Policy GeoX-001: geo-expeditions Health, Environment & Safety (HES) Protocols
It is a core principal of geo-expeditions inc. to explain the natural, (esp. geological) system that surrounds us and how humanity impacts it at many levels. We are keen advocates of minimising our environmental footprint whilst enabling continued improvement of global well being. These seemingly contradictory positions are reconcilable if understanding, care and attention are paid during all our activities, both personal and societal. The following policy summarises how we conduct ourselves and expect our clients to behave when in the field. The underlying goal is to help ensure that risk to health is minimised, that everyone gets home safely and that footprints are all we leave behind.
Since groups maybe mixed physically, culturally and linguistically, geo-expeditions pays special attention to ensuring ALL participants are aware of potential hazards and how to avoid them.
Field trip participants are required (a verbal confirmation will be requested when collecting the disclaimer) to have read and have understood these guidelines. geo-expeditions reserves the right to eject participants from any class if they do not adhere to these and any other instructions of the trip leader. Ultimately, participants are responsible for their own safety and not endangering others.
participants are responsible for maintaining their own safety, watching out for the safety of others, and behaving in a way that minimises the risk to themselves, others and the environment;
participants should be familiar with and follow field safety management protocols and procedures;
never approach an unknown object, chemical or animal. Report it to the trip leader who will inform the authorities at the earliest opportunity.
participants should review the pre-trip information provided. This describes the content and physical characteristics of the trip;
participants should contact geo-expeditions to clarify any questions about the physical demands of the excursion;
individuals are responsible for discussing any personal health concerns with their health care provider;
it is recommended that participants carry relevant medical information (blood group, known conditions, drug allergies etc.) in a named sealed envelope, which could be provided to first responders in an emergency;
participants may (in confidence) inform geo-expeditions of any relevant medical condition (e.g. asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, vertigo, heat conditions, back problems, allergies, medication requirements, etc.) which may affect their physical ability.
observe and follow all safety warnings and instruction from trip leaders;
participants should immediately inform the trip leaders of any safety concerns;
clothing, equipment and hydration requirements are essential safety aspects and may vary due to the weather and terrain for each trip. Follow the advice of the leader to prevent avoidable incidents;
do not leave the field group without informing a trip leader;
ensure you nor anyone else is left behind at an exposure or other stop.
many of the best exposures are located along roads since they are easily accessible and are typically fresher and steeper, all of which makes the geology more accessible. Unfortunately, roads present additional hazards related to traffic and other road users, as well as the road design itself such as steep road edges and culverts;
always be vigilant of traffic: avoid causing an obstruction or being a distraction or other danger to road users;
on roads with infrequent traffic, alert others of approaching vehicles or cyclists. Take steps to warn other road users of your presence. For specific locations, geo-expeditions will provide reflective bibs. If these are issued, you must wear them;
remain behind any safety barriers present and only cross the road in a safe manner at an appropriate location;
do not touch, move or damage any road infrastructure, including but not limited to barriers, signs, markings, protective rock-fall netting etc.
rocky terrain, cliffs, slopes and water
wear boots with good grip and proper ankle support. This minimises the risk of slips and sprains. Step carefully and continually assess footing;
do not climb or traverse rock faces or unstable slopes or pass others on narrow ledges and paths. Always walk in single file and be patient. Trip leaders will inform you of the safest route to view a particular feature. Due to space at an individual location, it may be necessary to restrict access. Please wait your turn, everyone will see the key points and have ample time to discuss what they see with the leaders;
avoid walking under overhangs or other locations where there is a risk of falling rock. geo-expeditions will issue hard hats for quarries and locations where falling rocks are a known risk. Even with a hard hat it is best to avoid this risk. A hard hat can only prevent/reduce injuries from small rocks. Larger rocks will cause severe injury or worse;
be aware of the possibility that other people (including trip mates), wildlife and the weather may dislodge rocks from above;
to reduce the risk from dislodging rock, do not cross the path of another, either up- or down-slope;
try NOT to dislodge rocks. If by accident you do dislodge loose material, always shout loudly “BELOW” or “ROCK” whether or not you are aware of others below;
stay away from cliff edges, they may give way or experience a sudden gust of wind that takes you over the edge.
be aware of the risks of tides (esp. being cut off), waves (‘rogue’ waves claim several lives each year in the U.K.) and currents – river and coastal;
be aware of the risk of slipping on wet rocks, particularly rocks covered with slime, seaweed or algae.
smoking (incl. e-cigarettes) is not allowed in the vicinity of the group. When necessary smoking must occur downwind and not inconvenience any other participant;
when/where outdoor fire bans are in effect, smoking is not permitted at any time;
smoking is never permitted inside geo-expeditions vehicles.
drinking and other intoxicating substances
due the increased safety risk, geo-expeditions has a zero tolerance policy towards drinking or using other intoxicating substances whilst in the field, this includes during any breaks when subsequent field activities may occur. Anyone found drinking or using these substances will be expelled from the trip for their own safety and that of those around them. No refund will be provided;
anyone who at any time appears to be intoxicated or behaves in an intoxicated manner will be expelled from the trip for their own safety and that of those around them. No refund will be provided.
seat belts must be worn at all times when inside a geo-expeditions vehicle;
drive safely and observe driving regulations and local laws;
if/when driving in convoy, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front and keep visual contact with the vehicle behind. it is the responsibility of the lead vehicle to slow down / wait for the following vehicle.
respect the belongings and property of others. Do not take anything;
observe access restrictions and do not cross ground marked as private.
do not litter: check area for litter before leaving a location;
avoid disturbing wildlife. In the national/regional parks of most countries it is the illegal to disturb wildlife or take flora/fauna/specimens (including rock samples);
the use of geological hammers is strongly discouraged. geo-expeditions leaders carry a hammer for situations where a fresh/usable specimen cannot be picked up from the ground;
when measuring/marking a rock, use a non permeant method such as chalk or pencil.
occasionally, additional HES situations may exist. geo-expeditions will inform you of these at the start of the day and provide a reminder just before visiting the location.