Fieldwork Accommodation, catering, transport and equipment

The kind of accommodation you use will vary depending on the type of trip. There are a number of factors to consider when planning accommodation, including the suitability of the location, any specific or special requirements for the participants or the activity itself.

When overseas, remember that standards are different to those in the UK and you should consider the following areas where possible:

The level of basic safety precautions (check on arrival):

1. Fire safety (including a means of escape)

2. Personal security and general safety of the facility

3. The location - if staying within a city, is this is an area prone to crime?; if remote is it easy to locate and reach?

  • All participants should know the contact details of the accommodation and what standards of accommodation to expect.
  • Where there is a group going on the trip, it is also advisable to consider the privacy and security of all participants.
  • If using tents or other temporary accommodation, consider the ease of transport, suitability of the type of tent and the ease erecting the tent.

As with accommodation, catering arrangements will vary by the type and length of the fieldwork activity.  Catering could be provided by the individuals (typical for a day-long activity), catered by a third party, fully self-catered, provided through restaurants or as part of accommodation arrangements.  A number of factors should be taken into account when assessing the type of catering:

  • The level of catering appropriate for the size of the group.
  • Any specific dietary requirements of all participants.
  • The provision of a supply of potable water – this is particularly important in remote areas and in some overseas countries.
  • If catering is to be provided by a third party, this should be by a reputable catering company that can demonstrate evidence of food hygiene standards wherever possible.

Any equipment that is required to complete the fieldwork activity should be identified in the fieldwork assessment - e.g. specialist clothing, recording equipment, manual handling aids, specialist first aid equipment, sampling equipment etc. Things to consider include:

  • If the equipment is suitable for the task and the environment in which it is to be used – e.g. some electrical equipment may not be suitable for use in certain outdoor environments.
  • Condition of the equipment – inspect equipment before leaving the University (and periodically while in the field). This goes particularly in for work in harsh environments or when equipment is heavily used and is safety-critical.
  • Training in the use of equipment for the participants.
  • Security of the equipment - particularly in urban environments where recording equipment may be used.

Travel is one of the areas where most incidents happen during fieldwork, and the provision of safe transport can be particularly difficult in developing or remote areas of the world. The method of transport should be suitable to the fieldwork activity and the participants involved in it. The following points should be considered in the 
Fieldwork Assessment:

  • Transport to and from the site – where appropriate an itinerary could be provided including a record of travel times. This may include public transport information such as train times, flight times and numbers.
  • Any transport on site - this may include specialist transport for the activity.
  • Carriage of any dangerous goods or materials that need licences etc.

When considering modes of transport consideration should also be given to:

  • Time of travel
  • Length of time travelling
  • Breaks for those driving
  • If more than one person is available to drive.