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Field Safety

What is field research?

Field research activities can pose levels of risk to research team members, which can range from low to high and potentially lethal.

Field research is defined as work activities conducted primarily for the purpose of research, undertaken by employees or students of UC Merced beyond the geographic boundaries of UC Merced property and the engineered (urban) environment and/or outside the United States.

It also includes service and research activities undertaken, by agreement, on behalf of other agencies, including government and private organizations.

What steps should I take if my research requires field work?

  1. If you are traveling out of the state or to a foreign country on university business, you are required to register your trip online, which automatically registers participants for accident/travel insurance.
  2. Each field researcher (including those traveling within California) must develop a field safety plan using the Field Safety Planner and Field Safety Operations Manual. This form and instructions for its completion can be found at the Risk website.
  3. Before leaving for any field work, prepare a list of local contacts and inform your office/home contacts about your trip.
  4. Learn about potential hazards of your field sites, and assemble/check all gear and prepare a safety kit before leaving.
  5. Before leaving, ensure all individuals who will participate in field work receive necessary training that is specific to the tasks they will perform.