SAFETY ON VIEPS FIELD TRIPS
VIEPS has a commitment not only to excellence in the programs it offers but also to the safety and well being of those students and others who participate in VIEPS courses. Of particular concern is the safety of all those involved in VIEPS field trips. The leader of each VIEPS field trip has carried out a Risk Assessment for the field trip prior to the commencement of the field trip. Details of activities involved in the field trip as well as associated risks will be provided to each participant in a field trip prior to its commencement. Participants in the field trip will be asked to countersign Information Sheets confirming that they have read the information sheet and understand the conditions on which they are permitted to engage in the field trip. In addition, Safety Induction will be given prior to the commencement of field activities where appropriate.
Full details on safety on VIEPS field trips are given in our field manual Safety and Environmental Procedures and Guidelines for Field Operations' which can be downloaded here.
GENERAL RULES REGARDING BEHAVIOUR IN THE FIELD
A number of common sense rules apply to the way in which you conduct yourself in the field. The following should not be regarded as a complete list, but rather a start:
(i) Leave gates as you find them.
(ii) Do not climb fences. Take care in getting through them. Walk to a gate if possible.
(iii) Do not walk on crops, new pasture areas or other vulnerable areas.
(iv) Do not disturb livestock such as sheep, cattle or brood mares, be careful around young animals.
(v) Do not light fires.
(vi) Firearms and dangerous knives are banned at all times. Do not bring any.
(vii) Take all your rubbish back to the camp for disposal.
(viii) You should avoid indiscriminate hammering at outcrops, as this may destroy the very thing that you and others who come after you would want to see.
(ix) No alcohol to be consumed in university or hired vehicles used on excursions.
GENERAL RULES REGARDING SAFETY IN THE FIELD
Fieldwork may put geologists in potentially hazardous situations and it is vital that appropriate precautions are taken. Be aware that in an unfamiliar environment there may be risks you are not aware of. Therefore, when you are in an unfamiliar environment, you should be more cautious than usual and seek advice from more experienced people. Use your common sense in the field and:
If someone is injured or ill in the field, make sure a staff member is informed. There will be first-aiders on staff to assist. An incident report form should also be filled out upon returning from the trip if there has been an injury.
If there is any situation on the excursion in which you feel unsafe or unconfident, do not proceed. Inform a staff member of your situation.
If you have any kind of medical condition (short term or pre-existing long term) which may cause problems in the field, make sure that staff members are informed, so that they can assist you. Pre-existing long term medical conditions should be entered onto the medical forms supplied earlier in the year.
Have consideration for the welfare of your class mates and field colleagues. If you see someone who is not well, or has an injury, ask them if they require help and inform a staff member (if the person has not done so already).
Make sure you have a regular tetanus booster in case you cut yourself on rusty wire or metal. You may not always be close to a vehicle and/or medical help.
Carry a small first-aid kit and be familiar with the current first aid treatment of injuries such as sprains, cuts, snake bites, heat distress and exposure.
Wear adequate, easily visible clothing for the conditions in which you are working. Wear field boots which are suitable for rocky ground.
Carry a water bottle and be prepared for strong sun. Use plenty of sunscreen, have a hat and sunglasses.
Do not attempt to climb rock faces unless you are trained, have company and are suitably equipped.
Do not enter cave systems or old mine workings, except by arrangement, and never alone.
Do not climb fences. This not only ruins the fences but is dangerous. Walk to a gate if possible. There are many electric fences in rural areas and these can be generally recognised by the presence of insulators. Always assume that the fence is electric and is turned on.
Always stay as a group. Do not carry out fieldwork by yourself. Do not split into subgroups.
Do not drop rocks or any other object over cliffs or down steep slopes.
Do not stand near the edge of significantly vertical drops as the edge may give way.
When approaching a rock face, always look up to check if there are loose rocks. If there are loose rocks, do not stand near the face.
Do not go swimming unless you have permission and are properly supervised by a staff member.
Be aware of the particular dangers posed by waves when working on coastal outcrops. Ensure that you know the tides in the coastal areas and only work on shore platforms at low tide.