What you need to know about working overseas

When staff are normally based in the UK, but travel overseas on business or on temporary assignment The Health & Safety at Work etc Act still applies.  Companies should give the same level of protection to staff regardless of where they work.

In relation to long term assignments where members of staff are resident in a foreign country, they are normally be subject to the Health & Safety regulations of the country concerned.  However, companies should not allow their staff to work to a lower standard of safety just because they happen to be working abroad; therefore the company should require the same standards to be adopted wherever staff are working as far as is possible.

Employers have a duty of care to ensure employees are prepared for and protected so far as reasonably practicable while travelling abroad and should have a policy and associated procedures to deal with the risks.

Safety and security

Keeping staff from safe from accidents of any kind whilst at work should be a matter of good practice in the work environment.  Security, however, is a different issue and with so much political unrest, the safety of individuals travelling in foreign countries must be carefully assessed.  Kidnap, terrorism and other potential threats should be taken into account.

Risk assessment

• Don’t send staff overseas if it’s not absolutely necessary. Explore    alternative means of achieving the result needed that are safer.
•Plan ahead and review previous experience.
• Control the risks with procedures and proper training.
• Review and adapt procedures.
• Ensure accidents and incidents are reported immediately on return to the home country.

Do a thorough pre-trip check on all aspects that might affect the safety of your staff whilst travelling and working abroad.

Download your information sheet on Overseas assignments here.