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…
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.