Before commencing fieldwork
2.1 Inductions and training
The following inductions and/or training courses are required dependent on the fieldwork undertaken.
- All staff and students intending on acting as fieldwork team leader MUST receive a fieldwork induction with the appropriate departmental fieldwork manager before they can organise any trips.
Other inductions may include:
- Vehicle induction if you intend to drive a university vehicle and/or hire a vehicle while in the field (contact departmental Vehicle manager)
- Vessel induction if you intend to operate a university vessel (contact Biological Sciences MFM/ boating officer)
- Snorkel/ freedive induction and swim assessment for snorkel/ freedive based fieldwork (contact the University Dive officer)
- Chemical induction if there is the need for chemical (including gases) use in the field (chemicals)
Training programs outside of the university may be required or beneficial to fieldwork and so should be completed before a trip. For WHS reasons, certain courses may be recommended to you (e.g. 4WD and vehicle recovery courses) before a fieldtrip will be approved by the fieldwork manager.
First aid training is a requirement of as many fieldtrip participants as possible and hence is recommended to all staff and students embarking on field excursions. It is University policy that AT LEAST ONE fieldwork participant has a current Australian first aid certification recognised by the university unless otherwise approved by the fieldwork manager after evaluating the Trip risk assessment in Field Friendly. The fieldwork manager has the right to refuse approval for a fieldtrip if there is not a first aid trained participant included.
Assistance from trained staff or volunteers can be sought to supplement participants.
First aid training is available through the university at: staff.mq.edu.au/work/safety-at-work/first-aid
The departmental fieldwork manager and Department administration can assist with bookings and if a course is not available the fieldwork manager can recommend an external first aid certification course for enrolment.
2.2 Check permissions and permits
Some field sites may require access permission or scientific research and collection permits both for access and collection at the site. Allow sufficient time before planning the field excursion to obtain the required permit or licence.
A check should also be made to ascertain whether your field activities or journey will take you onto or through Aboriginal land. Permission to visit some communities is required by way of a permit in order to protect privacy, preserve culture and look after the natural environment. It can also help protect visitor safety, particularly in remote areas
Similarly allow time for field trip specific animal ethics, biosafety, biohazard or chemical safety approval, as well as funding approval. Academic supervisors should assist students with such applications. Permissions and permits are the responsibility of the fieldwork team leader.
2.3 Apply for fieldwork using Field Friendly
- Login using your OneID.
- Follow instructions on home page, including entering qualifications, Project, Site and Trip information.
- Refer any inquiries to your relevant fieldwork manager.
- This document will assist you in using Field Friendly - Guide to Field Friendly
- Do not apply for fieldwork at the last minute. Please allow time for revisions and approvals. It is generally recommended to allow a minimum of 7 days for a first trip and 3-5 days for subsequent trips. Keep in communication with your fieldwork manager to organise this. Contact your fieldwork manager by telephone for any urgent last minute needs.
The Field Friendly application will either be approved or further information or amendments requested by the relevant fieldwork manager and/ or supervisor. If there are serious concerns by the fieldwork manager the approval may be redirected to the Head of Department or the Faculty WHS Coordinator.
- Once the trip approval is finalised, an email will be sent to all participants added in the Trip plan to sign up to the trip via an invitation link. For larger groups such as undergraduate trips, a link will be generated via the Roster page which can be emailed or posted on iLearn for the sign up procedure. Signing up is the last step in the approval process and is MANDATORY for all field trip participants. This is where emergency contact, medical and dietary information is collected and remains confidential.
- Once sign up is complete, each Trip participant can access a PDF copy of the 'Trip Package' containing all relevant safety and logistical information pertinent to the field trip.
2.4 Absence on duty
- The Absence on duty (AOD) form must be completed by anyone who is undertaking University business incorporating travel. This form is an official approval of travel with regards to university insurance and finances.
- The only situation where this is not required is for travel within 50km of the campus with no expenses to be claimed. For all other situations and all fieldwork an AOD must be submitted.
- Absence on duty requires field trip approval prior to submission.
- Absence on duty is submitted to the administration team for approval once fieldwork has been approved.
The Absence on Duty form is available online
2.5 Collect equipment from the fieldwork manager
- Request for equipment should be emailed to the fieldwork manager when submitting Field Friendly entries in advance of the field trip.
- Arrangements are to be made for the collection of equipment from the relevant fieldwork manager. Equipment includes first aid kits, satellite phones, PLBs, snorkel or freediving equipment, specimen collecting equipment, 4WD recovery gear, eskies or camping equipment.
- If you have booked a university vehicle (please see 4.5 for details), keys should be collected just before departure from the electronic safe E8B level 2 for Biological Sciences. If you do not have access to this safe please contact the vehicle manager. For EPS department vehicle keys please see Nigel Wilson. For Environmental Sciences vehicle keys please see Russell Field.
- Ensure your vehicle booking includes extra time for unpacking, cleaning and refueling.
2.6 Pre-trip/onsite safety briefing
It is essential that the staff and students participating in a field activity receive safety information prior to and during the fieldwork as delivered by the fieldwork team leader.
The safety information should include, as a minimum:
- The identified hazards of the fieldwork and precautions to be taken to minimise risks to those hazards, including weather/ ocean conditions specific to field sites.
- Discussion of safety equipment required for the various activities that are to be carried out.
- Minimum dress standards, particularly for weather protection.
- Requirements to follow all regulatory and advisory signage and traffic rules.
- Identification of the First Aid trained participants attending the activity.
- Emergency procedures including call back procedure, emergency evacuation and meeting points.
- Hazard and incident reporting procedures onsite (‘See it - Say it’); and
- Demonstration of the proper use of safety equipment in case the fieldwork team leader (or supervising staff members for larger coursework trips) are incapacitated, including GPS, PLB, satellite phone and any radio equipment.
- The responsibilities of fieldwork participants during any recreational time on the fieldtrip, i.e. the participants must be held accountable for their own behaviour in the period when the actual ‘work’ element of the activity has ceased for the day and appropriate sign in/ out documents used for any recreational offsite activities.
Onsite safety briefings should be conducted at each field site as in the case of multiple field sites the risks will differ. Emergency evacuation and meeting points also need to be constantly reviewed where multiple sites are used.
**If safety is compromised at any point on the field trip there should be no hesitation to cease all activity either until safe working conditions are restored or alternative arrangements are made. Warnings from local authorities should never be disregarded.
2.7 Daily checks
The following items must be considered as part of the daily check:
- Weather conditions – including ocean conditions and tides- to maximise fieldwork and minimise safety risks;
- Checks of equipment, first aid and food provisions, vehicles and vessels to ensure there are no interruptions to the daily field work plan and safety is maintained;
- Close communication with the participants, briefing them daily on site hazards, weather, environmental conditions, and ensure health, comfort and correct practice is managed; and
- Communication with land owner(s) and/or manager and weather services in the event of high winds or total fire ban.
2.8 Change of plans
- If there are changes to the fieldwork plan and the information that has been provided to the fieldwork manager, supervisor and call back person, these changes must be communicated at the earliest possible time. Examples of notifiable changes include but are not limited to change of personnel, vehicle, change of site, cancellation of a daily trip due to weather or hazards and identification of new site hazards.
2.9 Daily call backs
- The fieldtrip team leader is responsible for making daily call backs to the nominated call back person at or before the nominated time. A nominated call back date and time to Security (98507112) also must take place at least once during the fieldwork and for many field groups, preferably at the end. These times are organised through Field Friendly.
- Nominated call-back contacts agree to the following responsibilities:
a. Must be accessible through the agreed means of communication at the agreed times, and should be available through the agreed means of communication throughout the fieldwork operation;
b. If the call back is not made and the call back person cannot contact the fieldtrip leader or other field team members, or locate them in any way, they should call the fieldwork manager who will put procedures in place to locate the field group. The fieldwork manager must also contact the trip leader’s supervisor and Head of Department as soon as possible.
You must have a copy of the fieldwork trip package (produced by FieldFriendly) to be able to provide relevant detail to the relevant authorities should an emergency arise.
- If an incident occurs in the field, if necessary, do not hesitate to contact emergency services.Use the safety and communications devices available to you (e.g. satellite phones, PLBs if necessary). Ensure the safety, security and health of all participants.
- NOTIFY the relevant fieldwork manager and supervisor as soon as possible. If unavailable please contact the Head of Department.
- All incidents including accidents and minor injuries should be reported at the soonest possible time via the online incident reporting site for insurance and WHS reasons.
2.11 Upon return
- Log into Field Friendly and complete the required Debrief for the Trip by following the wizard steps.
- Within the Debrief please indicate any incidents or injuries that may have occurred, issues with university equipment or any university vehicles taken into the field.
- If not already done, complete an incident report for any accidents or injuries in the field.
- Return all equipment clean and in good order to the relevant fieldwork manager.
- Additionally please report any issues with a university vehicle to the departmental vehicle manager to ensure issues are rectified.
- Upload any diving, boating or snorkelling logs required into Field Friendly.