Field research is defined as work activities conducted for the purpose of research by employees or students of the university outside of a research laboratory. Field research hazards may be presented by research activities, as well from the physical, political, social, cultural and/or economic environment of the field location. While some events may be unpredictable and may be unavoidable, the risks associated with field research can be greatly reduced through training, awareness of hazards and exercising good judgment.
Solitary field research activities in remote areas are strongly discouraged. Whenever possible, fieldwork should be performed in teams of at least two people after assessing the field research risks and available controls and establishing safety procedures. Each field researcher has the right to refuse to participate in an activity that they feel may endanger their own safety or the safety of another person.
Awareness is the most basic and most important step in preparing to work in the field. To adequately prepare for field research, the worker needs to understand what the specific field research project entails and what safety concerns may arise. Field workers should be aware of the locations of emergency equipment, as well as basic emergency procedures. This is analogous to “site-specific” training in laboratories. CPR/First Aid training is highly recommended. All field research workers should be informed and aware of the potential physical and environmental hazards in the area such as poisonous plants, animals, insects, terrain, biological hazards, weather conditions, crime, and disease.
International Field Research: Please work with the Office of International Safety and Security.