Health and Safety policy

Adventurous travel always involves some degree of risk. Our priority is to keep you safe and protect you as much as possible, while still giving you an authentic experience of life in your chosen destination.

We conduct thorough risk assessments to make sure we have identified potential hazards and done everything we can to reduce them. We also make sure you have the information you need about the situation locally and how to stay safe and healthy while you are out there.

Assessing risk

  • We conduct a formal written risk assessment for each project. Based on this, we identify any action needed to reduce the chance of injury, sickness or crime.
  • Risk assessments are constantly monitored and reviewed formally each year.
  • Risk assessments are available for participants to view on request.

Safety standards locally

  • We will not work with a project unless we are satisfied that they have good safety standards and procedures.
  • We expect regular checks on the safety of accommodation, equipment and vehicles.

Briefing participants

  • We inform participants of any major risks associated with the project before they book.
  • Participants are advised how to get the latest information on local health issues and any required inoculation.
  • We require participants to arrange appropriate travel insurance and can recommend a good value policy which is appropriate for our projects.
  • Our pre-departure briefing gives practical information about how to stay healthy and safe.
  • Participants receive an induction session on arrival, including advice about staying safe locally, how to access medical care and what to do in an emergency.

Support during the programme

Oyster’s representative or the volunteer co-ordinator will be there to provide advice and help, if needed.  This includes:

  • checking on participants’ welfare at regular intervals
  • providing advice and help in the event of an accident
  • taking charge of participants in the event of a crisis or catastrophe

Oyster’s head office monitors the safety situation in all its destination and is in regular contact with reps and project staff to check on the welfare of participants.  The head office will be fully involved in the event of an emergency and will keep families informed of developments.  A member of staff is always on call outside office hours.

Booking flights with your safety in mind

As an ATOL bonded company we would be delighted to organise your flights for you. In fact, with some of our programmes, flights can be included in the price.

If you ask us to arrange your international flight out to your destination, you can be assured that we will always use reputable agents and airlines. We will also take into account the need for you to arrive at a safe time of day (e.g. we would not recommend a cheaper option if it meant arriving at 2am).

Where internal flights are needed, the choice can be more limited, but we will always select the best available airline. In some countries, domestic airlines will not meet the standards that we would expect in Europe and the USA. Despite this, they have good safety records and are still the safest way to travel, compared with other local forms of public transport.