Risk Assessment and Field Travel Information
The University has a legal obligation towards the health and safety of staff/students performing fieldwork activities. To this end, the University requires researchers to complete a Travel Planning Outline Checklist and either a Solo or Group Risk Assessment Form prior to engaging in fieldwork, and submit them to the relevant departmental safety officer (not the School Ethics Committee). School administrative staff should be able to advise you of the named contact for your School.
Environmental Health and Safety Services (EHSS) regularly update the University Travel Insurance, Trip Planning and Fieldwork Risk Assessment Moodle site and this should be the central point of reference for researchers.
Where the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against travel, or against all but essential travel, to a country or part of a country where you intend to visit, then a risk assessment will be required to authorise the trip. Similarly where there are UK, EU or US sanctions against any country which you wish to visit, then the trip must be referred within the University and also to the Insurer. Again, a risk assessment will be required in that instance.
The University's travel insurer, AIG, provide free resources to assist the risk assessment process. Their website will prepare a country report for you at no charge, indicating general risk levels for most countries across a variety of headings. This can be used as the underlying basis for your risk assessment, although the document must then be bespoked to your own trip and activities, so simply attaching the AIG country risk report will not suffice on its own. Sign-up details and links to the AIG are available on the Moodle Travel site.
Whilst the fieldwork risk assessment process should be undertaken alongside the ethical review process as they usually inform each other, the two strands are managed by separate reporting structures.You should contact the following in relation to each aspect;
Fieldwork risk assessment: School Safety Officer, Angus Clark (Director of EHSS)
Travel Insurance: Kenneth Stewart (University Insurance Officer)
Ethics review process: School Ethics Committee; UTREC