Guidance on University Field Trips

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GUIDANCE NOTES
FOR UNIVERSITY FIELD TRIPS
HEALTH & SAFETY UNIT
SPRING TERM
2014
CONTENTS
1. DEFINITION OF FIELDWORK ................................................................ 2
2. INSURANCE ................................................................................... 2
3. LEGAL REQUIREMENTS...................................................................... 2
4. RISK ASSESSMENTS .......................................................................... 2
5. SUPERVISION ................................................................................. 3
6. HEALTH AND FIRST AID ..................................................................... 3
7. DISABLED PERSONS.......................................................................... 4
8. TRANSPORT .................................................................................. 4
9. CHECKLIST ................................................................................... 5
1. Definition of Fieldwork
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 the control of the university, but where the university is responsible
for the safety of its staff and/or students and others exposed to their activities.
The term fieldwork does not include either work experience or work
placements.
2. Insurance
It is essential that all members of staff and students involved in the fieldwork
have arrangements and can help to provide additional cover where this is
required.
Heads of Department have the duty to ensure that appropriate insurance
cover for all parties and all eventualities has been arranged prior to
commencement of any trip.
(Some field centres or commercial concerns may carry insurance which
covers persons making field visits. Often, however disclaimers exist in these
policies and it is therefore desirable to arrange appropriate cover through the
university)
3. Legal Requirements
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Sections 2&3 the University
must exercise a duty of care to employees and to those they supervise. Under
the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1999 Section 3 a
suitable and sufficient Risk Assessment must be undertaken of the risk to
health and safety of employees and to the health and safety of persons not in
the University’s employment who may be affected by their actions or
omissions.
4. Risk Assessments
During the planning stages of any field trip a thorough risk assessment must
be carried out. The purpose of this is to identify the significant foreseeable
hazard that may be associated with a trip so that the actual risk from these can
then be minimised. The complexity of the assessment should reflect the level
of risk. For routine trips which are undertaken locally, standard (generic) risk
assessments may be made and recorded for each type of trip and each
department. More distant visits or those which contain higher elements of risk
must be assessed individually and details of the plans and risk assessments
recorded.
Many factors require to be considered when carrying out such risk
assessments and include: the nature of the tasks, the location and
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environment in which they are to be carried out, the experience and training of
participants, the nature of any substances which may be used or encountered,
the level of supervision which will be provided and the duration of the exercise.
In addition a contingency plan should be prepared to cover any reasonably
foreseeable emergencies.
The Head of Department and expedition leader are responsible for planning
the fieldwork, making appropriate risk assessments and ensuring that any
training or equipment that is required by staff or students is provided.
Following the risk assessment it may become clear that further competent staff may
be required so that the field activity can be undertaken safely.
5. Supervision
Members of staff who organise fieldwork are responsible to the Head of
Department for ensuring that adequate safety arrangements exist and are
followed by participants. It may be appropriate for organisers to appoint
leaders who will act on their behalf in the field. It should be made clear to all
parties at the outset who is in charge of the group in any given circumstance.
Supervision rates in fieldwork courses will depend upon the type or work done.
The UCEA guidance recommends for low risk work the minimum staff to
student rate of 1:20 and in many cases a higher ratio of supervisors may be
necessary. Postgraduate students can be counted as assistant supervisors on
undergraduate courses. There must always be at least two supervisors, of
which at least one must be a member of staff, with adequate, clear deputising
arrangements.
Risk assessments will identify activities, locations etc, which may require a
higher staff to student ratio.
6. Health and First Aid
Organisers of fieldwork expeditions and outdoor activities must give careful
consideration to the health of participants and, where necessary, the advice of
the occupational Health Department should be sought.
Participants should be asked to make a declaration that they do not knowingly
have a condition that could compromise their health and safety during the
particular activities likely to take place during the trip. There may be some
circumstances where, after consultation with the Occupational Health
Department, persons with particular disabilities or conditions may have to be
excluded from certain activities on health and safety grounds.
Staff and students must not knowingly undertake activities that due to physical
or psychological problems may put themselves or others at risk
Depending on the risk assessment the number of qualified first aiders on the
trip will need to be established. As a guide at least one member of staff
3
attending an out of town field trip must as a minimum standard hold an HSE
approved first aid at work certification.
Where possible other staff or students should have an elementary knowledge
of first aid e.g. Appointed Persons as defined by the First Aid at Work
Regulations.
For visits within the European Union fieldworkers should carry a European
Health Insurance Card (EHIC, available from the post office and www.e111healthcard.org)
Prompt medical attention must be sought in the event of illness. Under field
conditions, relatively trivial injuries may become serious if not treated quickly.
Expedition leaders should be alert for signs of illness, injury or fatigue within
the party. If access to normal means of communication is not available then
the expedition leader must have access to an alternative means of
communication.
For visits outside the European Community it is strongly recommended that
the advice of the Occupational Health Department be sought.
Accidents and Emergency’s
For each group the expedition leader will be responsible for organising
emergency procedures and ensuring that all members of the group are aware
of the arrangements. If an accident or an emergency does occur there should
be a clear plan of action to deal with the situation (as identified in the risk
assessment).
As some incident have to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive, it is
essential that all accidents and dangerous occurrences are reported to the
Health and Safety Unit promptly (same day) so that follow up actions can be
taken if required.
7. Disabled Persons
Every effort should be made to ensure that disabled persons have access to
fieldwork activities and are able to participate fully in them. This may include
special safety arrangements that should be identified during the risk
assessment.
8. Transport
If the transport means are supplied by the university all staff members who
undertake driving must have undertaken a MIDAS minibus driver’s awareness
course and have a valid MIDAS certificate.
It is the responsibility of the person leading the fieldwork to ensure that all staff
students and others wear seat belts.
4
If any other forms of transport are to be used during the field trip, appropriate
measures must be taken to ensure that all health and safety aspects of the
travel are adequate.
9. Checklist
i.
Risk Assessments
ii.
Medical insurance
iii.
First Aiders
iv.
First Aid Kit
v.
EHI card (if travelling abroad)
vi.
Vaccinations (where required)
vii.
Driving Licence
viii.
EU Driving Licence (if travelling outside the UK)
ix.
Communication Method
x.
University Contacts
xi.
Details of Participants on the Trip
5
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