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Health and Safety Directorate

Fieldwork and off site

What consitutes Fieldwork? 

The University considers fieldwork to be “practical work conducted in the natural environment (rather than in a laboratory or office) for the purposes of teaching and/or research in places which are not under the University’s control’’.

Fieldwork is not exclusive to stereotypical activities such as taking soil samples in a field but also includes location scouting for a film set, conducting interviews for research purposes or studying certain species in a rainforest in Borneo. 

For clarity, this does not include travelling to and from the workplace or attendance at conferences. Additionally, where staff are travelling abroad for work purposes but not to carry out fieldwork, they should instead consult the Working Overseas web page.

COVID-19 Secure Placement Risk Assessment Templates:

Fieldwork Risk Assessment 

Risk assessment should be proportionate to the level of risk associated with the fieldwork activities. Below is a 'low risk fieldwork and off-site risk assessment template'. Low risk fieldwork includes routine travel by individuals or small groups to represent QMUL on business in countries/regions that are not know to present risks to travellers [e.g. UK, EU, USA etc]. Also includes architectural/museum visits. All associated activities are of low risk nature i.e. work does not involve hazardous materials/operations and there are no high risk leisure activities. If your fieldwork would not be considered low risk, please refer to Fieldwork Safety Policy, Guidance and Risk Assessment.

Where staff and/or students are carrying out fieldwork there are a number of issues to consider both at the planning and implementation stages of their fieldwork. For example the need to plan the work logistically and to consider emergency procedures. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

Fieldwork Policy, Guidance and Risk Assessment

Off-site and Fieldwork H&S Policy Guidance Risk Assessment [PDF 1,292KB]

Your School / Institute / Directorate may have additional information, local rules and templates for use. Contact your Fieldwork Supervisor or Fieldwork Coordinator for further information.

Further information is available via The University Health and Safety Association who have produced helpful guidance on fieldwork.

Training and Information

Training is available to all persons involved in fieldwork. The Health and Safety Directorate deliver a course: ‘Introduction to Fieldwork Risk Assessment’ (HS017). Further information on this course can be found the HSD Training Course page. Bespoke fieldwork training is available for groups of 6 or more. To enquire please contact HSD Helpdesk and provide information on what your training needs are and some indication of suitable times for delivery. 


Health and Safety Contacts 

For Advice and Assistance at QMUL, .

All HSD staff can be contacted via the HSD Helpdesk.


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