The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has shared seven important ways to protect travelling employees from the current Coronavirus outbreak.
Stephen Thomas, Health and Safety Business Partner at IOSH, suggests the key actions that employers and managers can take.
Ensure you have proportionate and robust policies, procedures and controls in place and communicate them to all relevant parts of the organisation, providing information, instruction and training as appropriate.
Consider whether the travel is absolutely necessary: can you achieve the same result with video-conferencing and spare the organisation and traveller the risk, time, cost and environmental impact?
If travel is deemed necessary then you should effectively, but proportionately, manage the risk, with controls identified and implemented according to the nature and severity of the risk. Controls should be identified through a travel risk assessment and travellers themselves should be involved in the process.
Always know where your workers are and where they are going. Some travel management systems provide tracking and alert functions, and there are also live location tracking products using GPS in either equipment or smartphone apps.
Should your travellers become involved in an incident or emergency situation, you will need to support them. Consider using a travel assistance scheme such as those provided by business insurers or commercial organisations such as International SOS.
Provide relevant information, instruction and training to travellers, the nature and extent of which should be identified during the risk assessment process.
Finally, don’t forget your travellers’ wellbeing. Frequent international travel has been shown to have negative effects on both physical and mental health, with situations such as a disease outbreak creating further sources of concern.
A map providing real-time updates of Coronavirus cases can be accessed here.
Last reviewed 5 February 2020