Alfonso Torres' Research Group Field Safety Plan

Printable Version

Field Safety Plan

October 2019

Purpose of Safety plan:

The purpose of this document is to identify any potential safety risks that are associated with data collection activities in agricultural and natural environments alone or in conjunction with other research groups at USU or other entities. THIS DOCUMENT ALSO SERVES AS A CHECKLIST BEFORE ANY FIELD TRIP. Individual roles and responsibilities within the field group will be identified during each day of the trip and will be discussed during pre-trip briefings. Additional safety risks will be identified/discussed prior to departure from USU which will complement the procedures set out in this safety plan.





Responsibilities during field data collection missions:

Field/Team Coordinator

The field/team coordinator is ultimately responsible for evaluating all specific types of risk, which may be site-specific and dependent on the trip mission objectives. Pre-trips briefings will take place prior to travel so members of the team are fully aware of potential safety risks. The field/team coordinator will delegate responsibilities during the mission briefing. For each trip, the field/team coordinator is responsible for:


Following proper procedures as mentioned in the UWRL Annual Guidebook, Travel and University Vehicles


Brief and ensure that all team members are aware of the purpose for the data collection and the location, instruments to use, and procedures to follow.


Ensure that there has been any needed coordination with other parties (from USU or other institutions).


Ensuring the weather, lodging and food conditions for date and location are adequate for a successful data collection.


Establish that travel authorization in the UWRL (discussed later) has been posted to the Business office.


Ensuring the team members are informed of adequate clothing, food and water supplies needed.


Document and have available emergency information for the nearest medical center.


Drivers must have nonexpired driver licenses and be authorized to use a USU vehicle.


Make proper arrangements with the UWRL Business Office for the use of a vehicle.


Field data collection members

All field team members are responsible for the following:


Review and follow recommendations from Field/Team coordinator (for example, field data collection maps, use of instruments and troubleshooting) prior to all trips.


If available, handheld radios work correctly and are fully charged, the correct channel has been identified/discussed and procedures for two-way communication during flight established.


Wearing the appropriate clothing and footwear for the trip.


The necessary food and fluids have been packed for the trip.


Report any food, medicine, insect, and any other types of allergies before a trip and have available Epi-pen supply as well as necessary medicine required. Inform team members of the medicine, use and location during trip.


Incident/Accident/Mishap Reporting

Any incident must be reported to the Field/Team Coordinator. The Field/Team Coordinator will evaluate the situation and decide on the continuation or culmination of the field trip. Any incident that requires a higher level of decision must be consulted with the Advisor or in his/her absence with the UWRL Business Office.

Driving USU vehicles.

All field team members should maintain and keep up to date their USU driving credentials. During long journeys or out of state field trips, (Central Utah, California), driving should be divided between driving approved field team members, but only when the individual feels confident/eligible to drive the vehicles. Any driving violations and accidents should be reported to the appropriate authorities and UWRL immediately.

General field safety:

Prior to any flight mission, the field/team coordinator should identify the nearest hospital/medical center with corresponding telephone numbers for use in case of any emergency. All field crew should be aware of all potential safety issues with any field data collection, especially in natural environments. These safety issues will vary widely and can potentially involve any of the following:

  • Possible snake/insect attacks / bites.
  • Being swept away by a river/drowning.
  • Sunstroke, heat exhaustion.
  • The potential of a fall and resulting injury.

As a precaution the field crew and/or data collection team should;

  • Have cellphones fully charged and with them wherever possible in the field, if cell reception is not available in the location, the team should be have radio handsets (check with advisor) to be able to contact the field/team coordinator and vice versa.
  • Wear the appropriate clothing and layered (cold mornings, hot midday/afternoon). Opened toed shoes should not be worn, close shoes and boots are preferable. Sun hats and sunglasses should be worn during summer periods.
  • Whenever possible, stay protected from the sun, take necessary breaks.
  • Bring fresh, nonperishable foods, seek advice from the team coordinator.
  • Always pay attention to the surroundings, especially in the natural environment. Steep terrain, wild animals, burrows/holes are all potential hazards to look out for.
  • Be generally aware of your surroundings. Scan working and travelling areas, including above you and below platforms, looking for nests or hives.
  • Do not disturb a nest or hive. If bees or wasps are present, walk calmly away and do not swat them. Do not step on bees/wasps as they can sometimes sting after death and the odor may attract more bees/wasps. Avoid bright clothing and strong smells (such as food).
  • When traveling with a member of the team with allergic conditions, anaphylaxis symptoms can occur within minutes of exposure to an allergen and can be fatal. Sometimes, however, it can occur a half-hour or longer after exposure. Signs and symptoms include:
    • Skin reactions, including hives and itching and flushed or pale skin
    • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
    • Constriction of your airways and a swollen tongue or throat, which can cause wheezing and trouble breathing
    • A weak and rapid pulse
    • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
    • Dizziness or fainting
  • If any of these symptoms occur seek medical treatment immediately.
  • In case of a bee sting, clean the affected area with water and soap, remove the sting if possible and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. If sting is bothersome, or rapidly swelling, look for medical help.