Field Research Safety
The University of Houston is a hub of scientific research. While most of these activities are conducted in a laboratory environment, some are conducted in the field. Field work, field studies, and field research are essential components of various academic programs at the University of Houston. Conducting research in the field presents potential environment-related, health, safety hazards and emergencies. The introduction of hazardous materials (e.g. biological, chemical, and radiological materials) in such settings pose additional risks to researchers and the environment.
Whether the activity is planned for a day or an extended period at a local, urban, or rural environment, careful planning and preparation is critical to the success of field research activities. Before starting a Field Research, PIs must plan for the following:
- Review the EHS Field Research Safety Guidance documents
- Develop a Field Research Safety Plan and submit to EHS for review 4-6 weeks prior to starting Field Research
- Respond to any requests for additional information and act on EHS recommendations
- Obtain any approvals required by UH Division of Research as directed
- Contact Risk Management to inquire about Vehicle Insurance, Workers Compensation, International Travel concerns.
- Contact the Student Health Center for any vaccinations needed
- Submit the Release Agreement for all non-UH employee field research team members and submit to Risk Management before starting the Field Research.
Additional Tips for Field Research:
- Obtain Emergency and Local contacts information including local emergency services
- Arrange for and obtain Medical Tests and Vaccinations
- Review Environmental and Physical Hazards
- Consider Hazards from Animals and Pests
- Arrange for the necessary Safety supplies and Equipment
Prior to starting a field activity, contact EHS to review the following:
- Permitting and research activity registration with EHS Safety Committees.
- EHS Safety Training Requirements and Recommendations
- Personal protective equipment that may be needed for the activities
- Emergency preparedness policies and procedures including injury or illness reporting in your Field Safety Plan.
- Guidance on safe storage, usage, and disposal of hazardous materials in the field (if applicable)
For questions concerning Field Research Safety, contact EHS.