Field Work Policy

Policy Approval Authority President
Responsible Division Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships
Responsible University Office Office of Research Compliance, Integrity and Safety
Responsible Officer(s) Laboratory Safety Manager
Contact Person Shannon Stoker
Primary Audience Faculty
Student
Status Active
Effective Adoption Date 12-21-2020
Last Review Date 10-09-2020
Policy Category/Categories Campus Safety / Security
Research Ethics / Intellectual Property

Purpose

Northern Illinois University (NIU) is committed to providing faculty, staff, and students with opportunities to conduct field work in a safe environment.  Field activities present a special set of hazards that can put participants at significant risk if not addressed.  All individuals performing field work on behalf of the university are responsible for ensuring they work in a safe and conscientious manner and follow this policy at all times.  The goal of this policy is to minimize the risk associated with field work by requiring a risk assessment prior to field activities and defining responsibilities of those involved.

Definitions

“Field work” refers to work conducted by a student or researcher outside of a classroom or laboratory, in the natural environment. It consists of activities that are authorized by NIU conducted by faculty, staff, students and authorized individuals for the purpose of teaching, or research in locations where planning for risk is in a natural environment is essential. 

“Field work” does not include travel for conferences, seminars, visits to other institutions, or ROTC training.

“Field activity” is a singular activity that is part of field work.

This policy does not apply to field work that is supervised by another institution or organization.

Responsibilities:

  • Department chairs or directors with faculty, staff, or students participating in field work shall:
    1. Ensure that each group has considered the health and safety hazards associated with these activities and completed a “NIU Field Activity Risk Assessment” for their field work.
    2. Review and approve all “NIU Field Activity Risk Assessment” for field work.
    3. Notify The Office of Research Compliance, Integrity & Safety (ORCIS) of any incidents.
  • Each Lead Instructor or Principal Investigator (PI) conducting fieldwork shall:
    1. Complete the “NIU Field Activity Risk Assessment” for their specific field work. Field work that is comprised of multiple field activities at different locations and/or spanning multiple days can be covered with a single risk assessment.  Review this Field Safety Policy and submit the form documenting the review annually.
    2. Review the “NIU Field Activity Risk Assessment” with the participants of the field work and encourage everyone to add to the list of hazards during the trip.Bring a Field First Aid Kit stocked with appropriate items for the field activity. A list of recommended items can be found here
      1. Complete the “NIU Field Activity Risk Assessment” for their specific field work. Field work that is comprised of multiple field activities at different locations and/or spanning multiple days can be covered with a single risk assessment.  Review this Field Safety Policy and submit the form documenting the review annually.
      2. Review the “NIU Field Activity Risk Assessment” with the participants of the field work and encourage everyone to add to the list of hazards during the trip.
      3. Bring a Field First Aid Kit stocked with appropriate items for the field activity. A list of recommended items can be found here
      4. Provide each participant with a copy of:
        1. NIU Field Tactics and Safety Strategies
        2. NIU Emergency Medical Information
        3. First Aid Report Form
      5. Notify the department of any incidents as soon as reasonably possible.
      6. When working with other institutions or organizations, formally coordinate when possible and if their field safety policy is less stringent or nonexistent, use the NIU policy as a guideline.
    3. Faculty, staff and students participating in fieldwork activities shall:
      1. Review the "NIU Field Activity Risk Assessment" for this activity.
      2. Follow guidance from the PI, Lead Instructor, and Field Team Leader for minimizing risks.
      3. Complete the NIU Emergency Medical Information card and keep it on your person.
      4. Notify the Field Team Leader, PI, or Lead Instructor of any newly identified hazards.
      5. Report all incidents to the Field Team Leader, PI or Lead Instructor.
Back to top of page