Field Safety

SPECIAL NOTE: Discuss all field trips to Dixie Plantation with EHS before making final plans.

Preparing for the Trip

  • Contact EHS. EHS can provide in-person Heat Illness Prevention training and assist with development of your Field Safety Plan. Other training may also be required depending on your planned activities, e.g. fall protection, ATVs, hazardous materials shipping, etc. Please email or 843.953.6802.
  • Hold a pre-trip meeting to review your field safety plan, travel logistics, pack list (including a first aid kit), etc. and cover any remaining training needs. First aid kit guidance is available from EHS.

Is Field Safety Plan needed?

A field safety plan serves as a tool to document your hazard assessment, communication plan, emergency procedures, and required training. Developing and using a field safety plan is part of the College of Charleston requirement for an effective injury and illness prevention plan for the following activities:

  • Field Research or teaching field courses off campus. 
  • Work or courses involving wildlife in the field.
  • Work performed at field stations or nature reserves. Established site procedures may be available, but should be supplemented with a Field Safety Plan for potential risks specific to your research or tasks.

Create and file the Field Safety Plan.

Fill out the EHS Field Safety Plan Template.Attach related documents as appropriate. EHS can assist with development of your Field Safety Plan.

IMPORTANT: It is recommended that you start this process early in the planning stages of your field work to allow time to gather information, identify controls needed, and document training. Sections include:

  • Site location and description
  • Emergency services at the site
  • Modes of travel and site access
  • Communications plan
  • First aid considerations
  • Travel preparations
  • Participants and contact information


  • Heat Illness Prevention Training is required for all outdoor workers.
  • For work in remote areas at least one member of the group is required to have current first aid training (contact EHS).

EHS can provide in-person Heat Illness Prevention training and other training that may also be required depending on your planned activities, e.g. fall protection, ATVs, hazardous materials shipping, etc.

General Safety in the Field

Follow good safety and hygiene practices in the field as well as in the laboratory, including hand washing/sanitizing, careful animal handling, and wearing gloves, masks and eye protection as appropriate.

Report all injuries or illnesses immediately to the Field Team Leader.

To minimize encounters with harmful pests:

  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks. Clothes with a tight weave should be worn and pant legs should be tucked into boots.
  • Don't use perfumed sunscreens and lotions, and avoid baggy clothes that can trap bugs.
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products that provide longer-lasting protection. To optimize safety and effectiveness, repellents should be used according to the label instructions. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.
  • Keep garbage in rodent-proof containers and stored away from your campsite or work area.
  • Shake all clothing and bedding before use.
  • Do not set up camp near animal nests/dens.
  • Look for pests before touching areas where they might live (wood piles, crevices).
  • If bitten by a poisonous animal, seek medical treatment immediately.
  • Avoid contact with sick or dead animals unless properly trained on how to handle them.
  • Educate yourself on local pests and poisonous animals/plants before leaving.
  • Examine your gear before going home, pests can ride home on clothing and day packs.

Health and Safety Resources for the Field

College of Charleston Forms and Policies