First Aid

Provisions for first aid and medical aid should be in place prior to travel. For out of country research trips, groups such as the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) can assist in the preparation, prevention, and intervention with respect to medical aid emergencies. Travelers should always know where the nearest medical facility is located, hours of operation, and limitations of service. Please visit the IAMAT Website for more information.

When conducting field work, provisions for first aid must be in place to respond on scene. The type of kit and the need for a first aid attendant will depend on the number of participants, the hazard level associated with the activity, and actual travel time to the nearest hospital using available modes of transportation (taking into account potential roadblocks to medical aid). Supervisors that require assistance determining what level of first aid is required can refer to the WorkSafe BC First aid assessment guidelines.

First Aid Procedures

Written first aid procedures should be posted at the site and/or effectively communicated to faculty, staff and students.  Faculty and staff must be trained in how to implement the procedures.  The procedures form part of the Trip Plan and must include:

The equipment, supplies, facilities, first aid attendants and services available

The location of and how to summon first aid

How the first aid attendant is to respond to a call for first aid. Be sure to include your location in multiple formats (i.e. GPS, UTM, street address, major cross street) to ensure that any given responder can find you

The authority of the first aid attendant over the treatment of the injured and the responsibility of the attendant to report injuries to the University (and the employer will report to the Board)

Who is to call for transportation of the injured and the method of transportation and calling

Prearranged routes in and out of the field site and to medical treatment

Procedures for reporting first aid incidents

Hazard Levels

The level of hazard associated with the trip must be determined. WorkSafeBC provides the first aid requirements for each level of hazard. Examples of low, moderate, and high hazards have been provided below. HSE can assist in classifying hazard levels associated with field trips at the supervisor’s request.

Low Hazard – e.g. training or teaching

Moderate Hazard – e.g. fish collection, landscape gardening, repairing outboard motors and other small gasoline engines, water transportation, land surveying, sample collection

High Hazard – e.g. using tools, equipment, or machinery for high-speed grinding, cutting, chipping, or drilling; scientific diving; operating equipment or machinery where rollover is possible; working near mobile equipment where there is a possibility of a worker being struck; working at elevations; entering confined spaces where toxic atmospheres may exist or develop; entering excavations greater than 1.2 metres (4 feet) in depth; being exposed to unusual risk of injury due to violence, drowning, animals, heat or cold, or falling objects; and working where there are other hazard factors that may expose workers to risk of serious injury or occupational disease

These hazard levels are taken from the provincial WorkSafeBC guidelines, and as such, further explanation can be found there.

It is common practice for lead supervisors of outdoor programs to hold a valid Advanced Wilderness First Aid Certificate in addition to the WorkSafeBC requirements. Assistant leaders should consider taking a wilderness survival course. However, WorkSafeBC does not currently recognize any Wilderness First Aid agencies/supervisors and therefore, this certification is not considered to be a program requirement.

First Aid Equipment

A First Aid Kit must be available for immediate use by first aid personnel and should remain fully stocked and securely stored. Additional first aid supplies should be taken into the field if, for instance, the participants are at considerable distance from a kit stored in a field vehicle. Further information can be found at WorkSafeBC.

First Aid Kit Recommendations – see WorkSafeBC to determine the level of First Aid Kit required for your travel.


Number of People

Supplies, equipment, and facility



Personal first aid kit



Basic first aid kit



Level 1 first aid kit