In the last few weeks, the news has steadily been filling with reports on the outbreak of confirmed cases of a new strain of coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan City, China.

As of 11 February 2020, there are over 43,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, most

shutterstock_1622495458 of which are within mainland China, with 1018 deaths reported. Currently, there are 8 confirmed cases in the UK.

You might be wondering what kind of risk such an outbreak might pose to your staff and your business, especially if you or your people travel to affected areas. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the best ways to assess the risks of travelling to other countries, and some of the best working practices around workplace hygiene.

Advice for employers whose people travel abroad for work

As an employer, you have a duty to assess the risks of travelling and working in other countries, regardless of whether there is an acute situation going on, as is the case with coronavirus, currently.

When planning travel for work in any circumstance, some best-practice advice and areas for consideration include:

  • safety and security including personal safety
  • health guidelines; including vaccinations
  • risk of terror threats
  • local laws and customs
  • entry requirements
  • natural disasters
  • driving abroad
  • insurance
  • means of communication

There could be other considerations beyond these, depending on the country you or your people are travelling to – such as sun protection, travel in rural areas.

Once abroad employers should keep in contact with their workers by ensuring they have a means of contact such as a mobile phone with a working SIM. Encourage them to keep you up-to-date on where they are, the schedule they’re working to and when they’re leaving and arriving back at their base.

Emergency procedures should also be considered and agreed with all those involved including having a list of emergency contacts.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has published an official foreign travel checklist that provides some useful hints and tips for you and your people to run through and keep in mind when travelling for work. You can visit it here.