Off Campus Activity (Including Field Work) FAQs

The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information and guidance on how off-campus activities (including but not limited to field trips) related to the University of Adelaide should be planned and managed in accordance with the Hazard Management Chapter of the HSW Handbook.

(Printable version)

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  • What activities do these FAQs apply to?

    Off campus activities are University related activities that occur away from a normal University of Adelaide workplace and therefore:

    • are remote to the normal supervisory structure of the University
    • are distant from the University’s emergency management network
    • may involve interaction with worksites and/or infrastructure not owned and maintained by the University
    • requires due consideration of the likely hazards of the site/sites of the activity and how these will be managed.


    Off campus activity includes any activity where either:

    • students attend at or are taken to a location that is not at a University campus or a regular University workplace as part of their curriculum, or
    • workers are attending at or are taken to a location that is not on a University campus or a regular University workplace in the course of their work activity.


    This information has not been designed to apply to the following:

    • Overseas and interstate travel to conferences or visits to other Universities would not normally be considered off campus activity.  The University has specific policy related to travel safety.
    • Where the University of Adelaide has staff collocated in the facilities of another organisation (e.g. major hospitals, SAHMRI, SARDI, etc).  (Note:  Advice on dealing with collocated workplaces can be provided by your local HSW Contact.)
    • Student work placements.
  • Do all off campus activities require hazard management?

    The consideration and identification of potential hazards should occur at the planning stage of all activities (including off campus activities), but if no hazards can be identified the process should stop there and no further action is required.  
    For example a visit a metropolitan art gallery, museum or law court where it is highly unlikely that foreseeable hazards will exist.  Activities like these should be considered inherently safe and it should occur with no further hazard management.

    Conversely an off campus activity at a metropolitan National Park or on the coastline (e.g. Belair, Morialta, Hallett Cove) where it is foreseeable that hazards may exist and you would be responsible for the first response to any medical emergency would require further hazard consideration and management of identified hazards.

    Refer to Appendix A “Off-Campus Safety Management - Decision Tool” to assist you to determine if a Risk Assessment is required.

  • What do I need to consider when planning an off campus activity?

    Hazard Management is the key focus from a safety perspective where the activity involves any safety hazards or risks.  A hazard management tool (Word Doc/PDF) has been provided to assist you to identify hazards, and then assess and control the foreseeable risks.  The Hazard Management Handbook chapter also outlines requirements and responsibilities.

    It is advisable (and may save considerable time) to discuss with your colleagues whether  this or a similar activity has been conducted previously.  If it has, you should be able to review previous safety documentation including debrief notes/recommendations and or previous incidents.  Alternatively you may be able to talk with the person who previously coordinated the activity to ascertain if there were any issues, incidents/injuries, or specific control measures used to ensure the event was conducted safely.

    Planning an off campus activity will by its nature usually need additional focus on three key issues:

    • Transportation – how will workers and students get safely to and from the activity?
    • First aid and emergency contingencies – what access is there to first aid and emergency services?
    • Communications – what communications tools are available and what are the key emergency contacts?
  • What do I need to consider prior to or on commencement of an off campus activity?

    When the off campus activity involves an identified hazard/s:

    • Check that any safety equipment (or other items identified as controls in a risk assessment or safety management plan) is available and in working order. (e.g. first aid kits, communications devices)
    • Brief and induct any workers who will be working at/on the activity.

    It is important all people involved in the activity (including students, volunteers and contractors) are inducted to an appropriate level to ensure they understand key pieces of information such as:

    • the hazards (if any) they may need to be aware of
    • how to access amenities and first aid, and
    • the emergency procedures for the event.

    Provision of information - Induction

    An Induction checklist (Word Doc/PDF) has been provided to assist you with induction.  Alternatively Schools/Branches may create a hand-out/flier or send an email to participants, which includes the relevant safety information for that off-campus activity.

    It is recommended that the supervisor for the activity refers to the HSW Handbook chapter Provision of HSW information, instruction and training, to determine what system for induction is to be put in place and when individual induction records are required to be kept on file. (e.g. where the activity requires the use of, or exposure to Hazardous Chemicals; or the activity has been risk assessed as “high” residual risk, or a level of proficiency/competency is required in order to complete the activity safely.)

  • What should I do if there is an accident or incident during an off campus activity?

    Ensure the accident or incident is reported to the person supervising the activity so that they can ensure that:

    • appropriate action can be taken;
    • serious incidents/injuries can be advised to the School/Branch as soon as possible.

    The School/Branch should notify:

    • the HSW Team immediately on becoming aware of any injury or incident that may be notifiable under the WHS regulations (e.g. treatment as an inpatient in hospital for a serious head, eye, spinal injury, chemical exposure or a dangerous occurrence, such as an uncontrolled spill or leak of a substance, an uncontrolled explosion or an electric shock.)
    • the Legal and Risk Insurance Officer (ext 34539 as soon as practicable) where the issue might result in an insurance claim. (e.g. vehicle accident, or cover for losses experienced while on authorised travel.)
  • What might I need to consider doing after an off campus activity?

    It is important to report any incidents, accidents or near misses that occurred during the off campus activity in accordance with the HSW Handbook Chapter – Report a safety incident or issue.

    It is often useful for larger off campus activities to arrange a debrief after the completion of the activity to record any findings/recommendations that may assist with planning the same or similar activities into the future.  Ideally recommendations are recorded and attached to other documentation related to the activity such as the risk assessment.  This will make running the same or similar activities easier in future and provide information that may be required for local reporting purposes.  A debrief template (Word Doc/PDF) has been provided to assist where a debrief is considered appropriate.

  • What safety records would be expected to be created in relation to an off campus activity?

    The following records would be created in accordance with the relevant chapters of the HSW Handbook:

    Record HSW Handbook Chapter
    Incident and Hazard Reports (where one was reported) Report a safety issue or incident
    Risk assessment (where a hazard is identified) Hazard Management
    Induction records (where required) Provision of information, instruction and training
    Note: There may be other documentation related to the specific nature of the off campus activity e.g. Boating, Diving, Firearms, Plant, Chemical, Contractors, etc.
  • What might I need to consider in relation to the provision of food during an off campus activity?

    Where an off campus activity involves individual or group self-catering (e.g. camping) consideration should be given to food safety including but not limited to appropriate storage, refrigeration and hygiene.  The Food Act 2001 (SA) may apply where food is being supplied and cooked by workers of the University and should be consulted if you intend to cater to workers or others (students) during an off campus activity.  It is recommended that where the off campus activity involves catering to a group of people consideration be given to enabling meals to be purchased from a venue (i.e. café, pub, take-away or dine in restaurant) or by hiring a catering service.

  • What might I need to consider in relation to alcohol consumption at an off campus activity?

    Alcohol can exacerbate existing hazards and may introduce other issues that will need to be managed in relation to an off campus activity.  Serious consideration should be given to setting and monitoring clear rules related to alcohol consumption during off campus activities.  If alcohol consumption is permitted during an off campus activity (including outside of normal working hours) consideration must be given to:

    • The University’s Alcohol Management and Use Policy
    • ensuring operators of plant (inc. vehicles) will not be affected, impaired or fatigued such as to cause a hazard
    • ensuring at least one individual is able to act (including provision of first aid and being able to drive) in an emergency situation
    • strategies to avoid the excessive intake of alcohol that may lead to the students or workers being a risk to themselves or others.

    It should be noted that the service of alcohol in South Australia is regulated by the state government under the Liquor Licencing Act (1997).  The University of Adelaide has an Alcohol Management and Use Policy to assist the University community to understand what their responsibilities are should they plan to serve alcohol in relation to any activity.  If the venue for the off campus activity is not covered by an existing liquor licence and it is intended to serve or supply alcohol you may need to apply to the state government regulator for a limited licence for your off campus activity (https://www.cbs.sa.gov.au/licensing-and-registration/liquor/).

  • What might I need to consider in relation to transportation to and from an off campus activity?

    Good vehicle safety practices should be adhered to at all times whether on or off-road.  See Vehicle Safety Management FAQs.

    • No person should ever be permitted to travel in the open tray of a utility or trailer. 
    • When loading a vehicle prior to off campus travel it is important to secure any items that could become a projectile in a vehicle accident.
    • Fatigue has been identified as a factor in a number of vehicle incidents during the return trip from an off campus activity.  Long periods of driving or substantial drives at the end of a long working day should be avoided.   Serious consideration must be given to ensuring drivers are well rested and in a fit state to drive.

    Allowing undergraduate students to drive themselves to and from field camps is generally discouraged as it reduces your ability to control the hazards associated with the travel.

  • Is training required for staff involved in off campus activities?

    In some circumstances various types of training might be useful prior to undertaking off campus activities.  In particular training related to the use of communications equipment, vehicles or first aid may be important as controls to mitigate particular risks.  Where training is provided it should be recorded in accordance with the HSW Handbook Chapter Training Plan.  If you are unsure discuss the types of training that might be useful with your supervisor or your Health, Safety and Wellbeing Officer.

  • Are there other University related documents/resources I should be aware of relating to Off Campus Activity?

  • Where can I find more information on Off Campus Activities?

    If you would like more information please contact your local HSW contact.

Further information

Please contact your local HSW team.