Fieldwork is defined as 'any practical work carried out by staff or students of the University for the purpose of teaching and/or research in places which are not under University control, but where the University is responsible for the safety of its' staff and / or students and others exposed to their activities.' Voluntary and leisure activities are excluded, along with work experience (e.g. placements) and similar activities controlled by other employers.
Fieldwork can include very diverse activities, such as:
The following represents departmental policy and guidance for fieldwork activities. It provides an outline of the necessary steps to be taken for the safe management of all fieldwork activities, both within the UK and abroad. Careful planning and risk assessment represents the key starting point of any fieldwork activity to ensure appropriate measures are taken to reduce risk to a low and acceptable level.
The policy and guidance is based on the document 'Guidance on Safety in Fieldwork' published by The University Safety and Health Association, (USHA, 2005). Consideration has also been given to British Standard, BS 8848, 'A Specification for adventurous activities, expeditions, visits and fieldwork outside the UK'.
The Head of Department (HoD) has overall responsibility for health and safety in the Department. The need to ensure a risk assessment is made for fieldwork is delegated to the Fieldwork Organiser / Supervisor.
Although the HoD has overall responsibility for health and safety in the department, specific responsibilities are delegated to other appropriate individuals. For fieldwork, it is the responsibility of the fieldwork organiser to ensure that a risk assessment of the fieldwork activity is prepared, and a 'safe system of work' established (i.e. the identification and application of appropriate safe fieldwork practices).
Departmental Safety Advisor
The Departmental Safety Advisor (DSA) is responsible for providing practical help and advice for fieldwork activities.
The fieldworker is responsible for ensuring or not endangering your own safety, that of your colleagues and that of members of the public; behaviour which endangers your own health or safety or that of others may result in prosecution, irrespective of whether such conduct violates specific guide-lines.