long sleeved shirts and long trouserswill be worn to further reduce the risk of arthropod bites.Climate:1. A high factor sun cream will be used liberally during daytime when venturingoutside. Also, a sun hat will be worn.2. Whenever possible, I will not be outside, exposed to the sun, during the hottestpart of the day.Food/Drink Hygiene:1. Only bottled water (opened in front of me) will be consumed; I will not permit iceto be placed in any drink.2. Only hot, freshly cooked food will be eaten. I will avoid salads, raw vegetablesunpeeled fruit and ice cream.Transportation:1. I will use only scheduled airlines.2. Travel within the county will be by train and private car organized by the host.Crime/Security:1. My passport and money (divided into more than one stash) will be kept separatelyin inside pockets.2. Traveler’s checks and credit cards will be used wherever possible.3. Valuables (including passport and spare money) will be kept in the hotel safe.4. I will avoid any high crime area identified by the host, and stay away from touristareas.Driving: N.A.Working overseas:1. I will comply with local safety arrangements.2. I will wear protective clothing while collecting samples (rubber boots, and rubbergloves)3. I will be accompanied by at least one other, who will keep a lookout for unsafeconditions, such as the presence of dangerous animals.LEVEL OF RISK AFTER INSTIGATING PROCEDURES TO MINIMISE ANYRISKS: Low/Medium/High - LowNATURE OF FURTHER ACTION NEEDED:10

• Monitor the WHO and FCO Web sites for health and security alerts.PREPARED BY:DATE:COUNTERSIGNATURE:DATE:DISTRIBUTION:Traveler; File copy11

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