Risk Management

Field Trips

Field trips provide unique and valuable opportunities for students to engage in learning beyond the classroom, with opportunities for connecting both theory and practice. This type of student learning experience is supportive of our polytechnic “Learn by Doing” philosophy.

However field trips expose participants to risks that are not present in the classroom. Injuries caused during field trips create exposure to liability for the University.

It is impossible to eliminate all risks entirely; however, employees who plan and organize field trips can reduce the exposure to risk and better ensure the safety of University staff and students during field trips by addressing, during the planning stage, the specific risks that arise out of field trips.  The resources below have been developed to help minimize these risks and exposures.

The following list describes some measures that can help organize and control the field trip experience; it is not an all-inclusive list. Departments are encouraged to document the protocols and procedures used in planning their field trips.

For Faculty

A field trip is ...

  • an out-of-classroom, off-campus trip;
  • related to an academic course or university sponsored program;
  • with the date, time and location selected by the instructor.


Determining if it's a Field Trip


EXAMPLE OF A FIELD TRIP

  • Enrolled students meet faculty member at a museum at a specific date/time, and this meeting is considered a required component of the course.

EXAMPLE OF WHAT'S NOT A FIELD TRIP

  • Faculty member asks enrolled students to visit a museum sometime during the academic term.  The visit is a course requirement, but the students individually select the date/time for their museum visit and the instructor is not part of the trip.

To improve staff control and supervision and reduce risks and exposure to liability, CSU policy and practice limits participation in CSU-sponsored field trips to employees in the course and scope of their employment and students registered in the class in which the trip occurs.

Students, spouses, children, and friends not registered in a class are not allowed to participate in class field trips without specific authorization from college management. 

An example is someone who volunteers to assist with the field trip.  Before authorizing them to volunteer with the field trip, college management must authorize them as a volunteer in compliance with the CSU Volunteer Policy, meeting requirements for background checks, training regarding University policies, and the submittal of required field trip forms (including the CSU Waiver of Liability that is signed and submitted by all participants in the field trip).

The following link is for a Field Trip Checklist to assist you in planning: Field Trip Checklist (PDF) 

However, for departments that sponsor frequent field trips it is helpful to develop a customized field-trip checklist that includes specific issues that employees who lead your field trips can consider during the planning process. It might include the following:

  • Goals & objectives
  • Itinerary
  • Known risks; means of addressing them
  • Information about weather
  • Emergency response plan
  • Composition of field team
  • Participant emergency contact information
  • Accommodations during travel
  • Need for first-aid supplies and expertise
  • Medical needs of travelers with pre-existing conditions
  • Clothing, personal equipment, and field equipment
  • Transportation
  • Food and supplies on-site and during travel to and from the site
  • Mandatory safety training in specific areas of risk applicable to the event as appropriate
  • Necessary University forms
  • Necessary documents for individual travelers: drivers license, passport, etc.

Field trips involving travel outside of the U.S., including trips into Mexico, require additional approvals and insurance.

  • CSU Executive Order prohibits travel to any country where there is a U.S. State Department "Travel Warning" unless a specific exception is made by the CSU Chancellor.
  • Exception requests must be filed with the Provost's Office a minimum of 30 days in advance of the intended trip date.  Contact Marissa Martinez, Executive Assistant to the Provost, (909) 869-3933, for assistance.  The Provost's Office coordinates the campus review.  Requests endorsed by President Coley are then forwarded for review by the Chancellor.

  • Select the area where the field trip is to be held.  Faculty should visit the general area prior to the field trip or demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the area in order to document any potential risks.
  • Secure necessary departmental/college approvals, such as your travel form and approval for any required expenditures.
  • The Authorization to Travel on State Business (travel form) is to be completed by the instructor and is not applicable to students.

Foreign Travel Insurance

  • CSU Policy requires the purchase of insurance for all international travel, including trips to Mexico.  There is a copy for this insurance (both for employees and students), with cost dependent on the country and the length of the trip.  Contact MaryAnn Boice-Ceja, Risk Manager, at (909) 869-4846, for details.

Mexican Auto Insurance

  • When traveling in Mexico on university/state business which will involve driving, Mexican automobile insurance must be purchased.  This insurance can be coordinated through Strategic Enterprise Risk Management, at (909) 869-4846.

All field trip participants, with the exception of employees in the course and scope of their employment, must sign a CSU Release of Liability.  Departments that sponsor activities that involve off-campus field trips are responsible for preparing CSU Releases of Liability and making certain that all participants sign and submit one before being allowed to participate in the activity. If an itinerary has been developed, it can be referenced and attached to the Release of Liability. Go to CSU Releases of Liability for more information about waivers of liability.

  • Field trips should begin and end at the field trip site.
  • Have the students meet you at the site.  They are responsible for their own transportation, just as they are every day to/from class.
  • Provide site location information, but do not direct students to drive, what route to take, what stops to make (when not related to the field trip), etc.
  • Students driving their own vehicles to and from an academic field trip do so at their own expense and their own liability.  The university will NOT provide mileage reimbursement.
  • Do not organize carpools or caravans to travel to academic field trip site.  Consider arranging for chartered travel services if the nature of the field trip requires it.  Contact Cal Poly Pomona's Procurement and Support Services Department if chartering transportation.

  • For instances where chartered transportation service (e.g., bus rental) is warranted for a field trip, the field trip is then recommended to begin and end on campus.
  • Use only chartered transportation services contracted through Cal Poly Pomona's Procedure and Support Services Department.
  • Faculty/Departments may not develop or sign a contract for chartered transportation services, as only Procurement & Support Services has authorization to develop such contracts.

  • Develop health and safety instructions for all participants.  These instructions will differ according to the specifics of your field trip activity and location.
  • Consider the need for special clothing or equipment that may be required due to site conditions.
  • Determine any training needed for field trip participants, including training for safety gear or equipment to be utilized
  • Plan for and accommodate students with disabilities.
  • Plan for hazards that could be encountered and mitigation procedures (e.g., sun exposure--sunscreen, hat/clothing to avoid sunburn, water, chapstick, etc.).
  • Assess Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is available/required and how and when it is to be used.

Other Health and Safety Topics to Consider:

  • Physical demands that may be required (e.g., long walks, climbing hills, embankments) where this is likely to be excessive or beyond the capacity of some participants.
  • Forbidden or restricted items (e.g., firearms, alcohol, etc.) and forbidden or restricted behaviors (e.g., rock climbing ropes, illegal specimen collection, etc.).
  • Rules and restrictions specific to the field trip site.

Health and Safety Assistances

  • Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) is available to provide consultation in developing safety instructions and rules, determining Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needs, and in identifying hazards.  Visit the EHS website at https://www.cpp.edu/ehs or contact EHS by email at ehs@cpp.edu or by phone at (909) 869-4697.

  • The type of field trip also dictates the level of emergency planning needed.  For example, if the trip location is remote, you need to consider the availability of a first aid kit, of individuals with first aid skills, and a cell phone or appropriate means of communication in the event emergency aid is needed.
  • Confirmation that cell phones will operate from the field trip site should be made in advance so that alternative arrangements can be made if needed.
  • Designate a meeting place in case of separation.
  • Provide evacuation instructions, etc.
  • Compile and take with you a list of emergency contacts, including local police, trauma centers, etc.  Provide these numbers to field trip participants, along with your emergency contact number.
  • In addition to local emergency responders, notify the campus when an emergency occurs during a field trip by contacting University Police Department (UPD) at (909) 869-3070 (24/7, 7 days a week).

Additional Emergency Planning Information

  • Many people enter telephone numbers on their cell phones under the acronym ICE, which stands for In Case of Emergency.  You could suggest that students program your contact number into their phones as ICE during the period of the field trip.
  • Also determine a protocol for circumstances that may necessitate the supervisor's leaving the grou to accompany an injured or ill student.

  • Communicate codes of conduct for students, addressing such issues as fraternizing, consuming alcohol, controlling activities, and conduct during "free time."
  • In reviewing permissible conduct rules with students, be sure to include the CSU policy regarding alcohol and chemical substances (i.e., NO alcoholic beverages or chemical substances, except personal prescription medication, shall be transported in any state/university vehicle or personal private vehicle used in support of a university-sponsored activity).
  • Advise participants of the consequences of non-compliance and take appropriate action when aware that participants are in violation.  Visit the Cal Poly Pomona Student Conduct & Integrity website for details regarding Student Conduct Code and Procedures.

For Students

Participating in a California State University-affiliated program which requires air and/or ground transportation, such as an academic field trip, involves risks and could result in damage to property, injury to persons, and death. Please be informed that the California State University assumes no liability for damage, injury, and death which may occur during air and/or ground travel required by the California State University-affiliated programs. Your participation in the program is voluntary, and you participate at your own risk.

Prior to undertaking a CSU-affiliated air and/or ground travel, you will be required to sign a
"Release and Hold-Harmless Form." Please review the statement carefully before signing it.

Students participating in academic field trips are expected to conform to the same standards of behavior as published in the Cal Poly Pomona Student Conduct Code. Any violation of the Student Conduct Code or local, state, or federal laws may result in disciplinary action or sanctions by the University.

Students driving their own vehicles to and from an academic field trip site do so at their own expense and their own liability.

If a field trip involves travel outside of the United States, check with Risk Management, extension 4846, regarding required Foreign Travel Insurance. This insurance is mandated by CSU Executive Order 1041 and a cost is assessed for faculty and students.