University work is often carried out in the natural environment or the broader community, away from the normal support networks of the University. This work is referred to as fieldwork. Examples include traditional survey and collection work in the natural environment, working in remote rural communities or third world countries and social science interviews conducted in the community.

Some fieldwork is inherently high risk due to the nature of work environment itself or the associated work activities. Ensuring safety in these situations is dependent on quality planning, the use of appropriate procedures and equipment, and the availability of experienced and competent workers.


The University of Sydney has established minimum performance standards for fieldwork safety and practical guidance to ensure that University faculties, schools, research institutes and individual research groups apply a consistent approach to the management of fieldwork activities. Compliance with the minimum performance standards is compulsory.


The fieldwork safety standards apply to all University staff, students, affiliates and volunteers, and all fieldwork conducted by and on behalf of the University.

For the purpose of this standard, attendance at offsite meetings, conferences, sabbatical leave, work at a facility controlled by an affiliated organisation and student participation in work or clinical placements are not classified as fieldwork.

Need more information

Safety Health & Wellbeing acknowledges that the University carries out a broad range of activities and supports the application of a practical and risk-based approach to safety. If you are unclear whether or not the work your conduct or supervise is fieldwork or not, or you are unsure how to comply with the fieldwork safety standards, please contact your WHS Adviser.