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Risk Assessment support for Travelling Overseas

Cardiff uni travel

Useful information to assist with the completion of the Risk Assessment for travel when undertaking University business.

  • The University risk assessment for travelling overseas should form part of the process for approving the trip.  
  • Risk assessment is a process which identifies how the hazards will be controlled.  
  • A suitable and sufficient risk assessment is essential for a successful trip.
  • Refer also to the:
  • The trip supervisor may wish to provide a 'Trip Card' summarising key trip details which can be carried on the individual.

Clicking on the links will expand the information.

1.0 Definitions and key phrases

1.0 Definitions and key phrases

The following phrases are used throughout this page.

Hazard -A hazard is anything that may cause harm.

Risk - Risk is the chance, high or low, of somebody being harmed by the hazard, and how serious the harm could be (severity).

2.0 Preparing the Risk Assessment

2.0 Preparing the Risk Assessment

What will the activity involve and what are the risks to the individual?

1) Has the following University information for travelling been looked at?

2) What is the nature of the task being undertaken?  What are the hazards attributable to the overall activity? (e.g. expedition, excavation, fieldwork, conferences, interviewing, lone working etc.).  Section 3.0 expands on this further.

3) What does the Government's Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) say about the destination/location and are there further hazards and issues that could affect the trip?  (  Some destinations will present more elevated risks to an individual's personal safety and security.  In the event that the FCO state that travel should be avoided unless absolutely necessary then further consultation should be made with the Head of School and College must be consulted.

3.0 Hazard considerations

3.0 Hazard considerations

What hazards may be encountered?  

How can the hazard be eliminated, reduced or controlled is there any further Instruction, Information, Training or Supervision required?  

Should there be any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worn?

1) Consider the FCO advice against to the area being visited.  In higher risk areas it would be expected that a greater level of assurance be made with robust processes put in place.  For instance you might want daily contact for an individual in a higher risk area.

2) Who will be compiling the Risk Assessment?  Include those involved in the trip (the individual(s) and supervisor) and consider any previous experience held.

3) Consider : 

  •     Chemical hazards e.g. Medicine related, task related such as lab work etc.
  •     Biological hazards e.g. Fauna and flora as well as microbiological (Diseases) etc.
  •     Physical hazards e.g. electrical, working at height, high exposure to UV rays or extreme cold, equipment checks etc.
  •     Ergonomic hazards e.g. Manual Handling etc.
  •     Environmental hazards e.g. Weather such as seasonal considerations, tidal patterns, geographical elements such as urban, mountainous, volcanoes, jungle, swamp etc. 

4) Consider also how the individual will be travelling, will they be alone or part of a group. When are the flights and during what time of day do they land, are there any considerations with this?

5) Are there any cultural/regional aspects to consider?  Weather patterns (seasons, tidal etc), language differences, appropriate clothing, behavioural differences, religious influences, local customs etc.

6) Where is the accommodation going to be in relation to the task/activity being undertaken?  How will you get there e.g. walking, public transport, taxi etc (is it reliable) and under what time of day will this be (day night considerations)?  What floor is the accommodation on?  Is it in a safe area?

7) Is the activity covered by the University Insurance and what is covered (or isn't)?

8) What medication is required (inoculations or boosters)? Is there a date or time frame for when this is needed before the trip? 

9) Is any equipment required, how will this be shipped and are there any restrictions e.g. Cameras, Laptops, Specialist equipment etc.

10) What documentation is required for the trip? Is it up to date?

11) Consider anything after the event that may affect the individual e.g. Trauma, Jet lag etc.

12) Is any personal medical equipment required (e.g. First Aid kit, Allergies, Diabetes etc.)

13) Where are key buildings (Accommodation, Embassy, Police etc.) located in relation to the placement of the activities being undertaken?  Will you need a map or other method of navigating the area?

14) Will any driving be undertaken by the individual(s) are there any further considerations with this (competence, security, time of day, parking, paperwork etc.)?

15) Personnel awareness and belongings, are they safe and secure?

16) What training is required and will any further training be undertaken whilst away?

17) Some suggested controls can be found on the Risk Assessment Guidance sheet for controlling hazards as found on the Travel Risk Assessment Guidance Notes :-


4.0 Checking

4.0 Checking

It is important, having put into place your controls to check that the prescribed mechanisms working?

1) Is the communication mechanism that is used, effective?

2) Is the equipment working appropriately? Do any amendments have to be made? (Consider training, information, supervision, instruction and whether it has been portable appliance tested).

3) What happens if injury occurs whilst away? It is important to also let the University know as this may impact the activity?  If an individual suffers an incident whilst away it is important they the University Accident procedure is complied with on their return (depending on the severity and nature of the incident this may need to be sooner).


5.0 Review

5.0 Review

Does anything need to change as a result of something happening that was not reasonably foreseeable or planned?

1) Is there anything influencing the activity that require adjustments to be made (consider any issues where the individual is, issues with the individual and wider understanding news/weather etc?).

2) What lessons (if any) can be learnt from this trip to apply to future trips?

6.0 Contacts and useful information

6.0 Contacts and useful information

Security Centre Emergency contact information

Tel :+44 02920 874444 (24 hours)

Email :

Insurance Officer

Insurance Officer, Cardiff University, 9th Floor, McKenzie House, 30/36 Newport Road. CARDIFF. CF24 0DE

Occupational Safety Health and Environment Unit and other Cardiff University areas

Other websites to consider

Communication related

Experience related

Flights/Travel related

Government related

Health related

Media related