Field Trip Safety

The primary goal for creating a Field Trip Safety Plan is to ensure that we are all doing our due diligence to minimize the risks associate with field work in a manner that keeps VIU students, faculty, and staff as safe as possible.

To that end, a Field Safety Plan should:

  1. Clearly outline the Hazards and Risks that students and employees may be exposed to, and the Activity Plan should be made available to students and employees to review.
  2. Provide a mechanism for students to confidentially disclose medical conditions that may enhance their risk during a field trip.
  3. Clearly establish when, where, and who (employees and students) will be off campus in a manner that is easily accessible by the Dean's Office.

VIU’s Faculty of Science & Technology has established two Field Safety Plan pathways to accomplish these goals.  These pathways distinguish between A) field work that is specific to one course or type of activity, and B) field work that is routinely repeated and ongoing, that is part of a program’s structure (e.g. Forestry’s use of the Woodlot).   

Please follow the directions below (A or B) to get your course(s)'s field work plans approved.  Please review section C on options on students disclosing medical conditions.

What is different this year? 

  • For privacy reasons, the student participation list, and the requirement of a faculty member's cell phone number have been separated out into a distinct document.  This was done to support the requirement that the main Field Activity Plan be a document that students have access to and are able to review prior to any activity.   The two documents have different submission deadlines, but feel free to submit the Participation List with the main Activity Plan.
    • Changes/Additions to the Activity Plan are highlighted in Green.   Highlighted in Yellow are some in-text details that need to be updated with each submission. 

Process:

  • At least 5 business days prior to a field trip: please submit a completed Field Activity Plan to the Associate Dean (CC the Administrative Assistant to the Dean) for review and approval.
    • Once approved, remember to print a copy to take during the field trip and to post/circulate the plan in a manner that all students have access to.  
  • At least 1 day prior to trip: please submit a completed Field Activity Participation List to the Associate Dean (CC the Administrative Assistant to the Dean).
    • Both documents will be stored on a dedicated S&T Field Work Calendar that is accessible to all Dean's Office staff.   

Please discuss with the Associate Dean if this pathway is appropriate for the field work done in your program and what types of documents should be submitted prior to a semester's start and prior to any activity. 

Currently Forestry is the only program approved under this pathway.

There are many medical conditions that can lead to higher risk during a field activity, with one example being a severe allergic reaction.  

If you are in a course/program that is doing field work, there should be some mechanism by which students are confidentially asked about any pre-existing medical conditions, or other injury/condition, that might limit their ability (and increase their risk) in the field.    

Two common options are to:

  • email students asking them to self-disclose their condition(s).
  • require students complete a disclosure form.  Please see this example of a Disclosure Form used by Biology and adapt it to your course(s). 

If you are going to ask students by email instead of using a form, please ensure you follow up with any disclosure that may require the presence of an Epipen or medication, to ensure that the student will be bringing any required materials that help lower their risk.

Make sure you go into the field knowing if a student has made a medical disclosure and what the nature of that disclosure is.