Two KU scientists collect samples from trees in the Baldwin Woods.

Safe + Inclusive Fieldwork Checklist

A Safe + Inclusive Fieldwork Plan serves as a tool to document your hazard assessment, communication plan, emergency procedures and training needs.

This checklist will help you create that plan by identifying hazards as well as precautions and actions that will be taken to address and mitigate those hazards. Download a fillable Safe + Inclusive Fieldwork Checklist (.docx) to create a thoughtful, thorough plan for ensuring a safe and inclusive fieldwork experience for all members of your research team.

If you're applying for a National Science Foundation funding opportunity, you can use this checklist (and your resulting plan) to inform your more condensed NSF Safe & Inclusive Work Environments Plan.

  1. Review any University of Kansas requirements for group travel, international travel, biosafety, wildlife safety, etc. Then complete this Safe & Inclusive Fieldwork Checklist (.docx) by inserting specifics for your site and operations; delete irrelevant sections.
  2. Make a list of appropriate training for your site and operations (e.g., first aid, wilderness first aid, heat illness, task-specific training, sexual violence and sexual harassment prevention training, Safer Science training, antiracism training, conflict resolution training). Provide or organize relevant training for team members to complete well in advance of the trip. Be sure to check the functionality of all necessary equipment (i.e. satellite communication devices, GPS units) and include training to use equipment for team members.
  3. Provide all trip members with information on required or recommended immunizations and travel-related insurance at affordable rates well in advance of fieldwork. Many university health centers provide discounted services for students embarking on field expeditions.
  4. Hold pre-trip meeting(s) with your group and/or supervisor to review your Safe & Inclusive Fieldwork Plan, discuss remaining safety and inclusion concerns, general environmental risks, travel logistics, packing list (including first aid kit), and any additional training needs. To increase equitable field opportunities for all members, consider supplying basic field equipment so that individuals do not have to spend their own money. Trip leaders can also make themselves available for individual meetings with participants to address personal concerns.
    • Consider collectively drafting a code of conduct or community agreement in pre-fieldwork meetings, which team members can sign and carry during the trip. This may include guidance on interactions within and between groups as well as considerations for interacting with the local community. In many cases, it may be beneficial to consult with the local community on appropriate codes of conduct with regard to their culture and customs.
    • Consider assigning readings about the culture and history of the field site, region or country to familiarize team members with local communities. If some team members have visited the site(s) on previous scouting or research trips, consider asking them to give a presentation about their experience and review any input from local communities regarding research plans.
  5. Gather signatures to ensure that everyone is familiar with the Safe & Inclusive Fieldwork Plan and approves its contents. Distribute copies of the plan to all team members.
  6. Conduct a post-trip debrief to review and revise safety and inclusion guidelines for future trips.