Field Research Safety
Field Research is defined as work activities conducted primarily for the purpose of research, undertaken by employees or students of UCSC beyond the geographic boundaries of UCSC property and the engineered (urban) environment and/or outside of the United States. It also includes service and research activities undertaken by agreement on behalf of other agencies, including government and private organizations. Field research activities can pose levels of risk to research team members, which may range from low to high and potentially lethal.
While the PI is ultimately liable for whatever happens within their research, working responsibility for safety in fieldwork rests primarily upon the persons who directly supervise and carry out the research on location. Such persons are expected at all times to use good judgment. UCSC requires that due diligence be exercised by all concerned parties in identifying and addressing the risks associated with each location and kind of field research.
Clearly it is best to anticipate and address potential issues beforehand, and not out in the field. A successful outdoor adventure depends heavily on trip planning and preparation. As part of teaching and research at the University, one of the most important phases of your fieldwork is planning and preparation, before you leave. The UC System-wide Field Safety Group has, with the support of UC Risk Services, developed a Planning Tool intended to help you prepare for health and safety problems you might encounter. This web-based system was developed to assist in creating your own customized Field Safety Plan.
You may need to consult your local field station contacts, other researchers, the resources listed below or other sources, such as the IJet Worldcue system (accessible via the UC Travel Registration website) to find the answers you will need to complete the plan. UCSC is committed to supporting your effort to make your trip as fruitful and safe as possible; please contact the people listed below for assistance.
UCSC Field Research/Instructional Trip Planner
Please login to complete and submit your field safety registration (https://fop.uctechnology.
To request a username and password, contact Jim Schoonover, 459-5182.
Field Safety Plan
To successfully complete your plan, you will need to know the answers to questions such as:
- Who is going on the trip, their contact information and their emergency contact person...
- Where you are going, the local contacts and nearest hospital…
- The diseases endemic at your field locations…
- Is there civil unrest along your travel route?
- Is the country, region or city on the State Department list of countries and regions with current travel warnings? (Special Travel Insurance may be required. Contact the Risk Services Office.)
- How will people travel to the field site(s); and between or around the field locations? (Who will drive, what is the vehicle insurance coverage?)
- Will you be flying and/or using a boat or other watercraft?
- What are the activities that will be taking place, do they require any special precautions, training or insurance?
- Transportation (People; Samples, Materials, Supplies, Equipment; and Hazardous Materials)
- Medical Considerations
International Travel Information
Health and Medical Considerations