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Travel Risk Management

Decisions to travel, study, or conduct research overseas should be made with an understanding of the world situation at the time of your travel.  Prior to finalising any overseas travel, course of study, research arrangement or other university-related travel, it is important to plan for and to be aware of health, safety, and security concerns in the region(s) you will visit.

The information provided on this website outlines the risk management requirements for university travel, and applies to all staff, students and others who travel under the University’s authority.  As an ECU traveler, it is your responsibility to comply with ECU's Travel Policy and Procedures, read the travel advice provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and monitor any changes to their travel advice.

No travel is without risk.

The level of risk that you will be exposed to, particularly in international countries will be dependent on a number of factors that may include: political stability, environment events, or crime. The only way to ensure you are not entering into a dangerous situation is to conduct a risk assessment prior to leaving Australia and again in country when the conditions and your assumptions change.

The level of your risk planning will be commensurate with the mode, purpose and destination of travel. If you are travelling to a destination assessed as low risk, then a less comprehensive assessment should be conducted.  However, if you are travelling to a location or locations that are high risk you will need to conduct a detailed risk assessment that considers the range of risk events that may affect your travel.

Managers Responsibilities

As the traveller's manager or supervisor, you need to be aware of the risks associated with the travel to be conducted.  You also should be confident that the controls required to eliminate or reduce the risks are in effective and place prior to the travel occurring.

For international travel, you must be assured that your staff, and if they are leading a study tour:

  • Travel has been approved. Staff travel must be approved in  the Travel Approval System; student travel via the Student Travel Approval Form.
  • The traveller(s) are adequately informed about their destination.
  • Have undertaken appropriate risk assessments of their travel, and have implemented measures to address any foreseeable risks.
  • Have appropriate approvals to travel to high risk areas.
  • Are appropriately trained and qualified to undertake their activities whilst overseas.
  • Students travelling in study tours are provided with the necessary instructions in relation to the activities being undertaken, and are capable of implementing them.
  • Are insured if taking any equipment or goods valued at $50,000 or greater.
  • Have plans in place for regular communication.
  • Have plans in place in case of emergency situations.

When do I need to do a risk assessment?

A Travel Risk Assessment should be conducted prior to travel and submitted with your Travel Approval System request. If you are regularly travelling to different destinations, chances are you will encounter a disruption at some point. It is important that you know what to do when this happens, especially if your safety and security is at risk.

In preparing your Travel Risk Assessment, you should consider a number of scenarios the many occur:

  • Natural disasters – events such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes.
  • Civil unrest – political instability that affects travel plans or places travellers in jeopardy.
  • Terrorism – acts of terrorism leading to severe disruption and increased risk.
  • Lost or stolen passport – which means you cannot travel internationally until it is replaced.
  • Lost currency or credit cards – which means your traveller is unable to pay for essentials like food and accommodation.
  • Cancelled flights – flight delays or cancellations that affect your trip itinerary, including any hotels you have booked.
  • Booking complications – an unexpected issue that means you need to find alternative accommodation at short notice.
  • Health and Safety considerations - traveller's physical health and pre-existing medical conditions, travel related health conditions, manual handling requirements and fatigue management.

Resources

Dept, Foreign Affairs and Trade (Smartraveller)

Dept, Foreign Affairs and Trade (Sanctions Regimes)

AIG Australia Limited. Link to ECU's Travel Insurer.

Note: To access  AIG Australia Limited Travel Assist resources you will need to setup a user profile and provide either of the following policy numbers:

  • Travel Insurance Policy No – 2600139456 (staff)
  • Travel Insurance Policy No – 2600139457 (students)

ECU Risk Management (Tools and Templates)

Travelling interstate and overseas for work is becoming more common. It is important to make yourself aware of the various hazards you will be exposed to when you travel, and consider what you can do to protect yourself from injury and/or illness.

If an incident occurs whilst travelling resulting in a near miss, personal injury or illness this should be reported as soon as practicable through ECU’s incident reporting process.  Your supervisor should also be advised as soon as possible.

Pre-existing Conditions

If you have any pre-existing conditions you should consult a GP. A GP will be able to assess the risk, advise of any precautions you should take, and ensure that your travel will not exacerbated your condition.

If you have a pre-existing condition, you may also wish to confirm if ECU's travel insurance will cover any aggravation to the pre-existing condition before you travel. Contact insurance@ecu.edu.au for further information on ECU’s Travel Insurance Policy.

Pre-Travel Medical Advice

Before you travel, it is advisable to visit a medical practitioner at least six weeks prior to travelling. If the destination you are travelling to requires immunisations, your visit may need to occur 3 – 6 months before you travel.

When visiting a medical practitioner you should:

  • Obtain information about immunisations required for your destination of travel.
  • Discuss appropriate medical checks or advice on pre-existing medical considerations.
  • Discuss specific medical clearances required to meet visa requirements.
  • Obtain first aid kit recommendations and prescriptions for medication that can be taken with you when you travel to manage common health complaints.

Immunisations

Travelling to certain countries or parts of Australia may put you at greater risk of acquiring a vaccine-preventable medical condition.  Some countries will require proof of vaccination against specific diseases as a condition of entry e.g. proof of Yellow fever vaccine is required for entry to some parts of Africa, South and Central America and the Caribbean.  You can check a country's vaccination requirements for your destination and transit countries through Smartraveller.

Immunisation Guidelines are available from the Human Resources website.

For further information on travel immunisation requirements it is recommended that you visit the Travel Doctor, or a GP.

Medications

If you need to take medications with you on your trip, it is recommended that you:

  • Order and take an adequate supply of any prescription medications you will need.
  • Take a copy of your prescription and a letter from your Doctor regarding the medication you have been prescribed and the medical condition the medication is for.
  • Check whether you need approval to take large quantities of your prescription medication out of Australia.
  • Check with the country’s embassy, high commissioner or consulate if the medication is legal there.
  • Carry your medication in your hand luggage.
  • Take a copy of your glasses prescription (If applicable).

For additional information, check the Resources list below.

Manual Handling and Ergonomics

Manual handling injuries can occur as a result of handling luggage.  One of the easiest ways to reduce the potential for a manual handling injury whilst travelling is to minimise the weight of your luggage.

When choosing your luggage, look for a case that is durable and easy to roll.  Frequent travellers should consider a case size that suits carry on baggage limits to reduce the risk of arriving at their destination without their luggage, and to reduce the temptation to over pack.  If lifting the case is required, use correct lifting techniques and don’t be afraid to ask for help from airline or hotel staff. Some hotels do not have lifts or the lifts do not go all the way to the top floors.

If you need to take resources or equipment to your destination, consider using alternatives i.e. hotel resources or couriering the items to the destination.  The use of data storage solutions such as Microsoft Onedrive, or portable drives will assist in eliminating the need to carry paper copies.

Frequent travellers should also consider the potentially negative musculoskeletal effects of working on a laptop on planes, lounges and in hotel rooms. Investing in lightweight portable items such as laptop stands and detachable keyboards can assist in providing a more ergonomic working position.

ECU staff and students frequently travel abroad for University related purposes including business, research, study, and program development. International travel may pose significant health and safety risks, and for this reason, the University encourages travellers to carefully plan for trips prior to departure. Your preparation for travel should take into consideration government warnings, University policies, your health, travel insurance cover, country specific requirements, and the ability to evacuate if something goes wrong.

Australian Government Travel Advice

Prior to travelling, you are advised to visit the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website and review the travel warning information relevant to the country you are intending to travel to. As part of your travel arrangements you are also encouraged to register your travel.

Smartraveller advice to travellers provides specific travel advice for:

Are you travelling to a Sanctioned Regime?

There are a number of regimes that are subject to sanctions issued by the Australian, US and UN Governments. If you are travelling to these countries, please contact our office to discuss your options.

The sanctions regimes currently implemented under Australian sanction laws are shown in the diagram below:

Contact

ECU Risk and Insurance team, email insurance@ecu.edu.au

High & Extreme Risk Countries

The countries listed below are designated as High Risk and assessed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as "Do Not Travel". If you need to attend a county listed below you must have approval from your Director or Executive Dean, the Senior Deputy Vice- Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor. Once authorised to travel you must contact the Risk and Assurance team to arrange for the completion of a detailed Travel Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan.

DAFT (Smartraveller) "Do not travel" destinations: Please check the Smartraveller website to verify this in case of change.

CountryDate of Assessment
Afghanistan22 February 2019
Burundi05 November 2018
Central African Republic16 May 2019
Chad15 February 2019
Iraq16 May 2019
Libya15 April 2019
Mali17 January 2019
Niger10 January 2019
Somalia22 July 2019
South Sudan07 November 2018
Syria09 August 2019
Yemen18 February 2019
Venezuela18 February 2019

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provide a range of maps that provide a graphical view of their regional threat advice.

If you are planning to travel for ECU, or developing a Study Tour plan you can use one, or a number of the maps provided below to assist with your planning.

International Driving and Road Safety

Driving in other countries will present a range of risks that you will not be accustomed to when driving in Australia. These risks may include: driving on the other side of the road, road rules may be different or hard to understand, and driving conditions may range from chaotic to entirely unsafe. To minimise the risks do as much research as you can before arriving in country, about different road regulations and make sure you can and where possible to wear a seatbelt and drive to minimise risk.

Remember that driving under the influence of alcohol can have severe criminal penalties, some countries will have a zero limit. Traffic infringements and penalties can also be severe (and have expensive on-the-spot fines) in some countries.

If you intend to drive a vehicle while travelling overseas on university business, you should obtain an International Driver's License (also known as an International Drivers Permit (IDP)).

Not all, but many countries may also require a traveller to have an International Driving License and a current Australian Driver's License to hire a vehicle. To assist in identifying which countries require an International Driving License and what their requirements are, you can search the Australian Automobile Association website.

Resources

Smartraveller - Road safety and driving

International SOS - Safety on the Road Video

During the course of your time at ECU, you may be required to travel internationally, and may require you to take a personal and/or University-supplied mobile device with you. The following security tips will assist in protecting your data and devices while travelling.

Data Encryption

Most portable devices - laptops, smart phones and memory sticks - should be encrypted to minimise the loss of sensitive data or information if it is lost or stolen.  Many countries provide their immigration and other authorities with legal powers to demand that you decrypt an encrypted device prior to entering the country.  Therefore, any information that you do not want disclosed to a foreign authority should be removed from the device prior to departure.  You should also consider whether taking sensitive data with you is absolutely necessary.

VPN Usage

If you need to access ECU's on campus resources over an encrypted connection, you may use ECU's CISCO VPN services. The functionality of ECU's VPN services is limited to accessing on-campus resources only and is not a VPN that encrypts the entire connection.  As such, it will only route and encrypt connections to an ECU IP address and the respective VPN group where access is allowed.  Some countries may restrict or heavily monitor the use of VPNs.

To launch the VPN connection when you are off campus you need to be connected to the internet. Once connected, open the CISCO VPN software and connect to the ECU VPN system. If you need assistance with setting up or using the VPN, refer to the ITSC website for more information.

Backups

It is advisable to ensure that you have an up to date and off-line backup of your personal and sensitive data. Backup your laptop to an external hard drive, or cloud based back up system before leaving, to capture and backup new and updated files.

Stay up-to-date

Keep your operating system up to date.  Make sure you download and install all security updates for your operating system and other software prior to travelling.

Passwords

Do not save passwords in your browser or other programs on your laptop for easy use.  If your laptop is lost or stolen, these passwords are easily obtainable.

Re-image operating system

If you are concerned that your laptop has malware installed on it, you may want to consider re-imaging it when you return to Australia.  To obtain assistance with re-imaging your university laptop or mobile device contact the IT Service Desk.

International roaming

If you intend to take an ECU mobile device with you while travelling, be aware that international roaming charges may apply.  To obtain assistance and further information contact the IT Service Desk.

Resources

Travelling overseas with an electronic device

Technical Advice for travelling overseas with an agency issued electronic device

Smart Traveller

Travel Emergencies

Research your destination and ensure that you know the emergency numbers of your host country.  As part of your travel planning you should know the contact numbers for: an ambulance, the police, fire brigade and the Australian Embassy. If you are unsure, check out Smartraveller.

The Australian Government provides 24-hour consular assistance

  • From overseas: +61 2 6261 3305
  • Within Australia: 1300 555 135
  • SMS: +61 421 269 080

For passport assistance, contact the Australian Passport Office

What happens if there is an emergency?

If required, contact ECU's Travel insurance provider: AIG Australia Limited - Emergency Assistance (24/7) on +60 3 2772 5641. This is a reverse charge service.

If you need to contact ECU outside of office hours, call the ECU Security team on +61 6304 3333.

Resources

AIG Travel Guard: Travel information and resources

Contacts

If you need information regarding ECU's Travel Policy and/or travel booking arrangements, contact ECU's Travel Administrators, email travelrequests@ecu.edu.au

For advice regarding Travel Risk Management, International Safety and Security, and Emergency Response Planning, email riskmanagement@ecu.edu.au

If you are taking high value university equipment overseas, or travelling for ECU related business, or studying for a period greater than six months, email insurance@ecu.edu.au

For advice and support about maintaining good health, safety and wellness while travelling, email osh@ecu.edu.au

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