Remote fieldwork is fundamental to the University’s mission. By its very nature, fieldwork has the potential to expose employees to hazards that are uncommon to their day-to-day lives. Fieldwork is not exclusive to any particular discipline and may be viewed as commonplace in agriculture, engineering, fisheries and wildlife, forestry, and geology, among others. And while extremely remote sites, such as Antarctica, certainly command an elevated level of respect and attention to detail, it is “routine” fieldwork that most often leads to injury, illness, or other unintended consequences.
OSHA’s General Duty Clause requires that employees are provided “a place of employment … free from recognized hazards … likely to cause death or serious physical harm … about which the employer knew or should have known”.
It is only with proper preparation that remote fieldwork risks can be recognized, evaluated, and effectively managed. These resources, provided primarily to support operational units engaged in remote fieldwork activities, can be applied to all levels of fieldwork or work-related travel as part of a unit’s overall approach to incorporating best practices into operational planning and safety.
OSU’s Adventure Leadership Institute and Dixon Recreation provide Wilderness First Aid/First Responder and First Aid training, respectively. Hands-on first aid training is appropriate for researchers or trip leaders that work in remote areas, at least 30 minutes from emergency medical services or with limited communications.
How do I...?
Know if I need a Field Safety Plan?
All Oregon State University operational units participating in remote fieldwork shall develop and implement a Remote Fieldwork Safety Plan prior to commencement of the operations described therein.
This requirement shall be applied with common sense and proportionality. Written risk assessments need not be conducted for travel where the risks are no greater than the participant(s) would normally experience in their day-to-day life. This would include travel to other established academic institutions, attending conferences, or running errands.
For more information or to complete a Fieldwork Safety Plan, see the OSU Remote Fieldwork Safety Guide and Remote Fieldwork Safety Plan.
Create a Field Safety Plan?
To complete a Remote Fieldwork Safety Plan, see the template provided.
Register for insurance documents and travel alerts prior to a trip?
Please see the Office of Risk Management’s International Travel and Travel Insurance web page.
Know what training I need to take?
Adequate fieldwork training may cover a diverse range of topics from powered equipment use and first aid training to animal handler training. Some work-specific training may only be provided one-on-one by an employee’s Supervisor. Other training may be provided by OSU. A non-exhaustive list of training and other resources is provided below. If you are planning to conduct fieldwork and have questions about training not listed below, please contact EH&S at email@example.com or 541-737-2273.