M7/21 - Overseas Travel – Risk assessment template

Overseas Travel – Risk Assessment Template for Overseas Academic Activity


Staff and students undertake extensive overseas travel on University business for research and educational purposes. The University has a duty of care to ensure these activities are undertaken as safely as possible. UPS S3/07 (revised March 2016) Overseas travel sets out the arrangements for the safe management of overseas travel on University business. This includes a requirement to undertake a suitable and sufficient assessment of the significant health and safety risks associated with the overseas academic activity.

The purpose of this memo is to communicate the University’s General Purposes Committee’s (GPC) decision to make the use of a standardised travel risk assessment mandatory and to highlight the University Overseas Travel Policy and training and resources available to departments and travellers.

Action for departments

  1. Discuss this memo in your departmental safety advisory committee.
  2. Review departmental travel risk assessment and management procedures.
  3. Adopt the Safety Office travel risk assessment template for overseas academic activity, noting that this can be tailored to individual departmental travel profiles and activity risks.
  4. Note the relevant policies, training and resources available to departments and travellers in managing travel risks. Travellers and those involved in travel administration should undertake relevant training.
  5. Include international travel risks in departmental health and safety management arrangements, as is appropriate to the risk (for example risk register, departmental travel policy, prioritised action plan, assurance checking).
  6. Contact the University Safety Office if you have any queries or require further support in implementing this memo.


  • Heads of department are responsible for ensuring these actions are implemented.
  • Supervisors are responsible for implementing them within their areas of control.
  • Departmental safety officers should support their head of department and supervisors by providing advice and helping to coordinate or oversee the actions.


Universities UK (UUK) published guidance in October 2020 for institutions on measures they should take to guard against hostile interference from autocratic governments Managing risks in Internationalisation: Security related issues (universitiesuk.ac.uk)

One of the recommendations of this report was for universities to ensure processes are in place to educate staff and students about specific security-related risks in countries to which travel requires special consideration and preparation.

GPC have recommended the use of the Safety Office’s standard template for travel risk assessment to be made mandatory and that the Safety Office will work with communications staff to ensure that departments are aware of the support available in respect of overseas travel.

University Policies and Risk Assessment

UPS S3/07 (revised March 2016) Overseas travel sets out the arrangements for the safe management of overseas travel on university business. Other related policies which provide detail on the management of particular activities (whether undertaken overseas or in the UK) are contained in UPS S5/07 Safety in fieldwork and UPS S2/15 Student placements

Fundamental to S3/07 (revised March 2016) is the preparation of a suitable and sufficient risk assessment proportionate to the risks associated with the travel. The University Safety Office has developed a template travel risk assessment which captures key information around the core risks associated with travel, but which also provides the flexibility for departments to tailor it according to their own activities and travel risk profile (for example activities may range from tagging wolves to interviewing refugees).

This template is available here and can also be found at Overseas Travel and Fieldwork | Safety Office (ox.ac.uk). This can be tailored to individual departmental travel profiles and activity risks, providing the core travel risks are maintained. This includes risks to travellers and data security from working in politically sensitive/autocratic contexts.

Training and resources

The following training courses are currently provided by the Safety Office available at Training A-Z | Safety Office (ox.ac.uk)

  • Emergency first aid for fieldworkers – classroom training
  • Fieldwork safety overseas – classroom training
  • Fieldwork and overseas travel risk assessment administration - pre-recorded online training presentation
  • Fieldwork and overseas travel risk assessment for fieldworkers and travellers - pre-recorded online training presentation

Divisions and departments may also provide local training courses tailored to local needs. In particular, the Social Sciences Division provide a range of training and resources to support staff and students undertaking travel and fieldwork Research- Fieldwork | Social Sciences Division (ox.ac.uk)

The University provides travel insurance for University employees, students and volunteers travelling within the UK or worldwide on University business. This is applied via the online Travel Insurance and Registration System (TIRS). Further information is at Travel Insurance | Finance Division (ox.ac.uk).    Staff and students travelling on University business should normally use the University’s travel insurance. However, we strongly recommend that you still register your trip details on TIRS even if the University Travel Insurance is not required. 

Travellers have access to daily security updates and country specific information through the insurers, available at Referral Countries, Activities and Country Information | Finance Division (ox.ac.uk)

The Travel Clinic of the University Occupational Health Service provides travel advice, immunisations, and antimalarial prophylaxis to University employees, and specified Non-Employee Eligible Groups travelling on University business. Travel service | Occupational Health Service (ox.ac.uk)

24 August 2021                                                                           Dr C Williams

CIRC: A, C, GLAM, Humanities, MPLS, Social Sciences, S, UAS: Admins, DSOs1, DSOs2, List V