Fieldwork should be suspended during the current lockdown.

Please allow at least 5 working days notice for all fieldwork related items during this lockdown. 

You are reminded to use UNSW email addresses to conduct UNSW business.

Submissions after 4pm will not be considered until the next working day.

24 Jul 2021

COVID-19 and Fieldwork (Fieldwork should be suspended where possible)

Fieldwork notification during COVID restrictions (updated 26/10/2021)


Click here for the latest Head of School email regarding fieldwork.

Step 1 - Get In-Principle Approval

Before submitting a fieldwork notification using the form below, first, send a brief summary to

This summary is then sent to HoS for review and in-principle approval, or not. This means you will not waste time completing the full form if your fieldwork is not deemed critical, at this time, by the university.

The summary should include:

  • what you want to do (just a couple of sentences)
  • why it is time-critical (this is very important to help Alistair assess. Please see the latest email from HoS / Faculty / VC for what is considered critical)
  • when 
  • where you intend to go (just general area and LGA )
  • who you want to attend (just names for now)

Step 2 - Submit a Field Work Notification

If you get in-principle approval

  • You must ensure your fieldwork Activity document details controls minimise COVID-risks. We all need to ensure we don't spread the virus! You can refer to the BEES shared Safe Work Procedure BEES-SWP-offline-1-Fieldwork during COVID document (this is updated regularly); however, you should provide specifics in your Activity where applicable; for example, COVID-safe travel plans and accommodation.
  • Double vaccination, or an exemption, is required for anyone undertaking fieldwork.
  • The BEES shared COVID SWP also contains information regarding permits/vaccination/testing requirements
  • Make sure all the usual fieldwork requirements are complete and updated (see below)
  • Submit the fieldwork notification ***This still requires 5 working days lead time.

All researchers planning to conduct fieldwork during COVID-19 are asked to ensure the following:

  1. Ensure all Activities are up to date, approved and have addressed COVID-19 risk factors including disinfection (Refer here and SCI-SCI-SWP-10329), social distancing, potential updated public health guidelines including lockdowns and self-isolation at short notice.
  2. Ensure all RMF's and SWP's are up to date, are approved, and contain detail around COVID-19 risk factors.
  3. All UNSW participants have completed COVID-19 Training
  4. Complies with NSW Health Restrictions and other state restrictions as appropriate.

Fieldwork Procedure

Please read HS917 Fieldwork Procedure and HS406 Fieldwork Guidelines

For general travel procedures, visit myTravel

Important: The School of BEES uses SafeSys for the creation and approval of ALL Risk Management Forms (RMF) and Safe Work Procedures (SWP) and Activities.

Fieldwork Notification (FWN)


    All fieldwork/off-campus work requires a notification.

    Low risk fieldwork requires a notification to your supervisor via email, verbal or HS018b.

    Medium to high risk fieldwork requires a formal notification as per the remainder of this page.  All medium to high risk fieldwork must be registered at the School level via Microsoft Forms.  Instructions for the different elements of a FWN can be found here.

    Medium to high risk FWN

    Please note at least ~5 working days notice is required during the current lockdown. Submissions after 4pm will not be considered until the next business day.

    Problems with the form - report them here.


    You will need to be signed into your UNSW Office 365 account ( to submit a FWN.

    The form will retain your answers entered to date for a particular FWN until you hit the submit button.  Once you hit submit, the form is refreshed.  

    If you want to clear all information entered to date on your FWN whilst in draft/unsubmitted, you have to clear the cache OR navigate back through each page and delete each individual answer.

    Fieldwork Elements

    Domestic travel is allowed but only if the proposed travel:

    • Complies with current Federal and State/Territory (for NSW residents) or ACT (for ACT residents) travel guidelines
    • Any proposed travel should be essential, for UNSW related activities and not have an online or remote option available.
    • Includes plans to comply with an appropriate COVIDSafe plan while in transit and at each destination
    • You must obtain pre-approval from your line manager, team leader or supervisor before booking any travel.
    • Is booked through the UNSW Travel Management System or approved through the SafeSys system for travel that does not involve air travel.

    Refer State and territory border closures due to COVID-19

    International Travel

    Please review the UNSW COVID-19 Travel and Fieldwork.

    Travel will not be approved for any international destination with DFAT level 4 restrictions (Do Not Travel).

    • From 03 December 2018, all proposed travel must be recorded on an online pre-trip approval portal. TR1 forms are no longer in use.
    • Details found on the BEES travel page. Travel >100kms from UNSW home campus/usual workplace requires PTA.
    • Please also use these links to book your accommodation, flights, rental cars where possible.

    Click here to view instructions for using myTravel

    Click here to view FAQs regarding Pre-Trip approval for fieldwork

    A Fieldwork Leader (FWL) is a person who has specific roles and responsibilities related to the safety of the field team. They must be present in the field and should have been assigned the role by virtue of their skills, knowledge and experience in the particular field operation. The Fieldwork Leader must ensure that all necessary paperwork, permits, plans and risk management processes are in place. The fieldwork Leader should be listed in your Activity.

    A FWL must be assigned prior to the Fieldwork and, unless they are an Independent Fieldworker, must acknowledge the role. In SafeSys, the Participant assigned the Fieldwork Leader is deemed to have accepted unless a request is made to assign another Participant.

    The FWL may be a member of staff, post graduate or research student.  Refer "Definitions" and section 3.3 in HS917.

    Independent Fieldworkers are automatically considered a FWL.  They must ensure they have a current and valid HS703 Work Alone or After Hours Approval Form.  Refer HS322 Working Alone or After-Hours Guideline.

    Full Name AND Contact Number - include Sat Phone Numbers required.

    BEES currently uses SafeSys to manage fieldtrip RMFs and SWPs. SafeSys allows you to keep track of the people who have read your HS documents.

    Risk Management Form (RMF)

    An approved RMF which covers all activities on the field trip is required.

    • Some fieldwork RMFs are common across the school, these generic documents are collated here (SCI-BEES-ACT-1593)
    • If there is one from a previous trip, it should be reviewed and updated as necessary.  Ensure it is approved in time for your fieldtrip.
    • All UNSW personnel (staff, students, visitors) attending the trip should read this form and ‘declare as read’.
    Safe Working Procedure (SWP)

    Some complex/higher risk tasks may require a SafeSys Safe Work Procedure

    • Some fieldwork procedures are common across the school, these generic documents are collated here (SCI-BEES-ACT-1593)
    • All UNSW personnel (staff, students, visitors) attending the trip should read this SWP and ‘declare as read’.
    • Approval for fieldwork is applied for and documented by creating an Activity in SafeSys that draws together in one place the relevant risk management form (RMF’s), safe work procedures (SWP’s), and any other required or useful documents.
    • Once an Activity has been approved, simply quote the Activity reference in your fieldwork notification.
    • If there is one from a previous trip that covers the same activities, it should be reviewed and updated as necessary.
    • Hints:
      • In Activity you can list all your participants and attach a detailed itinerary OR leave those sections blank and include it in your fieldwork notification. The method is yours to decide, these details must be provided for each trip.
      • SafeSys allows you to keep track of the people who have read your WHS documents.
      • Students on teaching field trips do not generally need to read the WHS documents but are to be provided a safety briefing that covers the risks and controls.
      • You can’t link draft RMF’s and SWP’s to an Activity, they must be approved first.
    • The Activity must be approved before your fieldtrip will be registered.  The approver of your Activity should be your supervisor who has responsibility for you on your trip.
    • It must have relevant start and finish dates.  Any activity that has no dates or occurs in the past utilised for fieldwork will prevent your work from being registered.
    Collate HS009 Fieldwork Participant form details from all students, staff and volunteers
    • A current Fieldwork Participant Form HS009 must be held by the Field Trip Leader for all participants.  This includes all volunteers.
    • Discuss first aid matters with any personnel you are concerned may have issues on the trip.
    • Implement any procedures to reduce risk to persons at risk.
    • For course field trips, the preferred method for collecting student info is via a Moodle Questionnaire.
    • Any participants under the age of 18 will require their parent/legal guardian to sign this form. 
    • A valid working with children check is required for anyone working with children or young people (ie under the age of 18). 

    All UNSW-participants should be listed in your Activity, and all UNSW-participants should "declare as read" your Activity.

    If you are a lone participant, you are by default the fieldwork leader.  You must ensure you have a current and valid HS703 Work Alone or After Hours Approval Form.  Refer HS322 Working Alone or After-Hours Guideline.

    An approved HS010 is required for insurance purposes. No approval means the volunteers may not be insured.  Refer Volunteer Approval Requests.

    Include your call back persons Name AND Phone Number 24/7.  They should be from UNSW and ideally be employed by UNSW

    Are they trained in your emergency plan? Yes

    The call back person MUST be trained in your emergency plan/response. 

    The CBP MUST agree to take on this role and be available for the duration of the trip.

    If you indicate No - then they cannot be your call back person!

    Provide details on your FWN or refer to SafeSys Activity document on your notification.

    Ensure you have clearly documented the following in your emergency plan (Refer 3.5 HS917):

    • An effective response to each potential emergency
    • Communication with emergency services
    • Provision of first aid
    • Evacuation procedures
    • Communication between the fieldworkers and the Callback Person
    • Clear procedures regarding Callback Person’s actions should failure to callback occur between the fieldworkers and UNSW

    The emergency plan should include the following in addition to that detailed above:

    • Arrangements for training and instruction
    • Arrangements for testing of the Emergency Plan (phone or radio checks)
    • Making the area safe
    • Preserving the scene
    • Notifying UNSW Health and Safety Personnel of notifiable incidents

    Emergency Plans for high profile work, overseas fieldwork or work on ships must be submitted to School Senior Management. The need to also provide this information to the Faculty General Manager, media office or other UNSW departments must also be considered.

    A detailed daily itinerary is required. 

    It MUST include grid reference/long lat co-ordinates including degrees:minutes:seconds and/or address as appropriate.

    This can be in your Fieldwork notification or in your Activity.

    You need to be able to provide sufficient detail that emergency services can be directed to your whereabouts on a given day and time.

    If detailed locations are not listed in the Activity, in the order that you are planning to complete them, add them to the notification. You need to be able to provide sufficient detail that emergency services can be directed to your whereabouts on a given day and time.

    * Include GPS locations where possible

    ** Include Dive Plans etc

    Accommodation Details including address/s and contact information.

    Location Details such as national parks, base locations with addresses and contact details including phone numbers.

    Specialised Equipment/Tasks

    Click on the relevant tab for details

    Details required such as registration / name.  Refer UNSW Boats.


    Registration / details and RECS approval.

    CASA Training



    Please detail your launch locations for your canoe/kayak

    Users must have 'declared as read' the RMF.

    Would the site/s where these vessels will be used be considered as remote enclosed waters?  Refer RMF for human powered vessels.

    Excluded: Stand-up paddle boards

    Scientific Diving - you must have an approved dive plan;


    Refer Scientific Diving.

    Snorkelling - approved snorkellers only;


    Refer Snorkelling.


    Using a UNSW / School vehicle is the recommended and preferred method.  Refer School Vehicles.

    Private Vehicle use is discouraged. UNSW does not accept liability for damage, loss or injury arising from the use of a private vehicle on University business and this applies to fieldwork.

    To claim mileage for personal car use during UNSW business, the vehicle MUST BE registered (via MV1) and comprehensively insured. Refer BEES Private Vehicles.

    Please provide registrations for each vehicle on your fieldwork notification.

    Ensure fatigue management has been addressed - refer 3.4 HS406.

    UPDATE: During COVID-19, car occupant numbers to be kept to a minimum and controls such as face masks and disinfection between each car use must be maintained. If directed by UNSW or NSW Health, occupant numbers may revert back to a maximum of 2 occupants per 5 seat vehicle with no notice.  Please factor this into your planning.

    Ensure your accommodation meets with existing recommendations for workers.

    Refer SafeWork NSW Accommodation guide