Jeff Horsburgh Field Safety Plan

Printable Version

Verision 1.0

October 8, 2019

1. Document Purpose

This document outlines the roles, responsibilities, and planning/safety requirements and procedures that will cover day-to-day field work for collecting residential water use data in support of the Cyberinfrastructure for Intelligent Water Supply (CIWS) project. This project involves the following field data collection activities:

  1. Monthly reading of water meters located in utility rooms within residential buildings on USU’s campus.
  2. High resolution data collection on residential meters located in utility rooms within residential buildings on USU’s campus using electronic dataloggers.
  3. High resolution data collection on residential water meters at homes located in Cache County, Utah and potentially other locations.
  4. Interviewing of participants in the high resolution data collection program along with walk-throughs in participants’ homes to identify water end uses.

2. Roles and Responsibilities

2.1. Fieldwork Supervisor

An individual will be designated the Supervisor for all field trips. This individual is responsible for receiving communication from the field team for the duration of the field trip, including when they depart for the field and when they return. This person is responsible for ensuring that field crews return safely from the field.

2.2. Fieldwork Lead

Prior to all field outings, a Field Lead is designated. The designated Field Lead is responsible for evaluating work sites and activities to ensure practices are appropriate for the task being performed. For the duration of each field outing the designated Field Lead is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that the crew has a charged cellular phone with them for emergency communications.
  • Ensuring personnel are properly trained for the work being performed and that a current, signed Field Safety Agreement is on file with the business office.
  • Ensuring work has been properly evaluated and site inspected.
  • Ensuring personnel are using the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g., gloves, sun protection, etc. – see below).
  • Ensuring personnel are following safe work practices as outlined in this document and any other field safety materials, trainings, or presentations used by project leaders.
  • Ensuring personnel are dressed appropriately for the weather and have any additional clothing appropriate for foreseeable changes in the weather as presented in the National Weather Service forecast for the area including the field sites.
  • ENSURING THE CANCELLATION OF THE TRIP if any of the above requirements are not met. If the team is not ready, the trip will not proceed. Regroup and re-attempt when these conditions have been met.

Outside of site visits and field activities, the Field Leads are responsible for periodic inspection of Safety Equipment, upgrading and replacing as necessary.

2.3. Technicians and Students

Technicians and Students are responsible for the following:

  • Understanding, based in part on this written plan and associated training, but also based on their observations in the field, the hazards encountered on field trips.
  • Following safe work practices required while performing work activities and visiting sites.
  • Using the PPE specified for the task being performed.
  • Communicating to the Field Lead any issues with equipment, personal safety, or general concerns.

3. Planning

3.1. Safety Training Requirements

The Fieldwork Supervisor and/or Fieldwork Lead will initially review this document and the procedures herein with all other individuals performing fieldwork as part of this project. Such a review is a prerequisite to beginning work for new technicians/participants. A similar review will also be undertaken at least annually for those associated with field work. Upon completion of initial field safety training or periodic re-training, personnel will sign a Field Safety Agreement, which will be kept on file in the UWRL Business Office.

3.2. Safety Equipment

The UWRL will provide required PPE for employees performing field work as required depending on activity/location, including protective gloves and appropriate tools. Where needs for equipment or tools are identified, these should be discussed with the Fieldwork Supervisor who will ensure that needs are met.

3.3. General Personal Care and Dress Requirements

Field personnel are responsible for wearing appropriate clothing while working in the field. This includes adequate protection from the sun in the summer, wind and rain during any season, and from cold temperatures and snow in the winter (see potential hazards below). Field personnel should also present themselves professionally as representatives of the Utah Water Research Laboratory and Utah State University.

4. Potential Hazards

Fieldwork for the CIWS project will occur in residential buildings on USU’s campus and in or around residential homes in Cache Valley. As such, there are several potential hazards to be aware of:

  • Inclement weather: Inclement weather can include rain, snow, wind, and lightning. Care should be taken to limit exposure of electronic equipment (field laptop and dataloggers) to damaging moisture. When wind is strong enough to break tree branches or when there is lightening in the vicinity, fieldwork should be discontinued.
  • Sun exposure: It gets hot in Logan during the summer, and you need to protect yourself from sun exposure. Use appropriate clothing and sunscreen to limit sun exposure. Ensure that you are drinking adequate liquids while performing fieldwork. Take breaks when needed.
  • Hot meter pit lids: Meter pit lids exposed to the sun can be hot enough to burn exposed flesh. Use protective gloves when opening meter pits.
  • Spiders and insects: Spiders and other insects can be present within meter pits. Some types of spiders common to the Cache Valley area, including Black Widows, are poisonous. Use protective gloves, and long sleeves are recommended when deploying dataloggers or retrieving them from meter pits. Use a grasper tool to retrieve the datalogger box until it can be inspected for the presence of spiders or other insects.
  • Dogs and other animals: Unsecured dogs or other animals may pose a risk. Do not approach an unsecured animal, and move on to another site/task if the animal persists in the area. When animals are inside a residence in which a survey is being completed, do not approach or interact with them.
  • Strange or otherwise suspicious persons: If you encounter a strange or otherwise suspicious person, you should feel free to leave the area and move to another site.
  • Controls, valves, and implements in utility closets: When working in utility closets on campus, be very careful not to touch any other controls, valves, or implements in the closets. They may be hot, or we may cause damage to other systems that we did not intend.
  • Traffic: You should maintain your current driver safety training when going in the field in UWRL vehicles and you should obey all traffic laws to minimize risk.

5. Procedures

For all fieldwork trips, regardless of type, the following should be completed:

  • Identify the Fieldwork Supervisor – this will generally be Dr. Horsburgh; however, when he is traveling or otherwise unavailable, another individual at the lab can supervise.
  • Notify the Fieldwork Supervisor via text message, in person, or via phone with a basic trip itinerary and an estimated return time immediately prior to departing from the UWRL.
  • Ensure that all appropriate gear, PPE, and tools have been assembled.
  • Ensure that you have on your person your USU Identification card and your driver’s license if you will be operating a vehicle.
  • Immediately upon completion of all field work, the Fieldwork Supervisor will be notified of the Field Team’s safe return to the UWRL via text message, in person, or phone.

5.1. Trips to USU Campus Residential Buildings

For trips to buildings on USU’s campus:

  • Secure the keys to the buildings from Dr. Horsburgh.
  • Return the keys to the buildings to Dr. Horsburgh or Dr. Horsburgh’s desk drawer immediately upon returning from the field.

5.2. Trips to Residential Homes in Cache Valley

For trips to residential homes in Cache Valley:

  • A gear checklist will be completed by the field team prior to departure.
  • A weather forecast check will be completed by the team prior to departure and should include all areas included in the trip itinerary. Forecast source:
  • Notification must be given to the Fieldwork Supervisor via text message or phone as soon as it becomes reasonable that the anticipated return time/window will be missed.

5.3. Buddy System

As a general rule, employees should not go into the field alone. Only under very specific circumstances approved in advance by the Fieldwork Supervisor should any fieldwork be done by a single person. When visiting residences within Cache Valley, field workers should never enter a private residence by themselves.