Travel Time

Last updated: September 3, 2019

What Does Travel Time Mean?

Travel time is a measure of the length of time necessary to move from one place to another. In occupational contexts, it may refer to the time necessary for a worker to travel to his or her place of work from home (and vice-versa), the length of time spent traveling as part of the work itself, or the length of time spent traveling from the entrance of his or her business establishment (e.g., an office) to the location where the work is actually done (e.g., a worksite or facility).

Travel time is an important safety consideration in industries that involve large amounts of travel (such as trucking), as well as in industries that require workers to travel in unfamiliar contexts or after working long or irregular hours (e.g., shift work in mines). It also impacts the ability of fire emergency workers to respond to workplace fires. Occupational safety requirements for travel time are often dealt with on a per-industry basis, as different industries face unique travel hazards and have different capacities to mitigate travel-related risks.

Safeopedia Explains Travel Time

An employer's general duty to maintain employee safety includes a general responsibility to ensure that employee travel does not expose the employee to undue risks. The amount of time spent traveling may be a relevant safety concern if there is reason to believe that the employee is suffering from fatigue or if the length of travel time is great enough to cause the employee to experience fatigue during the journey. Fatigue is a major contributor to travel-related accidents, and it's the primary risk factor for most workplace safety concerns involving travel time.

Travel time is also an important consideration for work that takes place at a distance from medical emergency and firefighting facilities. In some jurisdictions (such as various Canadian provinces), work conducted at a site located beyond a certain travel time from an emergency care facility must have trained medical and emergency response personnel available on-site.

Many occupational safety standards impose general restrictions on the amount of time that employees in hazardous roles can work within a given period. As noted above, this primarily relates to the increased risk of an accident faced by fatigued workers. Such standards typically include travel time within the time-worked criteria. Compliance with these standards thus requires employers to account for the fact that different workers may have to travel for different lengths of time based on where their residence is located and what travel is required as part of their job. In addition to compliance with specific safety standards, many firms enact their own travel-time-related safety policies as part of how they meet their general duty obligations.


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