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A9.9: Main page

Working safely overseas

1. Policy statement

We recognise that we have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our employees and students when they are working outside the UK.

Besides any risk associated with the work itself, there can be other risks when working outside the UK:

  • Unfamiliar diseases and medical conditions
  • The possibility of causing offence because of differences in culture
  • Additional risks in travelling (particularly in less developed countries)
  • Personal safety, especially in large cities
  • Language difficulties poorer communications
  • Lack of immediate back-up in the event of emergency
  • Suitability and safe use of equipment
  • Never really being “off-duty”

To identify all such factors each institute will have a standard risk assessment for travelling overseas. This will be reviewed before each trip and depending upon the nature of the visit, the risk assessment will vary with the type of activity intended with the actual risks and hazards posed identified.  A Hazard checklist can be found in:

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2. Organisation and responsibilities

2.1 Institute Directors

You are responsible for ensuring that the institute health and safety management system has the capability to ensure the following:

  • An adequate risk assessment has been made
  • Trips to countries listed as on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s website which the FCO have concerns about or advice against travelling to are fully authorised. Additional controls must be implemented in the risk assessments to ensure the safety of employees and students.
  • Proper organisational arrangements, such as a 24 hour contact point, are established and the role and responsibilities of all concerned are clearly understood
  • Individual members or groups of staff working outside the UK are as well prepared as is reasonably practicable
  • Local conditions e.g. food, personal safety, climate etc, have been explored sufficiently with the likely risk.

2.2 Employees and students about the work outside the UK

You are responsible for:

  • Ensuring the travel arrangements are suitable, keeping records on all itinerary details, members of the group, contact details etc
  • Contacting the Foreign Office for any relevant travel advice (call 0845 850 2829 or visit their website
  • Obtaining the address, telephone number and opening hours of the British Embassy or consulate for the country you are travelling too.
  • Seeking medical advice to determine necessary vaccinations, immunisation, first aid requirements
  • Obtaining information on climate, culture and local information as appropriate
  • Ensuring that tickets, visas and any other necessary documentation for travel are in place
  • Checking that you have a valid passport which complies with the necessary entry criteria
  • Ensuring adequate insurance is arranged before you leave
  • Co-operating in the monitoring of arrangements while away and reviewing arrangements when you return
  • Reporting any accident/incident to the appropriate authority while you are away

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3. Arrangements

3.1 Classification of your visit

You are classified as:

  • Type A If your salary is paid wholly or in part by BBSRC.
  • Type B If your services are loaned to another body which repays BBSRC the cost of your salary, superannuation and National Insurance Contributions.
  • Type C For visits other than Type A or B

3.2 Fees and expenses

For Type A and B visits we will:

  • Repay any expenses you incurred for medical examination and immunisation in connection with the visit
  • Refund any excess premiums charged by life insurance companies because you are not working in the UK, provided the benefits do not exceed more than three years salary
  • Insure you against medical and emergency travel expenses. On return to the UK, you must submit a statement of the expenditure incurred, supported by receipts. Extravagant charges and the cost of luxury services will not be met. Routine or non-urgent medical treatment must be deferred until return to the UK

For Type C visits you need to make your own arrangements. We advise you to effect private insurance to cover the costs of medical treatment incurred outside the UK.

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Last updated 03/11/10
Amendment 110 - November 2010