Tips to reduce the risk of work-related travel
Friday, 15th November 2013, by Joanna WeekesIn today's Health & Safety Bulletin:
Today I have a follow-up to Wednesday's Health & Safety Bulletin about the High Court case where a compensation claim was rejected for an injury that occurred during a work trip due to the Court not seeing a strong enough connection between the activity the worker was undertaking at the time and their employment.
If something similar happened to you, you may be protected from a workers' compensation claim if you or your insurer can demonstrate that there was a break in the course of employment when the injury occurred.
If your employees need to stay in overnight accommodation for a work-related reason, you should liaise with the accommodation provider to determine the safety of the accommodation and take measures to prevent potential hazards from turning into incidents.
How to ensure accommodation is safe
Here is a short checklist for you that will help you to ensure that the accommodation your employees stay in when they are travelling for work is safe:
☐ Are the entries and exits secure?
☐ Does the premises meet electrical and fire safety standards? Can the owner/licensee provide copies of any relevant documentation?
☐ For older or more remote premises, is there sufficient ventilation and heating or cooling?
☐ What are the relevant safety procedures in place at the premises, and are these sufficient?
☐ If the location is more remote, is there sufficient access to emergency services?
☐ Will workers be provided with individual rooms, or will they be required to share?
Before your employees go on a work-related trip where they need to stay in accommodation, it's a good idea to remind them of your company's workplace behaviour and health and safety policies to ensure that they are clear on what is expected of them during their time away.
Beyond this it is difficult for you to control the actions of your employees. If an incident or injury were to occur during the employee's work-related travel, the court would look at whether a connection could be found between the activity being undertaken when the incident occurred and the employee's employment with you.
In some cases you may be found liable for the incident and be ordered to pay workers' compensation to the employee but as Wednesday's bulletin indicated, it's not black and white and the court may find that the connection was not strong enough if, for example, the employee was undertaking a private activity and the connection with employment was very weak.
Click here to see the case law and what it may mean for you described in an earlier bulletin this week by Michael Selinger, Editor-in-Chief of the Health & Safety Handbook.
Thanks for reading and have a lovely weekend,
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