Fieldwork: Work carried out by staff or students for the primary purpose of teaching and / or research at locations away from the University where the University remains responsible for the safety and health of participating staff and / or students and others affected by their activities.
Health and Safety legislation still applies to off-site activities, such as academic and research fieldwork, and the University and its constituent Colleges and Professional Services therefore still have specific obligation to ensure the health and safety of all person(s) participating in fieldwork. This includes implementing procedures to:
- Identify risks associated with the fieldwork.
- Establish suitable controls to manage risks.
- Assess and ensure competence of fieldwork leaders & participants.
- Plan for potential emergency situations.
It is highlighted that fieldwork is integral to a successful University and therefore health and safety must support it through enabling activities to happen, safely. Controls and arrangements should always be 'there' to help ensure fieldwork is a success for everyone.
The potential risks associated with fieldwork activities (overseas) have been recognized by the British Standards Institute (BSI) who produced British Standard (BS 8848) for Field Trips and Activities. This in turn is supported by the Universities Safety and Health Association (USHA): Higher Education Sector Guidance on Health and Safety in Fieldwork and Travel (2018).
The Fieldwork Policy Standard & Procedures outlines the specific arrangements Colleges / Schools must put in place to either prevent or control the risks associated with fieldwork in accordance with legislative requirements and the BSI and UCEA documents. As part of this the following supporting Handbooks and template documents have also been produced to help those planning and undertaking fieldwork:
- Fieldwork Policy Standard
- Fieldwork Management Procedures
- Handbook: General Day Trips & Visits
- Handbook: Social & Community Based Field Research
- Handbook: Taught Fieldwork and Research Fieldwork Handbook
- Participant Form
- Trip Registration Form
- Example Risk Assessments
- Case Study / Example RA Social Research (produced by IOSH)
NOTE: Although the Fieldwork Policy Standard etc will, generally relate to UK fieldwork as overseas travel is predominantly covered by the University’s Overseas Travel Policy and arrangements, some basic advice on planning for health and safety on overseas fieldwork will also be given.