Tag Archives: university field safety

Latest Fieldwork and Expedition standards – NEW BS8848

We were excited to be at the RGS this week for the launch of the updated British Standard for visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities, outside the United Kingdom.  So whether you are a seasoned user of the standard, or new to it – here’s what you need to know…

BS884 - supporting safe ventures

BS8848 – supporting the safety of remote ventures around the world

What is BS8848?

BS8848 is the British standard for organizing and managing visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the UK.  It is a voluntary standard which documents established good practice and specifies the processes needed to manage overseas ventures, from gap year activities to adventure holidays and charity treks.

What does it cover?

It covers core principles such as:

  • assigning clear roles and responsibilities to those involved
  • planning ventures to help ensure key elements are not missed
  • providing clear and accurate information to participants
  • appointing competent staff with the right skills, training and know-how
  • preparing risk management plans

What has changed?

  • The good news it is shorter – the committee have aimed to make the new standard more focused on the key elements and have condensed the standard down to core principles in order to achieve this.
  • There is greater emphasis on the role of senior managers to take responsibility for the safety management systems of their organisations
  • There is also an emphasis on the importance of providing informed consent – a point emphasised by Alistair Macdonald in his key note address to the RGS conference.
  • This is backed up by again emphasising the importance of  competent staff running trips, and competent participants – especially if they are to be working independently for example on placements, or fieldwork.  As an organisation passionate about the importance of training to develop competences key to fieldwork safety, we are very pleased to see this emphasis in the standard.

Where can I find out more?

An extremely helpful element of the new standard is a free consumers guide which is available on the BSi website.  There you can also buy a full version of the standard, though it will also be available for reference from libraries etc.

As ever, we are very happy to offer help and advice, so if you would like to chat about anything about BS8848, risk management,  field safety or outdoor first aid skills then just get in touch.

Fieldwork and conservation grant available

Calling all fieldworkers – Whitley Awards are worth £35,000 in conservation and fieldwork funding to be spent on projects over a period of one year. Up to seven Whitley Awards will be available in 2014 and applications are open… NOW //whitleyaward.org/2013/08/2014-whitley-awards-application-now-open/

Travel medicine – useful information on river blindness

Good information is key when planning fieldwork safety and travel safety.  Here is a useful source of travel medicine information we came across on river blindness.  It suggests that short stay travelers will be less at risk but therefore the disease could be a higher risk for expat workers, university fieldworkers, GAP year or VSO volunteers. For full details read the full river blindness article.

Travel medicine - river blindness

Symptoms of river blindness, important field safety issue

University field safety training a big hit

As if the day wasn’t sunny enough – this lovely email brought some extra sunny cheer to the office this morning.  Some lovely feedback on our university field safety training carried out recently at Durham University.  We were so pleased with it that we had to share it!

The undergraduate training session went extremely well. We were very impressed, from the first minute, by the professional behaviour of the trainers. Furthermore, we had some amazing feedback from the students. I have to say that in 6 years it is the first time I have seen a large cohort of students who unanimously agree on the quality of teaching/training provided; you always get a few unhappy bunnies, but not this time. It was unanimously recognised that the training provided had significantly enhanced their perception of health and safety in the field. It was also recognised that they now understand better the significance and the importance of the paperwork they have to fill in in advance of their independent fieldwork.