Published On: Thu, Dec 27th, 2018

Managing Your Safety Risks When Moving to Another Country

It’s not something most people planning to move abroad consider, but foreign workers tend to be more at risk from accidents of all kinds compared to locals. This has been demonstrated in multiple studies and also goes along ethnic lines in some cases. Most of it has to do with differences between both the culture a worker was raised in and the work safety culture of the host country.


However, even when transferring to a country with a similar emphasis on safety, there are still elevated risks due to the fact that not all aspects of safety may be emphasized in the same way. For instance, in some countries such as Malaysia, it is common practice to use elevators during emergencies, as the thought behind it is that it will allow faster evacuations in a large structure, compared to just using the stairs. In the neighboring Philippines, elevators are shut down during emergencies to prevent occupants from being trapped. These differences go on and on in different areas of workplace safety.

Before moving to a new country and during your transition period, it’s important to do your homework to mitigate your risks of an accident. Check out how to do that below. Also, make sure to get international insurance coverage before you start working abroad to help mitigate your expenses should the worst happen.

1.) Learn what expats are most likely to be in trouble for

This doesn’t just concern workplace safety either. Relationships, finances, and traffic laws may all be handled differently overseas and ignorance of these can very well put your safety at risk.

You can start learning what issues workers from your home country are most often in trouble for with a quick search. Most overseas communities will have online support groups and social media pages where they can share their experiences and stories.

They will invariably have some discussion on issues workers from your home country are likely to face. From there, you can start doing your homework on what to avoid doing.

2.) Make sure your vaccines and insurance are all up-to-date

Vaccinations and health checks are serious business. Before these became mandatory, a significant portion of foreign workers and travelers died upon exposure to local diseases. These foreigners also spread diseases from their home country to local populations, resulting in epidemics as well. Given the speed at which pathogens mutate, it’s important to get the latest vaccines necessary for your stay and to make sure you’re actually physically fit enough to work overseas.

3.) Check out the news related to your host country

Crime, poverty, the lack of potable water, and the state of traffic and work safety enforcement all play a key role in the safety of citizens and foreign workers alike. It’s important to examine all these issues from the perspective of locals, your own government, as well as governments from other countries.

The reason you should check out multiple sources is due to the fact that all news outlets and government advisories are largely affected by politics, and you may not get an accurate picture by just looking at any single source alone. By looking at different sources, you will find yourself reading between the lines and you’ll have a more accurate picture of what risks to manage before you leave home for a new life abroad.

Author: Maria Santana Reyes

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