Field Trips

IMPORTANT:  PLEASE COMPLETE THIS FORM FOR GAC HQ AT LEAST ONE MONTH PRIOR TO FIELD TRIP.


Policy Statement
The Geological Association of Canada (GAC®) and the Mineralogical Association of Canada (MAC) recognize that their field trips may involve hazards to the leaders and participants. It is the policy of the GAC® and the MAC to provide for the safety of participants during field trips, and to take every precaution, reasonable in the circumstances, to ensure that field trips are run with due regard for the safety of leaders and participants.

Objective
The objective of this Field Trip Safety Policy and Program is to provide, to the extent possible, a safe environment for participants on all GAC® and/or MAC field trips, to minimize the occurrence of safety-related incidents, and, in the event that an incident does occur, to minimize the impacts.

Principles

  • Field trips may expose participants to a variety of hazards. GAC® and MAC have a responsibility to attempt to identify these hazards, to communicate their existence to participants, and to mitigate their impact where possible.
  • The potential for injury resulting from field trip hazards can be mitigated by careful planning, implementing safe procedures, training of leaders and participants, and using personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Field trip safety is a shared responsibility. GAC® and MAC have a responsibility to take all reasonable care to provide for the safety of participants on its field trips. Participants have a responsibility to give careful attention to safety-related matters and to conduct themselves with due regard to the safety of themselves and others while on the field trips.


Accountabilities
The GAC® and MAC Executives are responsible for:

  • Appointing the GAC®/MAC Safety Committee, a standing committee of the GAC®/MAC Joint Executive Committee, chaired by the GAC® Vice President;
  • Developing a GAC®/MAC Safety Policy and Program and reviewing it periodically;
  • Ensuring that resources are allocated for any safety initiatives;
  • Receiving reports from the GAC®/MAC Safety Committee and providing guidance and direction on any issues that are brought to its attention by this committee.


LOC safety officers are responsible for:

  • Implementing the GAC®/MAC Safety Policy and Program for field trips associated with GAC®/MAC Annual Meetings;
  • Receiving safety planning documents from field trip leaders, advising of any deficiencies, and forwarding copies to the GAC®/MAC Safety Committee;
  • Ensuring compliance with applicable legislation (e.g. Occupational Health and Safety, provincial highway regulations);
  • Providing information and any necessary training to volunteers;
  • Taking action upon report of any unsafe conditions;
  • Providing documentation of safety procedures to GAC®/MAC Safety Committee
  • Referring unresolved safety issues to the GAC®/MAC Safety Committee for consideration;
  • Evaluating safety performance at the Annual Meeting and providing feedback via the final report;


GAC® Section/Division Heads are responsible for:

  • Maintaining knowledge of the GAC®/MAC Safety Policy and Program and ensuring its application to Section/Division activities;
  • Ensuring that their Section/Division Executive includes an officer designated as responsible for safety. In the absence of such a designated officer, the responsibility will lie with the head;
  • In the absence of an officer specifically responsible for safety, receiving safety planning documents from field trip leaders, advising of any deficiencies, and forwarding copies to the GAC®/MAC Safety Committee;
  • Ensuring compliance with applicable legislation (e.g. Occupational Health and Safety, provincial highway regulations);
  • taking action upon report of any unsafe or unhealthy conditions;
  • referring unresolved safety issues to the GAC®/MAC Safety Committee for consideration;
  • communicating safety performance and providing documentation of safety procedures to GAC®/MAC Safety Committee.


Field Trip Leaders are responsible for:

  • Setting a good example by working safely;
  • Insisting on adherence to the provisions of the GAC®/MAC Safety Policy and Program on the field trip;
  • Planning for all aspects of field trip safety, including submitting planning forms (Appendices 1 to 3) to the LOC Safety Officer or appropriate Section/Division Head;
  • Identifying and providing for mitigation of hazards;
  • Ensuring that the trip has an appropriately trained person responsible for first aid;
  • Ensuring that leaders responsible for aspects of the trip requiring specific training (e.g. driving, boating) have received the appropriate training and have, if required, appropriate certification;
  • Ensuring that participants are accompanied at all times while in the field;
  • Ensuring that participants have and know how to use any required PPE;
  • Taking action to minimize any unsafe action or condition while the trip is in progress;
  • Implementing emergency procedures in case of an incident;
  • Ensuring that industrial sites visited on the trip have an appropriate safety program, safety orientation and that participants are aware of any PPE that may be required on the site but not provided by the operator;
  • Reporting on safety to the LOC safety officer or Section/Division Head at conclusion of trip.


Field trip participants are responsible for:

  • Following the safety instructions of the field trip leaders or of safety coordinators at industrial sites that may be visited during the trip;
  • Acting in a manner that is safe for themselves and their co-participants;
  • Using PPE when necessary (when recommended by the field trip leader or upon personal identification of a hazard requiring PPE use);
  • Informing the field trip leader of any personal health issues or other safety matters of which they have knowledge that may affect their health and safety or that of co-participants;



PROGRAM

Program Statement
The GAC®/MAC Field Trip Safety Program consists of five elements:

  • Planning
  • Procedures
  • Equipment
  • Training
  • Monitoring

Each of these is an essential component of the program and guidelines for each must be adhered to on all GAC® or MAC – sponsored field trips.


Planning
The key to safety on field trips is advance planning. All field trip leaders must be aware of the need for attention to safety during field trip planning.

The following sets out the standard of planning required for all GAC® or MAC sponsored field trips. No field trip may proceed until the planning documents (see Appendices 1 to 3) have been filled out, approved by the responsible officer, and forwarded to the GAC®/MAC Safety Committee.

GAC®/MAC Field Trip Safety Planning will address three specific aspects of safety on field trips:
Hazard Identification & Mitigation

  • Field trip leaders must ensure that hazards at all field trip stops are identified on the hazard identification forms (Appendix 1). All field trip guidebooks must have a section on field trip safety at or near the beginning, in which generic hazards and safety-related instructions are detailed. Hazards at each stop must be identified in the guidebook as the first item in the stop description and any procedures that are necessary to mitigate the hazard explained. Field trip leaders must reinforce the written material with a verbal warning to participants of potential hazards at each stop. It is the responsibility of the field trip leader to ensure that hazards are properly identified, described in the field trip guidebook, and included in the waiver forms that all field trip participants must sign. In the event that no guidebook is provided, a written document identifying hazards stop by stop must be provided to participants.
  • Field trip leaders will provide participants with the opportunity to identify in writing any special dietary needs, health risks or physical disabilities that may limit their full participation in the field trip.


Communications

  • All field trips must have a communication plan (Appendix 2), to ensure prompt and effective communication with authorities and with responsible GAC® or MAC officials in the event of an incident.
  • The communication plan should make use of whatever technology is available:
  • If cellular service is available, field trip leaders should have cell phones and a comprehensive list of numbers to call in case of an emergency (e.g. emergency authorities, hospitals, police, ambulance).
  • In areas where radio service is available, field trip leaders should be equipped with radios that they are trained to use, and a knowledge of whom to call and at what times the radio service is manned.
  • In areas where there is no cellular or radio service, leaders must research communication options (e.g. location of public telephones, satellite telephones, other means of communication) and devise a communication plan to be implemented in case of emergency, identifying means of communication and the time required to implement it.


Emergency Evacuation

  • Many field trips take place in remote areas where evacuation of an injured person may be difficult. However, even in relatively populated areas, speedy evacuation after an incident may mean the difference between life and death.
  • The evacuation plan (Appendix 3) must identify how an injured participant would be evacuated and to where. This requires the field trip leader to know the location and hours of service of emergency health care facilities along the route of the trip, and the fastest route to get there. It also requires field trip leaders to recognize situations along the trip that may pose special challenges for evacuation. For example, some stops require walking a significant distance from vehicles, or climbing a cliff or embankment (could you get an injured person back, if necessary?).
  • If a trip stop may pose special challenges for evacuation, special precautions and equipment such as a stretcher may be required.


Procedures
The following procedures will be followed on all GAC® or MAC sponsored field trips.
General

  • At or immediately following each Annual Meeting, the GAC® Vice-President will send a copy of the GAC®/MAC Safety Policy and Program to each GAC® Section/Division head.
  • The GAC®/MAC Safety Policy and Program will be incorporated in the instructions to LOC’s at a sufficiently early date to ensure compliance in planning and implementation.
  • The GAC®/MAC Safety Policy and Program will be provided to organizers of any other GAC® or MAC
    – sponsored field trips at a sufficiently early date to ensure compliance in planning and implementation.
  • The GAC®/MAC Safety Committee is the final arbiter of safety issues related to GAC®/MAC sponsored field trips and may investigate any safety-related matter that is brought to its attention. Its decision on any such matter is final and binding.


Vehicles

  • Vehicle operators must possess a valid driver’s license, appropriate to the vehicle they are driving vis a vis provincial licencing regulations, and be particularly conscious of their responsibilities for the safe passage of the participants. Operators will at all times drive defensively and safely, are responsible for being aware of applicable driving laws and will operate their vehicles in compliance with those laws at all times. Drivers will make a particular effort to acquire an appropriate amount of rest before driving and no person may drive a vehicle with field trip participants as passengers if under the influence of alcohol or non-prescription drugs.
  • Vehicles will be properly equipped for the terrain in which they are to be operated
  • Personal or institutional (i.e. non-rental) vehicles used to carry passengers on a field trip must have a valid safety inspection and all components must be in safe operating condition.
    Personal vehicles must have a minimum of $1,000,000 Public Liability Insurance.
  • At all roadside stops, drivers will make every reasonable effort to park in a safe location off the road. Most jurisdictions have laws applicable to signage for vehicles parked on the road or on the shoulder (e.g. placement of warning markers); field trip leaders should be aware of these laws and ensure that they are followed.
  • The number of passengers in a vehicle may not exceed the number of seats for which there are operable seat belts.


Boats and Canoes

  • All boats and canoes must be in a safe and operable condition. They should be operated by field trip leaders and participants only if they have received the proper instruction and training for the jurisdiction in which the boat and canoe is being operated. Boat or canoe operators must not be under the influence of alcohol. No boat or canoe may be used on a GAC® or MAC field trip unless the field trip leader has verified and confirmed with GAC® or MAC headquarters that adequate insurance coverage exists.
  • Each boat or canoe must be equipped with an approved flotation device for each occupant. No boat or canoe shall be used by more occupants than the approved rating. Prior to the use of the boat and canoe, the field trip leader will provide each participant with instructions on the
    proper use of the boat or canoe, and its equipment.

Fixed-wing Aircraft

  • Field trips will use only licensed and approved fixed-wing aircraft from a licensed operator.
    The aircraft must be in a safe and operable condition. The field trip leader will ensure that the charter airline company possesses all necessary licenses and insurance.
  • No fixed wing aircraft may be used on a GAC® or MAC field trip unless the field trip leader has verified and confirmed with GAC® or MAC headquarters that adequate insurance coverage exists.


Helicopters

  • Only licensed and approved helicopters operated by a licensed operator will be used for field trips. The helicopter must be in a safe and operable condition. The field trip leader will ensure that the helicopter company possess all necessary licenses and insurance.
  • No rotary wing aircraft may be used on a GAC® or MAC field trip unless the field trip leader has verified and confirmed with GAC® or MAC headquarters that adequate insurance coverage exists.


All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s)

  • ATV’s will be used for field trips only by field trip leaders and participants who have had the proper instruction and training in the use of the ATV. ATV operators must not be under the influence of alcohol.


Safety Around Hazardous Sites

  • Hazardous sites can include advanced exploration sites, trenches, open pits, quarries, diamond drill sites, and underground facilities. The field trip leader will identify all hazards at these sites, and bring them to the attention of the participants.
  • At active exploration sites, open pits, quarries, diamond drill sites, and underground facilities, the field trip leader will ask the site supervisors to provide a safety briefing for all participants. The field trip leaders and participants will be under the full supervision of the site managers and supervisors.


Other Hazards

  • Extreme Hot or Cold Conditions:
    If extreme hot or cold conditions are anticipated on any field trip, the field trip leader will make the participants aware of these extreme conditions, and ensure that the participants have proper protection. As an example, the field trip leader during very hot temperatures should ensure all participants have hats, sunscreen, and carry plenty of fluids.
  • Insects:
    If mosquitoes, black flies, and other biting insects are anticipated during a field trip, the field trip leader should carry insect repellent that can be made available to all participants. In cases where other biting insects such as bees and hornets may be encountered, the field trip leader should determine whether any participant is allergic to insect bites.
  • Dangerous Animals:
    The field trip leader will make all participants aware of areas where dangerous animals, such as bears, snakes, etc. may be encountered. A safety talk will be provided by the field trip leader on what a participant should do in the case of a dangerous animal encounter. In areas where snake bites are a possibility, the person in charge of first-aid administration will be prepared to administer the recommended procedures.

Waivers

  • Waiver forms (Appendix 6) will be signed by all participants in a GAC® or MAC sponsored field trip prior to departure. No person may participate in a GAC® or MAC-sponsored field trip who has not signed a waiver.
  • Waiver forms will be reviewed verbally with trip participants, not just passed around for later collection.


Communication of Hazards

  • At the start of the field trip, the field trip leader will make a safety presentation to all participants outlining and identifying:
  • safety planning for the trip;
  • hazards likely to be encountered;
  • assessment of physical effort that may be required at any stop (i.e. long walks, climbing hills, embankments) where this is likely to be excessive or beyond the capacity of some participants * mitigation procedures
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is available and when it is to be used;
  • forbidden behaviours/items;
  • the responsible emergency response individuals;
  • procedures to be followed in case of an emergency.
  • At each stop where hazards have been identified, the field trip leader will verbally reinforce the hazard to participants and ensure that any mitigation procedures are being carried out.
  • At each stop where PPE is recommended, the field trip leader will emphasize the importance of using the recommended equipment to all participants.


Procedures at remote field trip stops

  • Field trip leaders must provide for the safe traverse of all field trip participants from vehicles to outcrops and back again. When stops involve traversing through unmarked bush, leaders will have and use a compass.
  • Leaders will have in place procedures for ensuring that trip participants stay together, and that none are left behind when exiting the area. In such a situation, a designated field trip leader should always be at the back of the group, watching for stragglers.


Procedures in the event of an incident

  • In the event of an incident causing injury, field trip leaders are responsible for ensuring that the injuries are minimized, that appropriate first aid and/or medical care is obtained in a timely fashion, and that evacuation is arranged if necessary.
  • First consideration must be for the well-being of the injured party(s) and the continued safety of other participants.
  • Field trip leaders are responsible for notifying the proper authorities. Any incident resulting in injury must be reported as soon as practical to the GAC®/MAC responsible official.
  • Incidents, whether or not they result in injury, must be reported to the GAC®/MAC responsible official and to GAC® headquarters on the Field Trip Safety Report Form (Appendix 4), for consideration in future safety planning. For any incidents involving serious injury or death, a complete Incident/Accident Report and Assessment (Appendix 5) must be completed and forwarded to the GAC®/MAC Responsible officer.


Procedures in the event of unsafe behaviour by field trip participants

  • Field trip leaders are responsible for monitoring the safe behaviour of participants on field trips.
  • In the event that a participant exhibits unsafe behaviour, a verbal warning will be issued by the field trip leader.
  • If the behaviour persists, the leader has the authority to insist that the participant remove him/herself from the area where the unsafe behaviour is being carried out.
  • In the event of persistent unsafe behaviour by a field trip participant, the field trip leader will insist that the participant remove him/herself from the trip at the participant’s expense.


Equipment
First Aid Kits

  • Every field trip will have an industrial first aid kit that is consistent with provincial regulations for any work site with the number of participants on the field trip. (i.e., if the trip has 25 participants, there must be a first aid kit equivalent to that required of a workplace with 25 workers under the provincial/territorial occupational health and safety legislation and regulations.) This first aid kit will be carried in the vehicle of the person designated as responsible for first aid on the field trip.
  • Every additional vehicle will contain a first aid kit, that includes, as a minimum, the standard materials listed by the St. John Ambulance for its vehicle first aid kit.
  • At every stop where participants will at some point find themselves more than 10 minutes walk from the vehicles, field trip leaders will carry at least one vehicle first aid kit.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • It is the responsibility of the field trip leader to identify hazards where PPE may be required by participants and to make participants aware in advance of the need for any equipment. Advertisements for any GAC® or MAC field trip must list the PPE to be provided by participants.
  • In most cases of common or generic hazards related to field trips, GAC® or MAC and its field trip leaders will not be responsible for providing PPE, although a few items may be made available for participants who have not brought their own, at the field trip leader’s discretion. GAC® And MAC are not responsible for the quality or safe use of equipment not provided by GAC®/MAC.
  • In cases where GAC® or MAC provides personal protective equipment, this equipment will meet applicable safety standards (e.g. CSA).The following guidelines apply for various types of personal protective equipment:
  • Eyewear – GAC® and MAC strongly recommend that all field trip participants use safety glasses when breaking rocks. Field trip leaders will reinforce this recommendation in their safety presentations and to individuals in the field.
  • Footwear – GAC® and MAC recommend steel-toed safety boots when working around road cuts, cliffs, or other locations where there is a potential hazard from falling objects. GAC® and MAC will not supply safety boots to participants. Some field trip stops require sturdy hiking boots for safety. Field trip leaders are responsible for identifying any such stops, making participants aware well in advance that such footwear is required for the stop, and ensuring that participants do not go into areas for which their footwear is inadequate for safety. Field trip leaders should notify participants if some stops will require water proof footwear.
  • Hard Hats – GAC® and MAC require the use of hard hats around road cuts, cliffs, quarries or other sites where there is an overhead hazard.
  • Clothing – field trip leaders should ensure that participants are aware of potential extremes of climate that may be encountered on the trip and recommend adequate clothing to deal with this.


Vehicle Equipment
Every vehicle will be equipped with adequate spare tire and jack, flashlight, space blanket, warning triangles for parking in road cuts, fire extinguisher, potable water and first aid kit.

Boats and Canoes
All provinces have legislated requirements for safety equipment in boats. Field trip leaders will ensure that all applicable standards are met by equipment on field trips where boats are to be employed.

Training
Training for field trip leaders:

  • All field trip leaders will undergo a safety orientation arranged by the LOC safety office or by the responsible person in the sponsoring Section/Division. This orientation will include, but not necessarily be limited to:
  • review of the GAC®/MAC Safety Policy and Program
  • responsibilities of the field trip leader for safety planning, documentation and reporting
  • authority of the field trip leader to deal with safety issues on the trip
  • procedures for identifying hazards
  • mitigating hazards
  • training requirements for personnel on field trip
  • due diligence
  • No GAC® or MAC sponsored field trip shall be led by an individual who has not received this training.
  • All field trips will have a designated person responsible for first aid, normally one of the field trip leaders, who has a current first aid qualification equivalent to the St. John Ambulance standard first aid certificate (including CPR).
  • All vehicle drivers will have an appropriate driver’s license for the vehicle. Field trip leaders are responsible for knowing the applicable laws in the jurisdiction where the field trip is running and ensuring compliance.
  • If any vehicles on the trip require a special license for operation (including Class 4 vehicle license), the field trip will have at least one qualified back up operator in the event of incapacity of one of the designated operators.
  • Where federal and/or provincial regulations require training for operation of water craft, field trip leaders will obtain the appropriate certification.


Training for field trip participants

  • Field trip participants will be informed well in advance of the trip of the GAC®/MAC Safety Policy and Program, and requirements for PPE, training, hazards, waivers.
  • All field trip participants will attend an introductory safety orientation session led by the field trip leader at the start of the trip. This will include, but not be limited to:
  • hazard identification
  • hazard mitigation procedures
  • PPE recommendations and requirements
  • location of first aid kits
  • identification and location of all other safety related equipment
  • identification of field trip leaders responsible for aspects of safety
  • The field trip leader will identify all participants with a valid First Aid Certificate who are qualified to administer first aid.
  • All field trip participants will receive training in the use of PPE where necessary.
  • All field trip participants will receive safety training from contracted vehicle operators (e.g. fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, busses, boats), industrial site operators, and others where appropriate.


Monitoring
GAC®/ MAC Joint Executive Committee -
is responsible for monitoring the safety Program to ensure that it is being implemented according to the guidelines. The following systematic reporting will be required as part of this monitoring: Field trip leaders –
will report to their LOC safety officer or Section/Division responsible person on safety matters related to their trip and file with them all relevant documents including completed planning forms, waivers and incident reports. Copies of these reports will be forwarded to GAC®/MAC safety committee;

The LOC safety officer and Section/Division heads -
will ensure that random checks are made with field trip leaders to ensure that safety guidelines are being followed; GAC® and MAC Executives – will ensure that random audits of safety on field trips are carried out to monitor compliance with guidelines; GAC®/MAC Safety Committee – may require a detailed report of safety with respect to any GAC® or MAC field trip at any time and may request an audit of safety procedures for any aspect of GAC® or MAC operations.


PRINTABLE SAFETY FORMS

The forms found below in Appendices 1 – 6 can also be viewed/printed with Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded for free at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.

APPENDIX 1
HAZARD IDENTIFICATION FORMS

(to be filled out by trip leader and filed with LOC Safety Officer or Appropriate Section/Division Head or designate prior to trip departure )

APPENDIX 2
COMMUNICATION PLAN

(to be filled out by trip leader and filed with LOC Safety Officer or Appropriate Section/Division Head or designate prior to trip departure)

APPENDIX 3
EVACUATION PLAN

(to be filled out by trip leader and filed with LOC Safety Officer or Appropriate Section/Division Head or designate prior to trip departure)

APPENDIX 4
FIELD TRIP SAFETY REPORT

(to be filled out by trip leader and filed with LOC Safety Officer or Appropriate Section/Division Head or designate within 2 weeks of the end of the trip)

APPENDIX 5
INCIDENT/ACCIDENT REPORT AND ASSESSMENT

To be completed by field trip leader in the event of an incident involving serious injury and/or damage to property, and filed with LOC Safety Officer or Section/Division Head or designate)

APPENDIX 6
THE GEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF CANADA AND THE MINERALOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
RELEASE OF LIABILITY – READ BEFORE SIGNING

For more Information, please contact:

Geological Association of Canada
c/o Dept. of Earth Sciences
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NF  A1B 3X5
Tel:  709-864-7660
Fax:  709-864-2532
E-Mail:  gac@mun.ca

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