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Risk Management Workshop for Field Scientists

Risk Management Workshop for Field Scientists

2019 Workshop Dates:
Session 1: September 17th
Session 2: September 24th
Session 3: October 1st

*If you are interested in attending this workshop, or want to run one for your organization please contact Ashley Olson.

ESOC recognizes the need to proactively create safe working environments in remote field sites for researchers.  Managing risk in the field includes the physical, objective risks of the environment, but also the interpersonal challenges carried by working with small teams in isolated places.  Scientists working in remote field conditions are even more vulnerable to impact from harassment or exclusive working environments because they are far from their personal support systems such as friends and family and they often can’t escape their working+living situation if something goes awry. 


2_credit Ted Scambos 1_new.jpg Photo Credit: Ted Scambos
3_credit-Toby-Minear_1.jpg Photo Credit: Toby Minear

In response to an increasingly worrying trend of unsafe spaces for field scientists, ESOC pioneered a 3-part training series in spring 2019 to prepare field scientists with tools and practice of managing subjective, objective, and interpersonal risks common to remote field work.  

Now supported by NSF, we will be offering a second workshop series in September 2019.  If you are interested in attending this workshop, or want to run one for your organization please contact Ashley Olson.

This field safety workshop is scenario-based, experiential and equips field teams with foresight, experience, tools, and personal and group leadership skills to promote safe, positive, inclusive, and highly functional working field environments for every single person. Unsafe field environments are typically rooted in field leadership, and field leadership is a shared responsibility of each team member.  For this reason, the workshop is most effective when full field teams participate together.  The training is geared towards this format and preference will be given to attendees that meet this requirement.   

Managing these risks are a win-win situation: 

  • Field data is successfully and efficiently collected, 
  • higher performing teams are able to produce better and more creative science, 
  • institutions mitigate their liability and potential litigation towards field risks, and 
  • scientists feel safer, enjoy their job more, can better support their colleagues, and stick around longer.

What does the workshop series entail? 
The three sessions are focused on these topics:

  1. Understanding the history of harassment in geosciences, establishing expedition culture, and responding to incidents
  2. Mitigating incidents from happening in the first place, creating a high-functioning and inclusive team
  3. Identifying and responding to hazards, institutional protocols, and practice with incident response

Overall Workshop Goals:

  • Recognize group characteristics or behaviors that can lead to unsafe spaces
  • Acquire tools to know how and when to intervene to recover safe spaces
  • Establish team or research program norms for tracking inclusivity trends
  • Develop self-awareness about own leadership style (needs, strengths, pitfalls) and leadership style of your teammates (how to support the team and set the group up for success)
  • Learn how to influence positive team culture if you are a member of the dominant group
  • Gain familiarity with technical risk management tools
  • Practice in-field support systems and incident responses
  • Facilitate each research team to produce a field ‘code of conduct’ specific to their field work environment

 Program and outcome evaluation of the workshop is being conducted and will inform future content modifications.

Header Photo credit: Horst Machguth     

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