UB SAFETY & EQUIPMENT University of Bristol

(The information below was extracted from http://www.gly.bris.ac.uk/www/safety/advice.html)

You must read this document carefully. A number of serious accidents have occurred during fieldwork by people over the past 10 years. Your life, or that of a colleague, could depend on knowledge of basic safety procedures.

Being safe in the field is mainly a matter of common sense. It is important that you should then develop your own ability to assess the hazards involved with ongoing fieldwork. Do not be tempted to exceed the limits of your stamina and abilities in the field.

If you have a disability or medical condition that could effect your performance or safety in the field (e.g. epilepsy, diabetes, vertigo, etc.), you must inform the group leader before leaving Bristol.

Before undertaking fieldwork you should have had a tetanus injection or a booster if you have had a primary injection, within the last five years.

Potential hazards can arise from:

-Lack of proper equipment and clothing: You must wear or carry clothing suitable for the terrain in which you are working. If you suffer injury or become lost, being suitably equipped can turn a merely uncomfortable experience into a life-threatening one. In rugged upland areas the following are essential:

-waterproof jacket (with hood) and trousers

-stout boots with soles that give good grip

-warm hat, gloves and thermal underwear for cold weather, sun-hat for hot weather

-loud whistle (see international distress signal below)

-torch (ideally one that can be worn leaving hands free)

-survival bag (8' by 4' plastic bags can be bought in outdoor shops)

-small personal first aid kit

-compass, maps and map case

-denim jeans or cotton outer garments are not suitable in wet weather.


Stay with the party, unless you have permission from the leader. During independent fieldwork, it is crucial that you leave clear information each day about the area in which you will be working and your expected time of return. You should know the international distress signal (see below).

Falling rock

A helmet must always be worn when working in quarries or below loose cliffs. The helmet will not protect you against very large blocks, and may give you a false sense of security. The best precaution is to use your common sense to assess the level of danger; if you think there is a potential hazard do not expose yourself to it. Stay away! Be aware of others and do not work directly above or below another person.


Hammering of rocks, with or without cold chisels, can generate flying splinters of rock and possibly steel, and present potential hazard to yourself and others. Do not hammer unnecessarily and use safety goggles when hammering.

Animals, insects and vegetation

These hazards are often more serious outside the UK. In particular, they include diseases carried by animals, e.g. rats, sheep/deer ticks, snake bites, severe allergy to insect stings and bites, poisonous berries and fungi. When working overseas, you should develop knowledge of particular local hazards.


Weather conditions can change abruptly, particularly in mountainous areas. Be aware. When working independently, it is good practice to obtain a daily weather report, but always carry clothing for inclement weather each day. Remember that weather conditions will be more extreme with increasing altitude.

Coastal areas

In such areas there are additional potential hazards in respect of cliffs and tides. You must always be aware of the state of the tide and when working independently consult tide timetables. Incoming tides can rise very rapidly and trap the unwary. Freak waves present a very real danger, especially in rough seas. Walking over the foreshore can often be very slippery, and extra care should be taken to avoid injury. Do not work in areas where you may be subject to such hazards.

Rivers, bogs and forests

Do not cross-rivers unless it is absolutely essential. If alone, use a stick or support; groups should link arms. Remember that rivers fed by glaciers or storm run-off can rapidly increase in flow strength during the day. Even good swimmers have difficulty swimming in waterlogged clothing and heavy boots. Do not cross-bogs alone. Beware of getting lost in forests - it is very easy to do this; use your compass to find your way out.

Cliffs, caves and mines

Do not climb cliffs. You must not enter mine workings or caves unless it has been approved by the leader as an essential part of the work; only do so by arrangement, and with proper headgear and/or lighting.

Active quarries

Do not enter working quarries without permission. Comply with safety rules, blast warnings and any instruction from officials. Do not touch machinery and never pick up explosives; if found, inform the trip leader and management. Watch out for moving vehicles. Do not work on unstable slopes or tips.

International distress signal

6 signals (whistle blasts, torch flashes, shouts, waves of a cloth) followed by a minute's pause, followed by 6 more signals. The reply is 3 signals repeated at minute intervals.

Personal first aid kit

Basic knowledge of first aid is very strongly encouraged. Details on short courses in the Bristol area can be obtained from the Council. A basic first aid kit should include: 2 triangular bandages, No 9 sterile lint dressing, plasters, aspirins, possibly anti-histamine cream and high-energy food; you should also carry a loud whistle, a survival bag and torch in rugged terrain, and sun block if working in summer.


Do not distract a driver or encourage faster driving or unsafe manoeuvres. Always be aware of traffic on road sections.


Use common sense to avoid needless injuries at base after the day's fieldwork has been completed. Also bear in mind that accommodation is usually re-used by other expeditions in future years.

Personal insurance

Insure yourself for personal and accident insurance including loss or damage to your personal belongings. For overseas fieldwork, you are encouraged to obtain an E111 form from the local Post Office.

Procedure following a serious accident or incident:

1. Attend to anyone injured, and withdraw other members of the group to a safe location. Send for help, giving information on exact location of party and the nature of any injuries. Do not move an injured person to another location unless absolutely necessary, until trained personnel arrive.

2. Do not discuss the matter except with authorised personnel (e.g. Police, Fire Brigade, etc.) and do not give opinions. In case of a very serious incident, notify the police 999.

3.A written report should be made soon after the incident as possible, whilst memories are fresh.

EMERGENCY FIRST AID (The information below was extracted from: http://expage.com/page/lacieking  except the Cardio-Pulmonary Resusitation-CPR from: http://www.city.toronto.on.ca/ems/first_aid/cpr.htm

Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation - CPR

Adult procedures

1.Shake shoulders and shout:

2.No breathing, no pulse - apply CPR.

2. If there is no response: open airway, listen, watch and feel for breathing, if patient is not breathing, GIVE 2 BREATHS,

3.check for a heart beat by feeling for the carotid pulse at the neck.

4. If there is no pulse: landmark and apply 15 chest compressions - followed by two breaths repeat compressions and breathing until help arrives

Ratio: 15 compressions and 2 breaths rate 100 compressions per minute.

Infants and small children procedure

Same procedure as for adults except support the infants head - slightly tilted back. Normal-sized breaths for children - smaller puffs for infants.



Before losing consciousness, the victim may complain of...

1. light-headedness

2. weakness

3. nausea

4. skin may be pale and clammy

If a person begins to feel faint, he should...

1. lean forward

2. lower head toward knees

As the head is lowered below the heart, blood will flow to the brain.

What to do if someone becomes unconscious:


1. keep the victim lying down with head lowered and legs elevated

2. loosen any tight clothing

3. apply cool, damp cloths to face and neck

In most cases, the victim will regain consciousness shortly after being placed in this position.

After the victim regains consciousness, do not let him get up until you have questioned him (Who are you? Where are you?, Do you know what day it is?) to be sure he has completely recovered.



1. nose injury

2. strenuous activity

3. high blood pressure

4. exposure to high altitudes

5. blowing your nose too hard


1. sit down

2. Lean slightly forward to prevent blood from running into your throat.

3. Place cold, wet cloths on your nose to constrict the blood vessels in your nose and stop the bleeding.

4. If blood is coming from only one nostril, press firmly at the top of that nostril.

5. If both nostrils are bleeding, pinch your nostrils together for at least 10 minutes.

6. If bleeding continues, apply pressure for another 10 minutes.

7. If the bleeding is the result of direct injury to the nose, only gentle pressure should be applied.

8. If heavy bleeding persists or if nosebleeds recur frequently, consult a physician.



1. Apply direct pressure. Place a clean, folded cloth over the injured area and firmly apply pressure. If blood soaks through, do not remove it. Instead, cover that cloth with another one and continue to apply pressure to the wound for 7-10 minutes. If the bleeding is from the ear, place a clean bandage over the ear, lay the victim on his side, and allow the blood to drain out through the bandage.

2. Elevate the injury. Position the wounded part of the body above the level of the heart if possible while you apply direct pressure.

3. Know the pressure points. If direct pressure and elevation do not sufficiently slow the bloodflow, find a pressure point. Large arteries found close to the skin's surface supply blood to the head and to each arm and leg. The most common pressure points used during first aid are located in the upper arms and in the creases above the upper legs. Apply pressure to the closest pressure point to the wound so that the artery is pressed between your fingers and the bone directly behind the artery. If using the pressure point on a leg, you may need to use the heel of your hand instead of your finger.

4. Resort to a tourniquet. On very rare occasions everything listed above may fail. To prevent the victim from dying, you should apply a tourniquet. Once a tourniquet is applied, it should not be loosened or removed until the victim has reached medical help. Use a tourniquet ONLY if everything listed above has failed. If you use a tourniquet, write down somewhere on the victim the time it was applied, so medical personnel will know how long it has been in place.


Internal bleeding results when blood vessels rupture, allowing blood to leak into body cavities. It could be a result of a direct blow to the body, a fracture, a sprain, or a bleeding ulcer. If a victim receives an injury to the chest or abdomen, internal bleeding should be suspected. He will probably feel pain and tenderness in the affected area.

Other symptoms to watch for:

1. cold, clammy skin

2. pale face and lips

3. weakness or fainting

4. dizziness

5. nausea

6. thirstiness

7. rapid, weak, irregular pulse

8. shortness of breath

9. dilated pupils

10. swelling or bruising at the site of injury

The more symptoms that are experienced, the more extensive the internal bleeding is.


1. Check for an open airway and begin rescue breathing if necessary.

2. Call for medical help as soon as possible and keep the victim comfortable until help arrives.

3. The victim may rinse his mouth with water, but DO NOT give a victim of internal bleeding anything to drink.


Asphyxiation is a loss of consciousness due to the presence of too little oxygen or too much carbon dioxide in the blood. The victim may stop breathing for a number of reasons (i.e. drowning, electric shock, heart failure, poisoning, or suffocation). The flow of oxygen throughout the body stops within a matter of minutes if a person's respiratory system fails. Heart failure, brain damage, and eventual death will result if the victim's breathing cannot be restarted.



A person suffering from asphyxiation should be given rescue breathing. Before you begin rescue breathing, be certain that the victim has actually stopped breathing.

1. Kneel beside the victim, place your ear near his nose and mouth, and watch his chest carefully. You should feel and hear the breaths and see his chest rise and fall if he is breathing


1. Provide an open airway. Carefully place the victim on his back and open his mouth. If any material is blocking the airway, it must be cleared out.

2. Tilt the victim's head back by placing the heel of one hand on his forehead and the other hand under the bony part of his chin to lift it slightly.

3. Straddle his thighs, placing one palm slightly above the navel but well below the breastbone. Cover this hand with the other and interlace the fingers.

4. Without bending your elbows, press sharply on the victim's abdomen 6-10 times.

5. Turn the victim's head to one side and sweep out any contents in his mouth with your fingers.

6. If the victim's breathing is not restored after removing the object, reposition his head in the head-tilt/chin-lift position and continue breathing for him as long as is necessary or until help arrives.

7. If there are no signs of breathing, pinch the victim's nostrils closed. Seal your mouth over the victim's mouth and blow two full breaths. A rising chest indicates that air is reaching the lungs. If the stomach is expanding instead, the victim's neck and jaw are positioned improperly. Gently push on the victim's abdomen with the palm of your hand until the air is expelled, because the extra air in the stomach may cause vomiting.

8. Look, listen, and feel again for signs of breathing. If the victim is still not breathing on his own; continue blowing into his mouth one breath every five seconds until help arrives.


If you are working with infants or a small child, position your mouth so that you can blow through the child's nose and mouth at the same time. Give two puffs, using your mouth and cheeks for breathing air into the infant's lungs (to keep from overinflating the lungs). Administer one breath every 3-4 seconds.



1. vigorous, uncontrollable shivering

As hypothermia progresses...

2. dizziness

3. light-headedness

4. muscular stiffness

5. difficulty in moving

If no treatment is given...

6. slurred speech

7. slow pulse

8. memory loss

If still no treatment is given...

9. unconsciousness

10. eventual death


The body temperature must be raised slowly. Warming the victim's body too quickly could cause tissue damage.

1. Take him/her indoors or to an area of shelter

2. 2. If the victim's clothes are wet, have him remove them and replace them with warm, dry clothes as soon as possible.

3. 3. The victim may want to wrap up in a blanket and sit near a heater or fireplace until he is warm.

4. 4. Give the victim warm liquids (i.e. hot apple cider, soup, etc.) if he/she is fully conscious.

5. The victim should not drink liquids that contain caffeine.

5. Make sure the victim gets medical attention as soon as possible.



The most common dislocations occur in the shoulder, elbow, finger, or thumb.


1. swelling

2. deformed look

3. pain and tenderness

4. possible discoloration of the affected area


1. Apply a splint to the joint to keep it from moving.

2. Try to keep joint elevated to slow bloodflow to the area

3. A doctor should be contacted to have the bone set back into its socket.


A SIMPLE FRACTUREdoes not pierce through the skin. If it is not cared for properly, it could become a compound fracture.

If a fracture is suspected...

1. check for swelling around the affected area

2. there may be discoloration of the skin

If the victim complains of tenderness and pain in the area or says that he felt or heard a bone snap, see a doctor immediately.

A COMPOUND FRACTURE pierces through the skin. Serious bleeding may occur with this kind of wound. Do not apply pressure to a compound fracture to stop the bleeding.

What to do for a compound fracture:

1. Cover the injured part with a sterile pad

2. Apply a splint to keep the bone from causing further injury to the surrounding tissues

3. Wait for medical help

4. Avoid moving the victim, but keep him warm, comfortable, and reassured.

Applying Splints


A splint can be corrugated cardboard, folded newspapers, boards, straight sticks, or a rolled-up blanket. A splint helps protect the injury until help arrives. The splint should be long enough to extend beyond the joints on both sides of the fracture.

How to apply the splint:

1. Use strips of cloth, handekerchiefs, ties, or belts to hold the splint in place. Be sure not to secure the splint so tightly that it causes poor circulation below the wound.


1. Apply a splint

2. Use a large, triangular bandage to make a sling to prevent the arm from moving.

Once a splint has been applied to a fracture, carefully elevate the wounded area to slow bloodflow to the wound. For a compound fracture, control bleeding by holding a clean cloth on the wound before applying a splint. Pressure should be avoided to prevent the bone from splintering and causing more damage to surrounding tissues.


The main tools necessary for a field trip are: geological hammer, notepad, chisels, small binoculars, goggles, small magnifier and a compass.

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