FIELDWORK SAFETY GUIDELINES - 2. Fieldwork

2.1 Definitions

"Fieldwork" is any work, study or research authorised by the University and done by staff, postgraduate or undergraduate students or authorised volunteers at sites other than the regular campuses of the University such as the Darlington, Camperdown, Camden, Orange, Surry Hills, Cumberland, Westmead, Mallett Street and Rozelle Campuses, teaching hospitals, permanent field stations, farms or other rural properties of the University.

Fieldwork does not normally include brief jaunts away from the normal workplace to nearby shops etc. Fieldwork is mostly carried out in rural or remote areas, and does not include activities such as distance education, student exchange programmes, documentary research in archives, offshore teaching at other institutions or similar activities. Travel to and from conferences is not considered to be fieldwork. Refer to the separate supplements for guidance on health and safety in clinical placements and overseas fieldwork, as they are not specifically addressed by these guidelines.

"Remote Fieldwork" is fieldwork in areas where it would be difficult to summon help and/or where emergency assistance would be an hour or more away without a vehicle. This includes work on rivers, inland waterways, estuaries and the ocean and work in off-road areas.

"Personnel involved" include members of staff (academic and general), postgraduate and undergraduate students and, in some cases, subject to authorization and approval by the relevant Head of Department, volunteers and members of family of staff. Under some conditions, students of other institutions doing work experience may be authorized to do fieldwork.

Work at permanent field stations that are owned or operated by the University is not considered to be fieldwork, but travel to and from such field stations is covered by these guidelines, as for travel to and from any fieldwork site.

Work may also be conducted at permanent field stations that are not owned or operated by the University. In these cases the fieldwork party should be familiar and comply with established safety practices at those establishments.

Overseas fieldwork should be planned and conducted in accordance with these guidelines, but variations in climate, infrastructure, culture and politics can impact on the safety and health of people engaged in fieldwork overseas. These aspects should be assessed as far as possible prior to departure on the field trip. Refer to the separate supplement on overseas fieldwork for more detailed guidance in this area.