Travel abroad

Business travel insurance

  • Staff and students travelling on University business outside the UK must take out business travel insurance and are advised to take out University of York Business Travel Cover or an equivalent business travel policy. See a summary of the cover and the full wording for further details.
  • Owing to changes in the FSA Regulations from 1 January 2009, NYS Corporate is no longer able to provide business travel cover on behalf of the University. The University of York now provides business travel cover FREE OF CHARGE to its students and staff. In order to receive the cover free of charge it is essential that the details of each trip are submitted to the University's Health and Safety Department by completing the on-line Travel Log form.
  • Note: when completing the Travel Log form you will need to acknowledge that a risk assessment has been completed. For low risk travel you will be covered by the generic Biology Department assessment for 'low risk travel'; for higher risk travel you will need to prepare a specific risk assessment for your trip.
  • Once travel details have been logged, the cover will be provided automatically for the dates given, however, the Summary of Cover and the Legal Expenses Key Facts Summary outlining the details of the cover must be downloaded and taken on the trip. The Summary of Cover includes the helpline numbers in the event of an emergency.
  • Please submit a completed form if you are travelling on University of York business even if you have your own personal business travel cover. The form may be submitted any time up until the start of the trip, however if the travel is to a high/extreme risk area or includes a high risk activity then the trip must be advised to the Health and Safety office at least four days prior to the trip.
  • To qualify for the free business travel cover please note the following:
    1. The purpose of the trip must be University of York business and must be with departmental approval. 
    2. The trip must be primarily business, although up to seven days holiday may be added to the trip.
    3. If a member of the University is travelling outside the UK travellers should check the destination with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (telephone 0845 850 2829). Any journey to a high risk area must be discussed with the University's Health and Safety Department prior to booking.
    4. A specific written risk assessment will be required for all higher risk travel but not for low risk travel activities (Department of Biology policy). The department's generic assessment will apply for low risk travel. However when completing the Travel Log form you will still need to acknowledge that a risk assessment has been completed.
  • Business travel cover is arranged for the University of York by UMAL, (Universities Mutual Association Ltd), the specialists in higher education cover. Their website contains useful information for travellers together with a 'Country Risk Forecast' which supplements the Foreign and Commonwealth web site. For details of the log-in name and password please see the University Health, Safety and Welfare web pages.
  • The University of York Business Travel Cover may be extended to provide up to seven days holiday cover providing the main purpose of the trip is business and the trip is predominantly business. For those occasions when students/staff wish to extend their business trip to include a holiday exceeding seven days then separate insurance is available with UMSL (Universities Mutual Services Ltd), is closely linked with UMAL and is a not-for-profit association. Their details can be found on the UMAL web site.
  • Summary of Cover
    A brief summary of the cover provided and what to do in the event of a claim.
  • Full University of York Business Travel Cover wording (pdf file)
  • Legal Expenses Key Facts Summary

Note: insurance cover is provided for any number of journeys. All claims must be immediately notified to the Health and Safety Department.  

Risk assessment guidance for foreign tavel

All foreign travel needs to be carefully considered and planned before departure.  However, the need for a detailed specific risk assessment is dependant on the nature of the activity and location of the work.

a) Low risk travel / activities abroad

Many staff and students travel and work abroad in the course of departmental business.  Since most of these trips present a low risk, equivalent to most trips within the UK, there is no requirement to prepare a specific risk assessment for your travel.  However, when registering details of a trip on the 'Travel Log Form' to receive free business travel insurance, you must still acknowledge that a risk assessment has been completed (i.e. you are covered by this generic departmental assessment for 'low risk travel'). Low risk trips would typically involve travel to North America, Central or Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand to attend conferences, or visit colleagues at other organisations.  Host organisations are responsible for your safety and should have appropriate safety provision in place.     

Although such trips are considered ‘low risk’ it is still important that travellers are mindful of inherent dangers associated with all trips abroad. These include:

  • Health issues, including the need for any specific vaccinations / prophylactic medications
  • Personal safety issues

The UK Foreign Office provides a useful source of information and advice on practical tips on staying safe, secure and healthy, and avoiding problem situations.  The Foreign Office also gives specific travel advice on all countries of the world, including advice on crime, health, terrorism and natural disasters, and should be consulted before your trip abroad. 

b) Higher risk travel / activities abroad

These following arrangements apply to work carried out by staff (working alone or with colleagues), by students and staff (as part of a course of study), or by students (carrying out research, either alone or with others, or on work placement).

Higher risk countries

To obtain University Business Insurance for foreign travel a specific risk assessment MUST be prepared for all trips to countries or parts of countries where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against travel. The Risk assessment for travel to higher risk countries / areas (MS Word  , 69kb)‌‎ requires approval by the Departmental Safety Advisor and Head of Department.

Where the FCO advises against all travel then it is particularly important to ensure that contingency plans are in place to deal with emergencies (e.g. the visit may need to be postponed or curtailed if civil or political unrest develops, or seems likely to develop).

Fieldwork activities outside UK

A Fieldwork Abroad Risk Assessment Form (MS Word  , 102kb) is required for all fieldwork activities outside the UK. The assessment needs to consider travel, the identification of the hazards directly associated with the fieldwork, as well as hazards associated with the location itself. Fieldwork Abroad Risk Assessment Form (MS Word  , 102kb)‌‎ requires approval by the Departmental Safety Advisor before departure.

Student placements

A specific risk assessment is required for all student placement activities. The assessment of the placement activity itself is usually provided by the placement provider to demonstrate that the safety of the work has been considered and can be safely managed. A specific assessment of the travel is only required for travel to higher risk countries (see above); otherwise the generic assessment and measures for low risk travel will apply. This includes following advice provided by the the UK Foreign Office, including information and advice on practical tips on staying safe, secure and healthy, and avoiding problem situations. The Foreign Office also gives specific travel advice on all countries of the world, including advice on crime, health, terrorism and natural disasters, and should be consulted before your trip abroad. 

Other

A specific assessment is required for all other trips where there are specific health and safety concerns.