UC Field Research Safety 

Dry conditions continue, but the Sierras may get snowfall this week, so to close out the year I'm sharing guidance on winter conditions and cold stress, as well as a summary of field injuries, and timely links regarding harassment, work in Antarctica, and our UC marijuana policy:

Prepare for cold stress and winter driving

Click on the pictures below for NIOSH Fast Facts on Protecting Yourself from Cold Stress, the 1-10-1 principles to survive immersion in cold water from Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht of the University of Manitoba, Caltrans Winter Driving Tips, and a short quiz from NOLS to test your skills on winter injuries and illnesses.

UC Marijuana Policy

Starting January 1, 2018, adults 21 years and older may legally purchase and use marijuana in the State of California. This is a friendly reminder that "UC prohibits the use, possession and sale of marijuana in any form on all university property, including university-owned and leased buildings, housing and parking lots. Marijuana is also not permitted at university events or while conducting university business." Yes, nostalgic Dead Heads, even parking lots! For reference, related UC policies are posted here.  

'Tis the Season

...for research in the Antarctic. The NSF's U.S. Antarctic Program supports scientific research in Antarctica and provides operational research support. Please note, in addition to the NSF's required preparations, our UC travel insurance providers require an Antarctica Travel Affidavit. Please contact your campus Risk Manager for questions or assistance.  

This recent article by Christine Russell in Scientific American is absolutely an important read. The report highlights why field research and observatories/field stations are "danger zones" for harassment and assault. Acknowledging the problem is vital and related discussions and positive actions are happening within UC and nationally. 

Recent Field Incidents

Through my role supporting field safety efforts across UC this year, I've heard about slips and trips, heat stroke, sprained ankles, a hurt shoulder, tick bites, bee stingsa snake bite, a mugging attack, and a close call when a researcher suffered a head injury from unstable monitoring equipment installed at height. Fortunately, individuals are recovering, partly because experienced field researchers and staff managed the incidents well. By reporting and reviewing incidents among your field teams, departments, and with campus staff, lessons learned can benefit a broader group and help improve our operations. As I was reminded in the new Star Wars film, "Failure is the greatest teacher." We all recognize that injuries happen when working outdoors in uncontrolled environments but want to strive toward being prepared, making safe decisions in the field, and minimizing the negative consequences when incidents occur.

Reporting Incidents to Campus

Immediately report all work-related fatalities, catastrophes, serious injuries or illnesses to your supervisor and campus department. Supervisors/departments are responsible for promptly reporting incidents to EH&S or Risk Services and completing incident report forms. For emergency assistance while travelling, contact the toll-free 24/7 number provided on your registration card for our UC travel insurance provider (UC Away travel registration link provided here). Ideally, specific emergency contact numbers and incident reporting procedures are clearly outlined in written field safety plans carried in the field.         

As always, please contact me at with any questions or requests. In the new year I'll also post an archive of these newsletters by topic on the UC Field Research Safety website.  
2017 has been wild, but I feel fortunate and proud, in my own small way, to be supporting UC and incredibly important fieldwork and science. Wishing you all the best over the holiday break.

Cheers to a healthy, happy new year!
Sara Souza
Copyright © 2017 UC Field Research Safety, All rights reserved.

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