All research undertaken must fulfill the requirements of health and safety legislation and good practice. Researchers will face a range of potential risks to their safety when conducting certain types if research, for example, social research in a conflict zone. Appropriate and thorough risk assessment must be undertaken when research is to be conducted in potentially hazardous conditions, involves potentially harmful material (whether harmful physically or psychologically) or might cause harm to the environment. Such issues need to be considered in the design and conduct of research and appropriate steps put in place and procedures adopted to remove, reduce or manage the risks effectively.
Protection of Researcher/Research Team
Some researchers will face a range of potential risks to their safety and the safety of their research team when conducting certain types of research for example a researcher may be required to enter potentially dangerous environments to question certain participants. Such issues need to be considered in the design and conduct of research and procedures must be adopted to minimise any risk to researchers. In addition, researchers must consult all appropriate health and Ssfety guidelines and procedures relevant to their area of research before commencing work.
Fieldwork and working overseas
Health and Safety provide guidance to staff and students undertaking fieldwork off campus, including the University’s Fieldwork Policy and guidance on risk analysis and planning. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office should also be consulted before planning work overseas in addition to the University guidance on travel and health overseas.
Social Research Association (SRA) Code of Practice for the Safety of Social Researchers focuses on the safety of social researcher, particularly conducting research in the field on their own, in interviewing or observation in private settings but is also relevant to working in unfamiliar environments in general. The University also provides advice on personal security.
When conducting, or collaborating in, research in other countries, researchers based in the UK should comply with the legal and ethical requirements existing in the UK and in countries where the research is conducted. Similarly, researchers based abroad who visit and participate in research projects hosted by the University should comply with the legal and ethical requirements existing in the UK as well as those of their own country. For further guidance, see: International Research
Researchers must be aware that additional insurance cover may be required for certain research activities and/or for travel to certain countries. Additional costs may be incurred which should also be considered at the early stages of the development of the research proposal and recovered in research costs, where appropriate and eligible. The University’s insurance brokers may need to be consulted.
For further guidance, see: Insurance and Indemnity
Research participants and animals in research
The health and safety of human participants involved in research and also any animals used must also be of paramount importance in the design and conduct of research. All appropriate legal and regulatory requirements must be adhered to in such cases.