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Everything You Ought To Know About Health and Safety at the Olympics

We’re taking a break from the workplace this week to talk about what everyone is watching – the Olympics in Russia. Did you know this year’s games are expected to be the most-televised Olympics ever? In the U.S., NBC alone plans to air over 1,500 hours of coverage. That’s more than the Vancouver and Torino Olympics combined.

And even better than watching it in front of the TV or on a computer screen, thousands of people will be witnessing the games live and in-person from the stands in Russia.

Ok, with that in mind – we have to put our health and safety hard hats on. It’s just what we do!

Canadians flying to Russia to watch the games will be faced with large crowds and that means an increased risk of the flu, colds, and gastrointestinal illness. The Public Health Agency of Canada says many countries in Europe right now, including Russia, are reporting ongoing measles outbreaks.

Protection is crucial to making sure you don’t spend the entire time holed up in your hotel room. Whether travelling to Russia, or planning a vacation somewhere else, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Get the right vaccines, including the flu shot. The Public Health Agency of Canada has released the list of all preventable diseases you may be at risk for in Russia;
  • Practise safe food and water precautions. Check the Russia travel health page for information, including protection against food, water and animal-related diseases;
  • Protect yourself and others from the spread of germs and flu-like illnesses with proper hand-washing and other techniques;
  • Dress appropriately for all types of weather. With Olympic events taking place in coastal and mountainous areas, conditions will vary and can change quickly; and
  • Bring a copy of your prescription for medications and verify the special security measures and restrictions.

Similar to travelling for leisure, individuals travelling overseas for work should make sure they visit a physician for a pre-travel medical exam well ahead of their departure date. Typically, a work travel medical will include:

  • A review of the individual’s medical history;
  • Complete physical exam to assess the person’s fitness for travel and fitness for work in the environment they will be exposed to (i.e. oil and gas);
  • Identification and preparation for potential medical problems;
  • Necessary vaccines; and
  • Prescriptions for diseases the person may encounter.

The elements of each work travel health assessment should specifically relate to the factors that could potentially impact the employee’s health and safety at the site or put them at risk for work-related afflictions, illness or sick leave.

Also consider the availability of medical facilities. Health conditions that are typically low risk where medical care is readily available can pose a significant health risk to international workers. This should be taken into account in determining the worker’s fitness for duty.

Ok, that’s the end of our health and safety spiel. Get in touch with us if you would like more information about how to properly equip your workers for travel overseas.

Enjoy the games!