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Department of Archaeology

 

The drop-down accordions at the bottom of this page contain detailed guidance on various aspects of travel and risk assessment. Please ensure that you understand your obligations, the appropriate procedure and time frame before commencing any work.

Please check here for information and guidance on travel, risk assessment, insurance and applying for approval. Note that you must submit your forms well in advance of your travel start date in order to give time for the approval and amendment process which could take a number of weeks.

TRAVELLING WITHOUT APPROVAL

The University’s policy is that all risk assessment begins at the departmental level. If you are travelling to a high risk area, your application must also be approved by the University’s Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee (SARAC). 

Please do not contact the Department Safety Officers with any queries until you have read all of this information, discussed matters with your supervisor and compiled the factual information needed for the form. 

Responsible People:

Guidance on how to register with Key Travel is available

 

What counts as fieldwork?

'Fieldwork' is defined as any activity undertaken by researchers as part of their academic commitments, which takes place outside the normal confines of the Department. Fieldwork therefore includes excavations, field walking surveys, sample collections, interviews, museum visits and laboratory work outside the normal confines of the Department. 

 

Fieldwork for day and residential field trips forming part of Undergraduate or Masters' courses will normally be planned, but not necessarily supervised, by a member of the academic staff. Fieldwork for final year dissertations (Undergraduate) will be planned by the student in consultation with their Director of Studies, and for Masters' and Ph.D. dissertations and in consultation with the Supervisor. Fieldwork for staff will be planned by the researcher, in consultation with their supervisor or line manager where necessary.

 

Codes of conduct apply to fieldwork; you can find the guidance on fieldwork good practice and specific conduct guidelines in the fieldwork & travel safety section of the ARCH Resources Library. It also offers Guidance for preventing sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation during fieldwork.

 

What should I consider when planning my trip?

University guidelines on sustainability in travel for work 

This is relevant to staff who travel on University business – including for research – and to students who choose to/are required to travel as part of their learning or research. 

The University has produced new guidelines on sustainable business travel. The purpose of these guidelines is to support a reduction in non-essential business travel (particularly air travel) and its associated carbon impacts. They are not intended to limit essential travel.  

In summary, the guidelines recommend that:

  • Before all travel, the following should be considered:
    • Can you achieve your goals using virtual methods?
    • Can you achieve your goals more locally or use low-carbon transport modes?
  • Staff and students consider whether their travel is essential, following the guidance provided;
  • Staff and students prioritise modes of travel that have the lowest carbon impact, and provide a hierarchy of preferred travel modes;
  • Flights to UK destinations and to European destinations that can be reached by train within six hours from London terminals are discouraged;
  • Where it is necessary to travel by plane, staff and students are strongly encouraged to offset the carbon emissions in accordance with the University’s offsetting policy. 

There is more detail about the guidelines on the University’s sustainability webpages. Please contact sustainability@admin.cam.ac.uk if you have further questions. 

 

What do I need to do before I go?

All staff and students need to carry out their own risk assessments relevant to their individual offsite activities before they leave.  Risk assessments must be carried out for each type of offsite working. 

Getting the paperwork sorted takes time. Please ensure that you leave enough time to do this. If you are going somewhere high risk, this can take more than a month.

You need to:

  • Talk to your supervisor or line manager (if you are a student or PDRA)
  • Complete a risk assessment (which may be a multi-step process)
  • Have your risk assessment approved by the Dept Safety Officers
  • Complete a Personal information form for travel (where appropriate)
  • Organise travel insurance
  • Apply for Leave to Work Away (if you are a student)

If you are organising a project involving others, then there are additional requirements. Please see "Risk assessment forms for projects" dropdown box below for more information.

 

Guidance on risk assessments for fieldwork and travel

The aim of a risk assessment is to support staff and students in working away from the University safely. Their purpose is not to restrict but to facilitate activities, whilst mitigating risk. Please consult the University's Guidance on Managing Risks from Travel, Fieldwork and Work Away. For details of how to complete the hazard table section of the risk assessment, please visit the following website: Completing the risk assessment

The Department of Archaeology has compiled additional information on risk assessments for members of the Department. To see this guidance and to access the compulsory risk assessment forms please go to the fieldwork & travel safety section of the ARCH Resources Library. It covers:

  • Risk Assessment Requirements - Basic Information and Guidance documents
  • When should travel and fieldwork risk assessments be started?
  • What are High Risk locations for travel and fieldwork?
Insurance for travel and projects

For trips abroad, you need adequate travel insurance. The University expects all university trips to be registered on the University insurance portal. Business travel is not typically covered by personal travel insurance. 

https://www.insurance.admin.cam.ac.uk

 

Travel to high risk places requires referral to the Insurance office, along with your risk assessment and may require further approval directly from the University’s insurers. Please allow enough time for this, which can take several weeks.-***

https://www.insurance.admin.cam.ac.uk/insurance-guidance/travel-insurance

 

You may also need project insurance, depending on the nature of your work. Everybody involved in the proejct needs to take out their own travel insurance with the University Insurance office. Project insurance no longer covers all participants. 

All research studies involving humans must provide an indemnity to provide compensation to any volunteer if they suffer harm caused by their participation in a study. 

 

Every single study that involves interacting with human subjects through all forms of possible communication must inform the University's Insurance Office in advance of the study, by completing the application form found on this page: https://www.insurance.admin.cam.ac.uk/insurance-guidance/human-volunteer-studies-and-clinical-trials

You must complete the form for all sorts of studies, including the following sorts of work (this is not an exclusive or exhaustive list):

  • talking to people (in a museum, in the street, in their homes, anywhere...)
  • online questionnaires
  • telephone conversations and email exchanges
  • measuring people's height / weight / skinfold thickness
  • taking a dental impression
  • collecting a hair / saliva / blood sample
  • asking people to swallow a thermometer

The University has a policy in place for the majority of studies carried out in the UK and the University pays the premium for studies from the central insurance budget at no cost to the department or research group for studies considered standard risk by the underwriters. Low risk studies that involve discussions, interviews and conversation only, wherever they are carried out (UK/abroad), are typically covered by the existing University policy. Overseas studies where legislation requires a specific local policy to be arranged will attract an additional premium which is passed on to the department or research grant. The department will be advised of the cost and must agree to pay the premium prior to the cover being arranged.

 

Taking Department and University kit/resources with you

Please speak to the relevant member of staff responsible for any Department equipment that you would like to take. There may be charges for taking some items of lab equipment out to the field and these need to be established before you leave.

All equipment should be listed in the relevant section of the risk assessment.

All equipment is insured under the University contents insurance, even if taken away from Cambridge or taken overseas, as long as it is accompanied by a member of staff or a current student. This means it has to be carried into the aircraft and not send via courier. If you wish to send equipment to a location ahead of a trip then additional insurance will need to be taken out. Please note that there is an excess of £1k for any claim which would be charged to the Department.

Any items of equipment with a value of over £5k, need to have a specific risk assessment associated with them. This can be another section within the hazard table, where you will explain how any risks associated with damage or theft will be minimised. You need to think about transport arrangments and how items will be packaged for travel, as well as how and who will use the equipment and how it will be secured when out of use.

Check here for the forms for high-cost equipment risk assessment and loan of equipment form.

Unregulated accommodation

The  University requires that a risk assessment is carried out for all overseas travel and it must identify, amongst other things, suitable accommodation. The use of unregulated accommodation such as AirBnB should only be considered when no better alternative exists. 

Please see here for more information: 

https://www.insurance.admin.cam.ac.uk/files/unregulated_accommodation.pdf 

 

High Risk - Referrals to SARAC - a higher level committee

Trips to high risk places must be referred to the University’s Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee (SARAC). A trip is considered "High Risk" if you are visiting a place with a travel warning issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), if you are doing an activity which may be considered dangerous, or if you are going to a very remote area.  

This will be done by the Department Safety Officers, having looked at your initial risk assessment.

https://www.safeguarding.admin.cam.ac.uk/policy-and-guidance/study-away-risk-assessment-committee

 

Risk assessment forms for projects

You need to do a PROJECT FORM

High Risk Staff Project Fieldwork Risk Assessment

Staff Fieldwork Project Risk Assessment 

 

YOU MAY ALSO NEED PROJECT INSURANCE - SEE Insurance section

 

Staying safe

Codes of conduct apply to fieldwork; you can find the guidance on fieldwork good practice and specific conduct guidelines in the fieldwork & travel safety section of the ARCH Resources Library. It also offers Guidance for preventing sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation during fieldwork.

 

Other aspects of working abroad

Each individual takes responsibility for their conduct insofar as it follows the law of the country in which the research activity takes place (principle of subsidiarity). This means finding out the legal position(s) with regard to teaching, fieldwork, excavation, sample collection, export, import, preservation, ownership and storage of finds, participant observation and interviews, etc. and taking active measures to comply with or support them.

 

University sponsored research carried out overseas must uphold the University’s ethical standards while also being cognisant of local expectations, practices and laws: https://www.research-integrity.admin.cam.ac.uk/research-ethics/ethics-ap...

 

When conducting fieldwork in difficult, volatile or sensitive political situations it is particularly important to consider one’s own actual and perceived safety as a researcher as well as that of one’s informants and research participants more broadly. This includes considering whether participants might be adversely affected if they are seen to be taking part in your research. The Department recommends that you take the University’s on-line Anti-Bribery Training course (details in the Further Information section).

Guidance documents on shipping/ transportation, licensing etc can be accessed in the Shipping, Licensing, compliance section of the ARCH Resources Library.

Researchers need to comply with CITES and DEFRA regulations in shipping and studying biological specimens.

 

Under the University's HTA licence, researchers need to make contact with the Person Designated for the Department (Dr Tamsin O'Connell) and the HTA administrator (Jo Osborn) before commencing work, once the necessary ethics approval is in place.

Researchers planning fieldwork that may involve the collection of genetic material must comply with the Nagoya Protocol.