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The University continues to have a legal obligation towards the health and safety of staff/students performing fieldwork activities.

Duty of Heads

Heads of Schools/Units which send staff and/or students on fieldwork must ensure that suitable and sufficient local rules for the safe management of this work activity are produced and implemented.

Risk Assessment - Risk assessment is an essential tool in safety management and, even when the risks are judged to be low, a written generic risk assessment should be produced. For most fieldwork however it will be necessary to produce an individual risk assessment which identifies foreseeable individual hazards and includes the control measures designed to minimise associated risks.

Perceived Risk - Any participant who, having viewed a copy of a fieldwork risk assessment has a major concern regarding their perception of the risks/risk management should, in the first instance, raise these concerns direct with the Supervisor of the fieldwork.

Fitness of Participants - Conflict may arise between the requirement to undertake fieldwork and the abilities of disabled, long term sick, pregnant or other students being able to undertake it within the safety guidelines. Any person intending to take part in fieldwork who has any disability/health problem which may foreseeable affect their ability to participate fully in the programmed activities must, in the first instance, raise the matter direct with the Supervisor of the fieldwork.

Note: Students should be reminded that they may take up any health and safety problem direct with Student Services where the matter will be dealt with in strict confidence.

Guidance Documents - Guidance on safety in fieldwork is contained in the publications given below. While these documents have no legal status following the steps outlined will help to ensure that governing statutory and moral duties are fulfilled.

Guidance on Safety in Fieldwork (2005) UCEA

Guidance Note: safety in fieldwork (1997) NERC

Guidelines and Code of Practice for Fieldwork, Outdoor and other off-Campus Activities as part of an Academic Course (1994) AUCL


Environmental Health and Safety Services contact details

University of St Andrews
Bute Building Queens Terrace
St Andrews
KY16 9TS
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 462750
Fax:44 (0)1334 462747