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Field Trip Policy
This policy sets out principles to assist staff responsible for organising field trips to systematically identify, assess and control any risks. 
The policy applies to all staff and students participating in approved University of Canberra field trips and other teaching and research activities undertaken in the field including field camps, day trips, site visits and excursions.  It does not apply to work placements and internships which are covered under the Work Integrated-Learning policy and procedures.
  1. The University has a responsibility to provide a safe work environment for its staff, students and visitors, including where work is undertaken in the field.  Field trips may expose staff and students to higher levels of risk than they would normally experience on campus.  The University will therefore ensure that staff responsible for organising off-campus field trips understand their legal obligations and have appropriate skills and training to assess likely risks and develop strategies for their control. 
  2. Field trips that are low risk, such as those in urban settings where staff and students are involved in normal day-to-day activities, will require a different approach from those that involve higher risks, such as those undertaken in remote areas.  
  3. Prior to any field trip, field trip leaders will prepare a risk management strategy consistent with the AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009, which includes an assessment of any likely risks and procedures for managing them (see section 2-4 of the Field Trip Procedure for further details). For field trips to remote areas, the risk management strategy should include an emergency response and communication plan setting out procedures to be followed in an emergency. 
  4. Field trips will not proceed unless the faculty dean or head of research centre has considered the risk management strategy and authorised the activity.  Where the field trip is undertaken outside Australia, the risk management requirements of the international mobility policies also apply.
  5. A minimum number of two people should usually be in attendance during field trips.  In some circumstances, particularly for field trips in urban areas, a member of staff or an honours or postgraduate student may be given permission to work alone.
  6. All field trip participants including staff and students will be provided with detailed and timely advice, as well as instruction on the use of any specialist equipment they will need to use prior to the field trip to enable them to be appropriately prepared. 
  7. Field trips to sites controlled by external organisations may require specialist visitor inductions for reasons of Occupational Health and Safety compliance. In such cases, all participants on field trips will be required to undertake such induction and comply with any directives arising from these inductions. 
  8. First aid kits appropriate to the nature of the location and the activity should be carried on all field trips.  For field trips to remote locations, appropriate first aid kits must be carried and at least one of the participants must be qualified in first aid.  The ratio of participants to qualified first aiders should be based on the assessment of the risk proposed by the specific circumstances using any Occupational Health and Safety regulations as a starting point (see Field Trip Procedure for details). 
  9. All participants must assess whether they are mentally and physically fit for the tasks required during field trips.  If a participant has any pre-existing condition that may require management or treatment during the field trip or that may impact on their ability to participate in all activities proposed, the participant must notify the field trip leader. If a participant has any doubt about whether their health may affect their ability to participate safely in field trips they must seek medical advice.  Written clearance from an appropriately qualified health practitioner and a plan for managing or treating the condition must be provided to the field trip leader and first aider(s).  Information will be treated as confidential unless non-disclosure poses a health and safety risk to any participants.
  10. In accordance with the University’s Disability Policy, staff organising field trips must make reasonable accommodations to ensure that students with a disability can participate.  Some students may not be able to do so and alternative arrangements may need to be made to enable the students to meet course requirements.  Advice is available from the UCAccessAbility Office. 
  11. In accordance with the University’s Tobacco Free University Policy, field trip participants are entitled to a smoke free workplace and environment.
  12. Alcohol must not be consumed during the working elements of field trips. Field trip leaders, having considered factors such as student cohort, field trip location and environment, may determine that no alcohol will be consumed in the field at any time. If the field trip leader determines that alcohol may be consumed outside working hours, participants must ensure that their consumption does not pose a threat to themselves or other participants, nor impinge on their work on the following day.
  13. For field trips undertaken in Australia, all accidents, necessitating the rendering of first aid, all near miss incidents, incidents resulting in loss or damage to University property and incidents requiring emergency response or police intervention must be reported to the faculty dean or head of research centre preferably within 12 hours.  Accidents involving students undertaking field trips in Australia must also be reported to the Dean of Students in accordance with the University’s Critical Student Incident Management policy and procedures. The Health and Safety Office must be advised of any accidents or incidents involving illness of injury.  For accidents that occur during overseas field trips, the requirements of the international mobility policies should also be considered. The risk management strategy must be reviewed as part of the investigation of the accident. Further details are provided in the Field Trip Procedure.
  14. Staff and students participating in field trips officially organised and approved by the University are generally covered by the University’s insurance. Further details of coverage and any exceptions are set out in the Field Trip Procedure
  15. Any fees and charges to students for field activities must be in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act (2003).
Responsibilities for implementing this policy are set out in the Field Trip Procedure.
This policy is governed by the University of Canberra Act 1989. Other relevant legislation includes the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Higher Education Support Act (2003).
Supporting Information:
Documents related to this policy are:
Terms Definitions
Field trip All approved teaching and research activities conducted off-campus (in Australia or overseas) including field camps, day trips and excursions, site visits but excluding work-integrated learning activities such as internships and placements.
Field trip leader For undergraduate field trips this is generally the unit convener, but in some cases this responsibility may be delegated to another staff member.
For research activities, including field trips undertaken by honours students, the research supervisor or approved delegate is the field trip leader.
Remote area Any area more than half an hour by road from urban infrastructure and medical assistance.
Risk management strategy Includes a summary of work to be done on the field trip relevant to the risk, an assessment and evaluation of risks and strategies for their management.
Emergency response and communication plan For field trips to remote locations, a summary of procedures for managing emergencies must be provided, together with emergency contact details, procedures for communicating including frequency of communication, and protocols for raising the alarm in an emergency.