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Conduct a health risk assessment before your employees travel on business

by , 12 March 2013
The local media industry is reeling over news of the death of popular news journalist and international correspondent, Mandy Rossouw. Her body was found on Monday after she didn't answer her phone. Her body will now be flown to Cape Town and funeral arrangements are being made. Here's what to do to protect your employees' health if they regularly travel on business.

'What a devastating blow to journalism, politics and Media24,' writes News24 about the death of international correspondent Mandy Rossouw.
 
It always comes as a shock when an employee passes away.
 
More so if the employee is overseas on business at the time.
 
But it's a real risk that you need to face whenever employees travel on business.
 
Do you know what to do if an employee is injured while travelling for business?
 
If you have employees that travel regularly for business, it's your responsibility to ensure their safety and well-being while travelling, because they're effectively still 'at work', says the Health and Safety Bulletin.
 
So if an employee is injured while on business, you'll foot the bill for the hospital and medical expenses.
 
You can claim this back from COID if you report it to the Workmen's Compensation Commissioner as soon as possible.  
 
But most hospitals and doctors abroad don't have the documentation required to submit a Workmen's Compensation claim and won't wait for payment.
 
Conduct a health risk assessment before your employee travels
 
Rossouw had gastric complaints over the weekend, says News24.
 
This could have been the cause of her death.
 
It's your responsibility to ensure your employee is fit for duty or travel before he leaves on the trip, says FSP Business.
 
That's why it's a good idea to do a health risk assessment before your employee travels.
 
It doesn't have to be complicated. 
 
Simply set aside half an hour to conduct a health risk assessment – all you have to do is run through your employee's medical health and note any allergies or existing ailments. 
 
That way you'll be prepared if a medical emergency does arise while your employee is travelling on business.
 
What if you find your employee is unfit to travel on business?
 
In fact, it's illegal to send your employee overseas on business if your health risk assessment finds he's not well. 
 
So if you find your employee is unfit for duty or travel, you'll have to postpone the trip or find a replacement, as the Health and Safety Bulletin says it's your duty to ensure the employee is healthy and fit for work. 
 
And if an employee does die while working overseas, remember to report the death to the relevant authorities, and remember to make any outstanding salary and other payments, says Gov.UK.
 
Conduct a health risk assessment before your employee travels and hopefully it won't come to that.

Turn to chapter R01 of your Health and Safety Advisor to read more about the different types of risk assessments you can conduct in your workplace 
 


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