Safety equipment, policies and procedures are an essential part of modern business.
Everyone agrees on the need for hard hats, hearing protection and work boots in relevant workplaces. There are policies for recruitment, workplace anti-discrimination and harassment, and even mobile phone use.
As well as all these policies….Of course the organisation needs a travel health policy if staff are deployed overseas for work.
The trouble is most businesses are not aware of the need for a travel health policy, or how to implement one.
It is no surprise that staff face some health and safety risks if working overseas – even on short ‘nice’ trips to offices, business hotels in big cities.
Many travel health risks are manageable with proper pre-travel care and safety equipment.
In the same way that hard hats are needed on a building site, or life rafts are needed on a ship, overseas workers need vaccinations, medical kits and health information.
A Travel Health Policy ensures staff receive necessary care before they travel overseas.
A Travel Health Policy is not just a nice thing to do for employees:
Legislation enshrines this occupational health and safety “duty of care” towards employees.
“Workers and other persons should be given the highest level of protection against harm to their health, safety and welfare from hazards and risks arising from work as is reasonably practicable” (Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) s 3). This encompasses both “physical and psychological health” (Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) s 4).
An employer is required “to eliminate risks to health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable… [or] if it is not reasonably practicable[,]… to minimise those risks so far as is reasonably practicable” (Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) s 17).
If an employer is not aware of a risk to an employee, this does not negate their obligations if it is deemed they ought to have known about this risk and the ways to minimise this risk (for supporting case see Inspector Ken Kumar
v David Ritchie  NSWIRComm 323 and 384). An employer must have a process whereby information about a risk to an employee can be made personally available
to them (Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) s 27).
Call your local Travel Medicine specialist today on 1300 42 11 42 to start organising your travel health policy and ensure your staff are prepared for their overseas travel, and your organisation fulfills its legislated duty of care.
Listen HERE to Dr Deb Mills speaking about the need for a travel health policy
Diarrheal illness was a major cause of morbidity. Malaria contributed substantial morbidity and mortality, particularly among business travellers to sub-Saharan Africa. Underuse or non-use of chemoprophylaxis contributed to malaria cases. Deaths in business travellers could be reduced by improving adherence to malaria chemoprophylaxis and targeted vaccination for vaccine-preventable diseases.
Pre-travel advice is indicated for business travellers and is currently under-utilized and needs improvement.