Field Research Safety

Field research refers to any research conducted outside of the laboratory setting. Whether conducted in urban or remote environments, field work presents unique and varied health and safety hazards. RLSS provides a variety of resources to help field researchers ensure adequate preparation and risk management.

If you are currently conducting fieldwork or planning a field campaign, please see the information below. Questions, concerns, or not sure where to start? Contact RLSS at or (502) 626-6850.


RLSS strongly recommends that all field research groups develop and implement a Field Research Safety Plan. The plan should be communicated with all members of the field research group well before beginning work.

At minimum, the plan should include:

  • List of personnel and emergency contacts
  • Field site location(s) and nearest emergency services
  • Communication procedures (in field and with university/home contacts)
  • Emergency procedures
  • Hazard/risk management plan (trainings, SOPs, PPE, etc.)

To guide the development of the plan, RLSS provides a Field Research Safety Plan Template. This document may be modified to suit the specific needs of the field research team.

File Field Research Safety Plan.docx

In addition to the Field Research Safety Plan, other planning may include:

  • Budgeting for safety measures (PPE, trainings, etc.) in grants that involve a field component
  • Acquiring permits, registrations, or visas
  • Obtaining immunizations or health screenings
  • Purchasing or renting equipment

To ensure appropriate planning, reach out to RLSS for consultations.

All field research groups are recommended to have at least one group member with first aid training. Depending on the location, it may be beneficial to obtain training for additional group members or the entire team, or to seek more specialized medical training. UArizona Campus Recreation provides CPR & first aid and wilderness medicine trainings.

In addition to first aid training, fieldwork may require hazard-specific training. If working with hazardous chemicals, biological materials, or radioactive materials in the field, trainings and additional requirements are mandatory. See the RLSS chemical safety, biosafety, and radiation safety webpages for program-specific information. 

If utilizing respiratory protection (N95s, etc.), workers must enroll in the Respiratory Protection Program, complete an online training, and be fit tested for their respirator.

In the event of an emergency, always dial 911 and seek medical attention first.

Report all incidents, including injuries, property damage, and near misses, to RLSS by completing the Incident Reporting Tool and to Risk Management Services via UAccess.

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