A code for geoscientific fieldwork in Nigeria and Africa: Guidelines on health and safety issues in mapping, mineral exploration, geoecological research and geotourism.
PRINCESS ALEXANDRIA AUDITORIUM (PAA), UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NSUKKA, 06 – 09 NOVEMBER, 2018
The need to reinforce health and safety management issues in geoscientific and geoecological fieldwork in Africa is urgent. This is exemplified from the recurrent reports of missing participants, unsavory accounts of encounters with village heads, municipal authorities or section chiefs, motor vehicle accidents, hunting accidents, kidnappings, armed robberies, attacks by herdsmen, ‘vigilante groups’ or wild animals, unethical field procedures, common law duty of care, litigation, insurance considerations, and so on. It is surely not good publicity for any university if a student undertaking fieldwork is attacked, killed by wild animals, hijacked, injured by landmine, catches malaria, or, worst, shot by a hunter and dies in the field.
The theme of the Conference: ‘A Code for geoscientific fieldwork in Africa’ could never have been more apposite at this time, as we continue to record more and more of these tragic incidents. The aim is to demonstrate unequivocally that most of the risk encountered during geoscientific and geoecological fieldwork in Africa can be reduced, or, in some instances, be obviated altogether, by knowledge, experience, adequate preparation and strict observance of appropriate health and safety precautions.
The Conference will bring to light the virtual absence of regulatory guidelines in conducting geological fieldwork by many geoscience departments in Africa and some mineral exploration and mining establishments, and would highlight the importance of mitigating health and safety challenges identified from the ethical, legal, economic and other dimensions.
Invited veterans in African field geology would incorporate in their keynote addresses, a rich and diverse set of fieldwork experiences, insights and reflections on conducting geoscientific fieldwork in Africa, the problems that emerge, the solutions that were developed, and the realities of being ‘in the field’. The focus will be on provision of hands-on approaches to conducting geoscientific fieldwork safely in a range of African settings, exploring the methodological considerations that engender risks and safety aspects, offering strategies to mitigate these, and provide guidelines for maintaining geodiversity and geoheritage.
The Conference is a “must attend”, for it will provide an essential guide to health and safety for geology undergraduates and postgraduate students in tertiary geoscience institutions, academics, mineral explorationists, geoecological researchers, nature conservationists and geotourists in Africa and from abroad. The Project can be considered from a more generic perspective as well, as many African fieldwork experiences in the geosciences can be compared with those encountered in other scientific fieldwork endeavours, such as in the life sciences and in ecology.
Supporting roles on articulating health and safety policy guidelines and ergonomics would be provided by invited professionals in the medical, legal, insurance and geological hardware and equipment supply fields.
A number of short training courses will be organised on topics related to the Conference theme, such as: “Medical Geology Curriculum and Appropriate Field Project Selection”, ‘Safety Requirements in Well Logging’ and “Administering First Aid and Emergency Care in the Field”.