Safety Services



Fieldwork is defined as any practical work carried out in the UK or overseas by staff or students for the purpose of teaching or research in places which are not under supervisory control by UCL.


Fieldwork is a broad term and can include a low-risk social trip to another city, a trip to a contry park to carry out ecological surveys or a higher-risk expedition to collect geological samples in the remote contryside. All carry some level of risk that needs to be assessed and managed. The effort needed to manage this risk depends on the amount of risk involved.

This guidance applies to all Schools and Departments, to work that takes place away from University campuses or premises (e.g. fieldwork, consultancy, work-based placement learning, University vehicles), where UCL is responsible for the safety of its staff, students, or others who may be affected by their activities.

Fieldwork risks

The risks associated with fieldwork will vary according to the location and method of data or sample collection.

Risks may arise from the following factors:

  • work on or near water
  • poor sanitation
  • excavations
  • weather conditions e.g. high or low temperatures
  • terrain e.g. mountains or desert
  • isolated locations where normal methods of communication don't work e.g. mobile phones
  • pre-existing conditions affecting the fieldworker e.g. allergies, health conditions
  • vehicles and transport
  • moving and handling equipment

Fieldwork abroad

If the fieldwork is conducted abroad the following factors must be considered when planning the trip:

  • The social and political situation of the destination. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office may advise against travel to some countries and regions. If you decide to disregard this advice UCL's Insurance provider may not provide cover.
  • Immunisations that may be required in advance of the trip. Some immunisations must be administered weeks in advance to be effective.

Fieldwork planning

Step 1: Itinerary

Download word doc itinerary

Step 2: Risk assessment

Conduct a risk assessment on riskNET

> Further information at Risk Assessment

Step 3: Complete travel checklists

Complete one of the following travel checklists

Working in the UK pdf

Working Abroad pdf

Step 4: Complete safety checklists

Complete one of the following fire safety checklists

Hotel fire safety pdf

Campsite fire safety pdf

Last updated: Wednesday, September 14, 2022