Preparing for the Field

Before going out into the field for research groups need to complete a Field Activities Plan (FAP) which assesses the hazards associated with the trips, controls they implement, and safety contacts in case of an emergency. The Field Research Office is an excellent resource for planning field work, templates, and providing safety equipment.

  1. Read the UofA Off-Campus Activity and Travel Policy 

  2. Determine the risk level of your trip; any trip that is not low risk must complete a FAP

    • The full risk assessment policy can be found via this link

3. Complete the E-Learning Module on How to Create a Field Activities Plan

4. Complete a hazard assessment using the following template

    • The Field Research Hazard Control library is an excellent list of hazards you may encounter in the field and the various controls that may be implemented to decrease risk
    • More information on hazards is also available on the Field Safety section of this website

5. Fill out the FAP. Use the FAP Instruction Sheet as a guide!

    • Departmental Contact: List either Kate Nichols, Tom Chacko, or Rebecca Funk as the contact. Alert them to your upcoming field work and provide a finished copy of your FAP before departing
    • Either copy and paste or attach your hazard assessment to Part 3: Hazard Assessment and Control. No need to re-fill out a chart
    • Contact the FRO office to obtain a log book or use a previously procured one
    • Send the first draft of the FAP to Kim Schaerer (, FRO Program Coordinator, for advice on the hazard assessments, permits required, and mandatory/recommended training
    • Determine what permits and training are required before you go on your trip (e.g. first aid, TDG, ATV, Bear awareness)
      • It is highly recommended that at least 2 people have first aid so if one person gets injured there is still another to help
      • Instructors and TAs on EAS field schools are all required to have first aid

6. Procure Field Equipment

7.  Emergency Information Forms

    • Emergency forms hold important medical information to assist in the event of an emergency situation
    • A qualified 3rd party collects these emergency forms. They must be kept confidential and secure. Do not share emergency forms with anyone other than the 3rd party
    • The 3rd party is responsible for alerting the PI of a medical condition that requires an accommodation or prevents the participant from safely performing the field work

8. Waivers

    • A waiver is required when: 1. Trip involves undergraduates, 2. Trip involves graduate students performing field work not related to their research, 3. High or extreme risk trips
    • If you are unsure that you need a waiver contact Insurance & Risk Assessment
    • To request a waiver fill out the Waiver Request Form
    • Waivers must be signed by a witness; ideally it should be administered in-person by a UofA representative
    • Waivers must be stored for 10 years

9. Register your Volunteers

    • Follow the link for definitions of a volunteer
    • You need to register any volunteers participating in your field work so they are eligible for WCB coverage and generate the waiver
    • All volunteers must complete a volunteer waiver and receive proper training before entering the field

10. Submit your FAP for approval

    • Low to medium risk trips can be approved by Rebecca Funk ( or Daniel Alessi (, the EAS Department Chair always has the final say of whether a trip goes ahead
    • High to extreme risk trips must be approved both by the EAS Chair ( Cc Rebecca Funk or Daniel Alessi so your FAP may be put on file with the Safety Committee
    • High to extreme risks trips involving undergraduates must be approved by the Dean’s Office ( Cc Rebecca Funk or Daniel Alessi so your FAP may be put on file with the Safety Committee

10. Register with UGo and Government of Canada’s Registration of Canadians Abroad if you are leaving Alberta

    • Allows the university and government to know where you are going, how to get in contact with you, and provide assistance in an emergency