A Code for Geoscientific Fieldwork in Africa: Guidelines on Health and Safety Issues in Mapping, Mineral Exploration, Geoecological Research, and Geotourism

Theophilus Clavell Davies
Professor of Medical Geology and Environmental Geochemistry, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Series: African Political, Economic, and Security Issues
BISAC: SCI031000

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A Code for Geoscientific Fieldwork in Africa is the first book to focus exclusively on the important subject of geoscience and geoecology research and study, exploring the methodological considerations that engender health and safety aspects, offering strategies to mitigate these issues.

This book comprises a set of guidelines to address the importance of geoscience and geoecology field trip safety, the considerations that should be taken in order to keep students, researchers and expeditionists safe in the African jungle, and how planning for safe field trips in the future should be undertaken. It also discusses how fieldwork affects the different categories of participants personally and what happens to field relationships. It gives an insightful analysis on participants with special needs and disabilities, and proven techniques for accommodating them in fieldwork.

The unique challenges and obstacles faced in this kind of scientific endeavor in African settings are effectively captured in the book, including mysterious encounters with primitive bushman tribes and unavoidable dealings with belligerent local officials, and even near-fatal stampedes by rampaging wild animals. The book also incorporates by way of case histories a rich and diverse set of fieldwork experiences, insights and reflections on conducting geoscience and geoecology fieldwork in Africa, the health and safety issues that emerged, the solutions that were developed, and the realities of being in the field.

Through an absorbing narrative, a paean is presented of the long and unique traditions of geoscience and geoecology fieldwork in Africa, and the reader is provided with an inside view of the trials and joys of such an endeavor. The book offers a sketch of health and safety issues that geotourists too may face during geoscience and geoecology field expeditions and proffers measures to mitigate these. The science is accessibly laid out and richly embroidered with tales of the bush.

A Code for Geoscientific Fieldwork in Africa is an essential guide for both geoscience and geoecology undergraduates and postgraduate students, academics, and geotourists in Africa and from abroad embarking on mapping, mineral exploration, geoecological research and expeditions.

Preface

Acknowledgements

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Characteristics of the Code

Chapter 3. Preparation for Fieldwork

Chapter 4. The Risk Management Process

Chapter 5. Clothing and Protective Gear

Chapter 6. Doing Solo Fieldwork

Chapter 7. Fieldwork Relationships

Chapter 8. Geological Field Equipment and Safety

Chapter 9. Hazardous, Mountainous, and Remote Areas

Chapter 10. Coastal Locations

Chapter 11. Cliffs, Slopes and Quarries

Chapter 12. Wetlands

Chapter 13. Wild Fauna

Chapter 14. Poisonous Plants

Chapter 15. Fitness and Medical Considerations

Chapter 16. Common Illnesses

Chapter 17. Student Comportment

Chapter 18. Leaders of Field Party

Chapter 19. Transport

Chapter 20. Accommodation and Catering

Chapter 21. Communication Instruments

Chapter 22. Ethics Policy

Chapter 23. Insurance Portfolios

Chapter 24. Legal Considerations

Chapter 25. Fieldwork Monitoring and Review

Chapter 26. Concluding Remarks

Chapter 27. Glossary of Terms

Annexures

Appendix I: An Example of a Student Fieldwork Declaration Form (SFDF)

Appendix II: Specific Instructions for Students

Appendix III: Fieldwork Risk Assessment Form

Appendix IV: Hazard Risk Assessment Matrix

Appendix V: The New Geoethical Promise

Index

Keywords: Health, Safety, Guidelines, Geoscience, Geoecology, Fieldwork, Africa

Most of the health and safety guidelines address situations specifically in the field of geology, and are directed particularly at geology students and staff at African universities offering geoscience and geoecology programs. However, the guidelines given can be more generically applicable, as many African geological fieldwork experiences can be compared with those encountered in other scientific fieldwork endeavors. Therefore, also included in the book’s audience are researchers and practitioners of related disciplines such as archeology, botany, ecology, geography, mineral exploration and mining, and zoology. Geotourists, both local and international, on organized expeditions to Africa would also find these guidelines invaluable.

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