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Four steps you can use to protect travelling employees from disease and injury

by , 12 November 2013
When you send your top consultant to a seminar on the other end of the country, you probably don't stop to consider this simple fact: While he's travelling for work, it's your responsibility to make sure he's not exposed to health and safety risks. Here's what you need to know.

The experts at the Health and Safety Advisor Loose Leaf share this four-step plan for a travel medicine procedure that'll reduce risks for your employees.

Follow these four steps to create a travel medicine procedure
Step #1: Establish which employees are travelling. Refer them toa reputable travel medicine clinic to have the risk oftheir destination assessed and workplace by qualifiedmedical staff.

Step #2:Ensure that appropriate insurance cover is provided fore.g. COID and travel insurance.
Travel insurance underwrites travel, medical and dentalexpenses and arranges medical evacuation of travellersunder specific conditions specified by the travelinsurance policy.Medical and dental treatment abroad and aero-medicalevacuation are very costly and you should advise your employees to take out comprehensive travel insurance.

You don't want them to be unprepared if:
• The trip is cancelled due to sudden illness/injury orloss of travel documents;
• They require medical treatment while overseas oremergency evacuation;
• Their business trip is cut short due to an unforeseenevent or illness;
• Their luggage is lost or stolen; or
• They're in an accident while overseas and have topay a third party claim.

Also tell them to make sure their travel insurance policy covers all theabove events. Read the fine print very carefully to knowthe exact terms and conditions as well as exclusions.Most policies exclude pre-existing medical conditionsand sending you home after medical treatment. In thosecases you need to obtain a special travel insurance policywith a higher premium to cover you

Step #3:Provide the employee with a basic first aid kit andinformation about what to do in emergencies (can beprovided by onsite clinic or travel clinic). The doctorshould provide a prescription for any drugs.

Step #4:Post-travel follow up should be arranged once youremployee has returned from his overseas trip; the reasonbeing that:
• Travellers may have infections that pose a risk topublic health such as: Lassa, Ebola (3-21 days'incubation), SARS (2-10 days' incubation).
• Some diseases are notifiable and must be reported tothe Department of Health.
• The traveller may develop adverse reactions toimmunisations and chemoprophylaxis and othermedications while abroad, which also need to bereported.
• This information helps to monitor global trends ininfectious diseases.
This travel medicine procedure is especially useful if you don't have an occupational health clinic on site at your premises. 

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