Fieldwork risk assessment

The form below is to be used in conjunction with the Medical Questionnaire for Off-Campus Activities checklist (35kb pdf) and Overseas travel vaccination forms (where applicable).

If the fieldwork activity does not appear in the form, then a new risk assessment must be completed. In this instance please email Melissa Sharkey.

Fieldwork risk assessment plan form

If any generic risk assessment applies to the proposed activity see the additional controls that are listed on below.

Fieldwork plan risk controls

The following Risk Controls are designed to cover most activities normally expected during fieldwork. If these controls are insufficient for the particular activity proposed, please indicate additional controls in the space provided in the the form above.

Environmental considerations

  • Participants to be briefed on appropriate behaviour in the field location
  • Litter to be collected and carried out of field trip locations
  • Toilet wastes to be buried 20 cm in soil, at least 100 m from watercourses
  • Campsites should be sited to ensure the comfort and safety of campers
  • Sampling must be done in a way that minimises environmental disturbance
  • Environmental damage shall be reported to the relevant management authority


  • Participants must bring clothes, shoes, hats and sun protection appropriate to location
  • Drinking water should be carried at all times (and emergency food in remote areas)
  • In remote areas a large quantity of drinking water and emergency food should be carried at all times
  • Daily weather conditions to be monitored and fieldwork modified accordingly - especially in monsoon seasons.
  • Navigation tools, food and illumination should be carried if being stranded is a risk
  • Roll to be called at regular, pre-arranged times to identify lost personnel


  • Field trips to areas covered by a Total Fire Ban are to be avoided
  • If there is a risk of being caught in a fire, participants to be briefed on survival skills
  • No fires to be left unattended
  • Smoking in the field is to be avoided if there is a fire risk

Hazardous terrain

  • Participants to be briefed on appropriate behaviour in hazardous terrain
  • No climbing trees, rock faces or structures without adequate gear and training
  • Participants to maintain a high level of awareness in hazardous conditions
  • Alternative routes to be sought where possible

Manual handling

  • Field gear must be packed to minimise the risk of injury and distribute weight evenly
  • Heavy gear should be moved mechanically or by lifting as a group

Equipment use

  • Equipment shall be maintained in safe working condition
  • Personnel using heavy equipment must be trained in safe and correct use
  • PPE (eg safety vests, hard hats, safety glasses, hearing protection, respiratory protection) to be worn if required
  • Electrical appliances shall be tested yearly by a qualified electrician

Food and water

  • Personnel preparing food shall be briefed on food hygiene
  • Menus should cater for special dietary requirements and be appropriate to the facilities available for food preparation

Legal compliance

  • Permits to conduct fieldwork to be obtained from relevant management authority
  • The person in charge must see to it that all relevant regulations are complied with

Biological hazards

  • Participants to be briefed on respectful behaviour around animals and plants
  • Participants to maintain awareness of hazardous flora/fauna and keep to paths
  • Appropriate clothing and repellents shall be worn when necessary
  • First Aid to be applied in the event of a bite or sting; hospitalisation as required
  • Tetanus vaccinations are recommended for all participants

Chemicals and hazardous materials

  • Hazardous materials must be labelled, stored, transported and used in accordance with University guidelines and Government regulations
  • Hazardous waste should be returned to the University for safe disposal

Vehicle incident

  • Vehicles to be checked before departure for fuel, oil, water, spares, jack and manuals
  • First Aid kits, fire extinguishers and seat belts fitted in all vehicles
  • Drivers to be competent in driving their vehicle and have signed Transport Policy
  • Vehicle incidents to be reported to Police
  • Four-wheel-drive vehicles may only be driven by personnel who have completed a University-approved 4WD course
  • 4WD recovery equipment to be carried to reduce risk of stranding and to minimise environmental damage off road
  • Each vehicle’s Log Book must be filled in at the beginning and end of trip

Drowning risk

  • No one may conduct fieldwork in or on seas, lakes or rivers alone
  • Site/task hazards to be assessed and communicated before starting fieldwork
  • Persons who cannot swim shall not enter the water without a PFD (lifejacket)
  • Appropriate PPE (safety gear) and PFDs to be used as required
  • Boat operators must be licensed and ensure that safety regulations are followed
  • Diving shall only be carried out by qualified, experienced personnel


  • Communication equipment must function properly in the field trip location
  • Operators of radios, satellite phones, EPIRBs must be trained in their use
  • A map, compass, torch and whistle must be available in case of communication failure


  • Pre-existing medical conditions shall be assessed prior to the trip and kept on file
  • Next-of-kin details kept by person in charge
  • Participants must carry sufficient prescribed medications for the trip duration
  • First Aid kit and communication must be available at all times
  • Trained First Aider (Level 2 or higher) to attend all field classes
  • Emergency Contact to retain a copy of this Fieldwork Plan in case of an emergency