September 15th, 2015 9:20 am ET - L. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPH; John Gibbins, DVM, MPH; Margaret Kitt, MD; Leslie Nickels, PhD, Med; John Piacentino, MD, MPH; Donna Van Bogaert, PhD; and Kristin Yeoman, MD
Travel Internationally for Work? Tell us what you think.
Ever looked at international travel resources on the web? There are an incredible number. Most are intended for leisure travel and not for work-related travel, and most are overwhelming in detail. In addition to the many logistics involved in making foreign travel a pleasant and successful experience, there are many considerations critical to decisions about where, when, and how to make work-related travel a safe and healthy experience, minimizing occupational risks for stress, fatigue, and potential threats to personal safety and health in unfamiliar surroundings.
Large companies and organizations manage the needs of their workers who travel internationally with in-house human resource professionals or contracted travel services. Small to midsized companies typically don’t have those resources and are often left on their own to navigate the vast web of information. That may mean a considerable investment of time, trial and error in finding or tailoring the information that the organization and the business traveler need specifically for planning safe and healthy travel. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been developing a Travel Health and Safety Resource Kit for Workers with International Assignments specifically to fill this gap. Before we complete our work, we want your feedback on what we’re developing and anything you think we may be missing or would make the kit more valuable to you and your employer.
Where we’re at . . .
The idea is to create a website that provides an overview of the issues involved in international travel for workers in small to midsized enterprises. Information on the site will be organized and presented by critical stages of the travel process: pre-travel planning, in-country, and post-travel. At each stage, information will be presented and further organized into three areas: job related tasks and environment, geographic location, and pertinent personal issues. The main tool is a Personal Travel e-Planner to help you manage the entire international work experience, whether you are the travel coordinator for a small or midsized organization, or whether you, yourself, are the traveler with a measure of authority or responsibility for planning your trip. The planner helps travelers, simply, get organized in finding, collecting, and incorporating information for safe and healthy business travel.
Give us your feedback
To make this the most useful tool possible, we would like your feedback on the following assumptions which are based on information from stakeholders and research by the development team. Please take a few minutes to let us know if you think we’re on the right track:
- The stages at which information is needed for international work travel are pre-travel, in-country, and post-travel.
- At the different stages of travel, workers on international travel need information about the job tasks and environment, geographic location, and personal needs at each stage.
- An online Personal Travel e-Planner that would generate a customized travel health and safety plan would be a valuable tool.
- The online e-Planner would be more useful if it was also available as a mobile app than as a hard copy document.
- A NIOSH environmental scan found no websites or apps that do a good job at combining all travel information for workers on international assignment.
L. Casey Chosewood, MD,MPH, is the Director, Office for Total Worker Health® at NIOSH.
John Gibbins, DVM, MPH, is a veterinary epidemiologist in the NIOSH Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch.
Margaret Kitt, MD, is the NIOSH Deputy Director.
Leslie Nickels, PhD, MEd, is the Associate Director of the NIOSH Research Translation Office and Co-coordinator of Global Collaborations.
John Piacentino, MD, MPH, is the NIOSH Associate Director for Science.
Donna Van Bogaert, PhD, is the Chief of the NIOSH Information, Resources, and Dissemination Branch.
Kristin Yeoman, MD, is a medical officer in the NIOSH Division of Respiratory Disease Studies.