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FieldSafe | Building inclusive and safe field teams

FieldSafe | Building inclusive and safe field teams

New workshop dates coming soon.

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

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 extreme working environments or harassment 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.

Read more about the workshop in "Changing the Culture of Fieldwork in the Geosciences," published by Eos, May 2021.

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 Claire Waugh.

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 is a win-win situation: 

  • Higher performing teams are able to produce better and more creative science; 
  • Field data is successfully and efficiently collected;
  • 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:

  • Identifying and responding to hazards, practice with incident response, and institutional protocols, leadership and decision-making styles
  • Mitigating incidents from happening in the first place, creating a high-functioning and inclusive team, dealing with tensions in a field team
  • Establishing expedition culture, and responding to incidents, and understanding the history of harassment in geosciences

Overall Workshop Goals:

  • Recognize group characteristics or behaviors that can lead to unsafe spaces
  • Recognize group characteristics or behaviors that can lead to unsafe spaces
  • Acquire tools to know how and when to intervene to recover safe spaces
  • 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