NIOSH Travel Health and Safety Resource Kit for Workers with International Assignments

Posted on by 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.

Posted on by 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

15 comments on “NIOSH Travel Health and Safety Resource Kit for Workers with International Assignments”

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    As part of an APP, a feature to maintain copies of prescriptions for meds and eyewear would be helpful. The development of an internationally acceptable format of medical information that could resemble the “ICE” APP would be of great benefit to all travelers and medical responders.

    L. Casey Chosewood, John Gibbins, Margaret Kitt, Leslie Nickels, John Piacentino, Donna Van Bogaert, and Kristin Yeoman says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment, including prescriptions for meds and eyewear would be beneficial. We are exploring the best features of a number of existing apps, and now will include your recommendations as part of our assessment. Your observation as to the usefulness of an internationally harmonized app is a helpful recommendation.

    This is a great idea. International travelers always go online to get information to prepare for their trip, but I’d love having one reputable website or app to give employees with links to the information that is mission-critical to planning a safe trip.

    Not speaking on behalf of my employer as endorsing one resource over another, but, gov’t international travelers use ‘Shoreland’s ‘Travax’ program to access just-in-time traveler info. Rather thorough and practical; Re: Medical, Safety, Security issues.

    I think when traveling internationally, when you have a Right to Travel, the most important thing is to eat healthy and get a good nights rest each night. I think these two things are often over looked. Good healthy food is your best bet.

    I used to travel for work all the time when I was in the corporate world, and whenever I was traveling internationally our company had a whole system to give us all the updates about the area, from health to security, so this is a good system to have.

    I’d say that customized tool would be very similar and a great idea; perhaps it could be sent whenever the travel is booked. I always printed it out and put it with my other travel documents, and it was especially useful when packing in case I needed anything specific.

    I now write for a travel blog and this kind of stuff is definitely under-considered in lots of personal travelers, which bleeds into their thoughts about business travel.

    Perhaps we can do a piece about this to help influence some of the hobby travelers to consider more into the health aspects, especially considering the Zika scare!

    We are happy to hear that this endeavor will be of use to you. Thank you for sharing your experience as a business traveler and for your excellent suggestions for ways to develop and share our information.

    actually i am new backpacker and i am planning my business wiht backpacking, i spend my money from now for backpacking around the world in next year, hope my business plan will be success

    There is a lot of valid information given here in this blog. It makes me visit this blog more often. Good luck.

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Page last reviewed: September 17, 2015
Page last updated: September 17, 2015