COVID-19 and Fieldwork

All researchers planning to resume fieldwork as UNSW restrictions are eased are asked to ensure the following:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the Fieldwork Notification form that is to be emailed to BEES-Fieldwork to replace the direct fieldwork notification.  This form is to be used for each notification.
  2. Ensure all activities are up to date, approved and have addressed COVID-19 risk factors including disinfection (Refer here and SCI-SCI-SWP-10329) and social distancing.
  3. Ensure all RMF's and SWP's are up to date, are approved, and contain detail around COVID-19 risk factors.
  4. All UNSW participants have completed COVID-19 Training.
  5. Your location has been inputted by your Supervisor or Team Leader on the Safe Return to Work Register (Applying & Preparing for your Team to Return).

Current Fieldwork Notification form in use: v5 June 2020

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

You are reminded to include all relevant parties on any fieldwork notification emails including your supervisor, your participants, your call back person, Boat/Dive Officer, Snorkelling Officer, Radiation Supervisor, Collaborators, Drone Officer.

Check that you have included everything in your email to BEES-Fieldwork

Please note at least ~3 working days notice is required. Submissions after 4pm will not be considered until the next business day.

Domestic and International Travel

Domestic Travel

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
  • Is funded from restricted funds or paid from an external source
  • Includes plans to comply with an appropriate COVIDSafe plan while in transit and at each destination
  • Has been approved by the relevant Head of School or Director.

If you would normally use MyTravel @ UNSW for bookings, or SafeSys for fieldwork, this process will still apply.

Refer State and territory border closures due to COVID-19

Please note that the current travel advice from the NSW Chief Medical Officer is not to travel to Melbourne at this time.


International Travel

There is still a ban on overseas travel from Australia, no international travel will be considered until restrictions are eased.


Fieldwork Procedure

Please read HS917 Fieldwork Procedure and HS406 Fieldwork Guidelines

For general travel procedures, visit myTravel

The risk management and notification process required for Off-site travel / Fieldwork activities are described in detail through HS917 Fieldwork Procedure.

Important: The School of BEES uses SafeSys for the creation and approval of ALL Risk Management Forms and Safe Work Procedures and Acitvities.

For "higher than low" risk Off-site travel / Fieldwork then a SafeSys "Activity" is used to assemble RMF's, SWP's, and other relevant documents, in one place and under one document number. 

Make sure you have addressed/completed the following at least three working days before your trip in the notification form:

1. Obtain Pre-Travel Approval (PTA)

  • 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 requires PTA.
  • This is also when you can book staff flights or train tickets

2. Are there any volunteers on the trip

3. Are any students or staff driving private vehicles on this trip?

4.  An approved Risk Management Form (RMF) which covers all activities on the field trip

  • 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.
  • Some fieldwork procedures are common across the school, these generic documents are colated here (SCI-BEES-ACT-1593)
  • If here is one from a previous trip, it should be reviewed and updated as necessary.
  • All staff members attending the trip should read this form and ‘declare as read’.

 5. Some complex/higher risk tasks may require a SafeSys Safe Work Procedure (SWP)

  • 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.
  • Some fieldwork procedures are common across the school, these generic documents are colated here (SCI-BEES-ACT-1593)
  • All staff members attending the trip should read this form and ‘declare as read’.

6. Collate HS009 Fieldwork Participant form details from all students, staff and 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.
  • The Fieldwork Leader must keep all their HS009 forms (For course fieldtrips, the preferred method for collecting student info is via a Moodle Questionnaire)

7. An approved SafeSys Activity with the approved RMFs, SWPs (if applicable), and other safety documents linked in.

  • 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 HS documents.
    • Students on teaching field trips do not generally need to read the HS 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.

8. Complete your Fieldwork Notification with all your trip details

9. Send a Fieldwork Notification email to SCI BEES FieldWork <> with required details

  • Email to: SCI BEES FieldWork <>
  • CC: all participants: Research supervisor/s, the call back person or other relevant people – Boat/Dive Officer, Snorkelling Officer, Radiation Supervisor, Collaborators, Drone Officer etc
    • Don’t include names of undergraduate course students, their information will be attached as a HS009 form download.
  • Email Subject: FWN {Name of fieldtrip leader} {Safesys Activity number}
  • Attachments: 

The table below expands on the above points, you do not need to include this table in your notification.  Your notification form should have all the necessary detail.


Must be approved


A detailed itinerary is required.

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

Field Work Leader

Fieldwork Leader should be listed in your Activity

If different please include contact details.

Full Name AND Contact Number - include your Sat Phone Numbers here too.



If detailed locations are not listed in the ACTIVITY, in the order that you are planning to complete them, add them to the notification.

* Include GPS locations where possible

** Include Dive Plans etc


If anyone who is going has not been added to the ACTIVITY, please attach or add them to this Fieldwork notification (FWN).

  1. An current Fieldwork Participant Form HS009 must held by the Field Trip Leader for all participants. This does not need to be redone for each trip, but should be up to date.
  2. HS010 Volunteer Approval Request Form - signed by Head of School or Representative. (This is required for insurance purposes no authorisation means the volunteers may not be insured.)

Contact Details

Contacts for the following

Fieldwork leader - refer above!

Accommodation Details

Location Details such as national parks, base locations etc

Local Contacts and their phone numbers

Vehicles / Others

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

 *** Private Vehicle use is discouraged and requires approval for use, the vehicle MUST BE registered and comprehenively insured.

    1. Send a copy of your vehcile registration
    2. Comprehensive insurance
    3. And a complted MV1 form to BEES Fieldwork PRIOR to departure.
    4. The approved form must be returned to you before you depart.

DON'T FORGET the following:

Boat use - details required so such as registration / name; CC

Drone use - registration / details and RECS approval; CC

Trailer use - registration / details; CC

Portable X-ray appartus - Borrow request CC

Scientific Diving /Snorkelling

Scientific Diving - you must have an approved dive plan; CC

Snorkelling - approved snorkellers only; CC

Call Back Person

Include your call back persons Name AND Phone Number 24/7.

Are they trained in emergency response? Yes

The call back person MUST be trained in emergency response.

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

Emergency Plans

Provide copy/details or refer to SafeSys document on your notification