How To Travel Safely On Work Trips
October is National Safe Work Month. This initiative was started by Safe Work Australia to get people talking about Work Health and Safety. You can learn more about this initiative here.
When we’re working in our offices, work health and safety has already been taken care of for us mostly. Someone has checked equipment, made sure we all know what to do if there is a fire and generally planned for how to keep us safe in the workplace.
But what happens when you have to travel for work? Most workplaces will have policies and procedures in place for those who are travelling for work activities to make sure WHS requirements are met. But let’s look at what we can do as individuals to travel safely on work trips.
Double check all your documents
If you’re headed out on a work trip whether it’s somewhere you’re driving to or a flight to another state or even another country, there are going to be documents you require.
Before setting off on your trip make a list of all the documents and IDs you’ll need on your trip and double check you have everything before you head off. There’s nothing worse than forgetting something crucial and rushing around. Being rushed could cause an accident or injury.
Pack for emergencies
When packing for your trip you know what you’ll need for each day or work event but adding in an extra couple of outfits is a good idea. You never know when your trip could be extended, or your flight delayed. Consider if you have the right thing for an unseasonably warm or cold day, a rain storm, or even snow depending on where you’re heading.
Remember to bring all your medications and a few first aid supplies like pain killers and band aids, you never know when you might need them.
Pack for emergencies and weather changes, throw in a few extra items so you’ll be prepared no matter what.
Research your destination
Whether you’re travelling interstate or overseas, it’s always sensible to research your destination. Know a bit about the local customs and culture there to avoid offending anyone. If there is a different language learn some basics, so you have a little of the language if you find yourself in an emergency and needing to communicate.
Keep key contact info handy
When you’re travelling, accessing your phone or emails can be challenging at times. Whether you’re not in the WIFI or you have no signal, or God forbid, you run out of battery, there are times when you can’t get access to your contacts and work documents.
Before heading off get together a list of important names and numbers, as well as a printed copy of your itinerary and accommodation information. This way you’re prepared if you can’t access your phone at some point.
Know your itinerary
Know your itinerary, how long it’ll take to travel between your destinations, where you’re meant to be and what you’re meant to be doing. Share this itinerary with a family member or friend as well in case anything happens.
Most likely you’ll need to check in with your workplace, let them know you’ve arrived safely, do the same with a friend and make sure you let them know of any changes to the plans.
Pad your travel time
Pad your travel time between each destination or stop. Doing this ensures you’re never late for a meeting or event and you won’t miss your flight, bus or train. If you’re driving for your work trip, padding your travel trip is especially important, there could traffic or an accident on the road. Even if there are not any issues like that, padding your travel time gives you the opportunity to stop for rest breaks when you’re driving, which is so essential if you’re doing a long drive.
Check the weather
Look up the weather forecast and know what to expect. Make sure you’ve packed everything you’ll need for the predicted weather and in case of unpredicted weather changes.
If you’re driving for the trip, keep up to date with the news and weather forecast on the radio and follow the advice given by the weather bureau. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Review your route
Driving by yourself on a long work trip can be a bit tedious. Make sure you know your route on the road and you have planned out stops to rest, eat something, stretch your legs and use a bathroom.
There is nothing worse than being on a long, lonely stretch of highway when nature calls.
Have a backup
On a work trip having a backup of everything important is a good idea. Get copies of your work documents, your travel information and IDs, that way if your wallet is stolen you have all the information to show who you are and get assistance from the police.
Have a backup portable charger for your phone, these things are lifesavers when your phone is running low and you’re nowhere near an outlet.
Lock up your valuables
Once you’re at your destination make sure to keep your important documents or work equipment safe and lock it up. If you’re staying somewhere with a safe, set a new code. If you’re not, make sure you get a decent lock for your suitcase and lock up anything valuable before you head out.
Know where to get help
Before you go on your trip, try to prepare by knowing where the nearest police station, pharmacy, mechanic and hospital are. Knowing where you can get help if anything happens will make it easier than scrambling to find the right place to go if disaster strikes.
Safety in Numbers
If you’re travelling with other work colleagues or there are work peers on the same conference as you find safety in numbers and go out together. You can get to know people a little better and you have someone else to bounce ideas off of.
If you’re planning on walking to or from the hotel or work event try to time it so you’re not doing it alone.
It never hurts to be well-prepared for a work trip. A few extra precautions can save you a lot of trouble. When it comes to travel for work, prepare for the worst and hope for the best, because it’s better to be safe than sorry.