Careful planning and preparation for the field research/studies and fieldwork that are an essential part of many academic programs can help you when you encounter potential hazards and emergencies and can aid in reducing risks.
The Environment, Health & Safety Office (EHS) is available to assist in determining your field activity safety needs. For any activity occurring in potentially hazardous environmental conditions or where potentially hazardous materials and/or equipment will be used, please contact EHS or call them at 617-452-3477.
Collaborative research at another facility
If your research will take you to facilities outside of MIT or to other institutions, it is important that you are familiar with local safety policies and emergency preparedness procedures. The host facility is responsible for reviewing their emergency plan with you so that you can react accordingly in the event of an emergency.
It is important that you reach out to your host facility early in the planning process so that you are aware of their requirements and expectations.
Conducting fieldwork abroad
A successful field project requires extensive planning. Projects that use potentially hazardous materials warrant additional attention to protect the health and safety of research personnel and the environment. See the “in-depth” section for some guidelines from EHS to assist you in planning your next field projects.
Hazardous materials in international settings
MIT staff and students working internationally with hazardous materials must follow the requirements of MIT and their host institution. Please contact EHS to review requirements related to:
- MIT EHS training.
- Safe storage, use, and disposal of hazardous materials.
- Local permits and research registration, which must be obtained by the Principal Investigator.
- Personal protective equipment that may require extra planning for purchase.
- Policies and procedures related to emergency preparedness.
Injury/illness reporting requirements
Any injuries related to work (including international activities) must be reported immediately after you receive any necessary medical attention. Please review EHS’s guidelines and processes for reporting work-related injuries:
The requirements for reporting work-related injuries while participating in field research are the same for employees working remotely or on campus. Additionally, for injuries that occur in International locations, International SOS (ISOS) should be contacted to coordinate medical care and payment.
Visitors to MIT
If your project will bring collaborators to MIT, it is important that they are trained on emergency preparedness procedures. The department, lab, or center (DLC) is responsible for reviewing its emergency plan with visitors so they can react accordingly in the event of an emergency.
Visitors entering laboratories for observation purposes must be provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment. Those working with potentially hazardous materials must complete MIT’s EHS training for proper use and disposal of such materials. Training is also required for work with biological materials, lasers, and other potentially hazardous material. Contact your DLC’s EHS Coordinator to notify them of these visitors and to discuss their need for EHS training.