(1) For the purpose of this policy:
(2) This policy sets out the responsibilities of employees, students, contractors and visitors and specifies processes to minimise health and safety risk during authorised fieldwork.
(3) The purpose of this policy is to assist in the assessment of risks associated with fieldwork and to minimise recognised risks and potential hazards.
(4) This policy applies to University employees, students, contractors, visitors (including workers as defined in the relevant work health and safety legislation) and other approved participants involved in outdoor fieldwork. When employees, students, contractors or visitors undertake clinical, education or other placements at sites other than the University, the safety guidelines of that site eg hospital, school prevail over the Outdoor Fieldwork policy and must be complied with.
(5) The Head of Work Unit must give written approval for all fieldwork before it commences. If the Head of Work Unit is not satisfied the fieldwork safety plan provided by the Fieldwork Leader is adequate, the fieldwork may be postponed or cancelled.
(6) The Head of Work Unit is to ensure employees involved in fieldwork are suitably qualified, have current certification and specialist training is made available where applicable (e.g. rough terrain driving skills, first aid, boating skills, safe chainsaw operation). In instances where students will be involved in fieldwork activities such as driving motor vehicles, the Head of Work Unit will also ensure that they have suitable qualifications and specialist training.
(7) The Head of Work Unit is responsible for developing and implementing procedures for fieldwork activities in accordance with University policy. Fieldwork safety plans and risk assessments provided by fieldwork leaders must be maintained in a fieldwork register held by the work unit.
(8) Prior to departing on fieldwork, the fieldwork leader is required to provide their Head of Work Unit with a proposed written fieldwork safety plan. Where information is not immediately available, estimates may be made. When the relevant information becomes available, the Head of Work Unit must be notified in writing as soon as possible. The fieldwork safety plan must include matters such as:
(9) The fieldwork safety plan may contain sensitive information and therefore confidentiality must be maintained.
(10) The Fieldwork Leader is to complete and provide the Head of Work Unit with a risk assessment in line with the University's Work, Health and Safety (WHS) Risk Management Procedure and implement any necessary hazard controls. The fieldwork leader should follow relevant work unit risk management procedures.
(11) The following should be considered in the risk assessment:
(12) The Fieldwork Leader must ensure:
(13) Fieldwork participants:
(14) Fieldwork parties must consist of a minimum of two people. To enable a fieldwork participant or student to work alone, the Head of Work Unit may waive this requirement where:
(15) A written risk assessment must be completed by anyone working alone in the field. This written risk assessment must be discussed with the Head of Work Unit and signed by the person undertaking the fieldwork and the Head of Work Unit before the fieldwork is commenced.
(16) Anyone working alone in the field must, where reasonably practicable, make daily contact with a nominated person.
(17) Fieldwork involving students must have an acceptable employee to student ratio so that appropriate transport and supervision arrangements can be implemented. An acceptable ratio of employees to students would depend on:
(18) The employee to student ratio must be established based on risk associated with the fieldwork, and normally, in undergraduate courses, there would be an upper limit of one to twenty five. For routine fieldwork with an established safe history, a larger ratio may be acceptable. Careful consideration should be given by the Head of Work Unit before approval is given to fieldwork involving a larger student to employee ratio.
(19) All drivers must hold a current driver's licence of the class suitable for the vehicle they are intending to drive. It is recommended that anyone who is required to drive a 4WD vehicle is offered training in off road or rough terrain driving skills. This training may be provided by suitably competent technical employees.
(20) All drivers must comply with the University's Driving Safety Policy.
(21) Any vehicle used for fieldwork must be appropriate for the work and terrain where the fieldwork is to occur.
(22) Any luggage and/or equipment in the vehicle is to be secured and firmly packed.
(23) Where a vehicle has become bogged or broken down and a recovery is necessary, only personnel who have been trained in the safe method of using recovery equipment should be involved.
(24) Where the fieldwork is undertaken along major or busy roads 'Caution - Students on Road' signs are to be erected 300 metres from the field site, in both directions.
(25) Luminescent jackets are to be worn by one person at the start of the area of interest and by one person at the end of the area of interest and these two people are to:
(26) Fieldwork leaders are to ensure all fieldwork participants under their supervision are accounted for before leaving the excursion stop.
(27) The risks associated with foot traverse fieldwork depend on factors such as the weather, terrain, vegetation, and topography. A risk assessment must be undertaken and discussed with the Head of Work Unit prior to commencing the fieldwork. The risk assessment must be signed by the fieldwork leader and the Head of Work Unit, and forwarded to the Manager, Workplace Health and Safety.
(28) All aircraft pilots must have the appropriate Australian Pilot's Licence with a supporting current medical certificate.
(29) All airborne operations must be conducted in accordance with relevant government regulations.
(30) Where boats are used, employees involved must be familiar with relevant maritime legislation e.g. NSW Boating Handbook published by the Waterways Authority.
(31) All coxswains of motorised water vessels must have a licence issued by the Maritime Services Board suitable for the vessel they are intending to operate.
(32) Only licensed and appropriately trained personnel should be in charge of boats. If crossing bars, the operator of the boat must have a Coxswain certificate of competency.
(33) Buoyancy vests must be provided for everyone on the boat. Buoyancy vests must be worn for all bar crossings and during heavy seas.
(34) In the event of personal injury, first aid treatment must be provided promptly. If necessary, the relevant emergency services are to be contacted.
(35) Where safe to do so, other precautions should be taken at the accident site, i.e. smothering fires, removing persons from the site, and removing ignition sources.
(36) If emergency services have been notified, the University (Head of Work Unit, Manager, Workplace Health and Safety or Security), and next of kin are to be notified at the earliest available opportunity.
(37) An Incident, Accident and Hazard Report be completed for all incidents and accidents.
(38) Fieldwork is a University sponsored activity and accordingly the University's Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination Policy applies.
(39) Employees and students taking part in outdoor fieldwork are subject to University misconduct processes.