Guidance on assessment of risk for travel and fieldwork

Updated 9 October 2022

When a risk assessment is needed, and timing

If you intend to travel on University business, please allow plenty of notice for the submission of your Risk Assessment and Travel Insurance application.  We may not be able to process a last-minute application in time before you need to travel.

In principle a risk assessment is required for all travel on University business, and for all fieldwork.  For low-risk travel, only the first section of the risk assessment needs to be completed (under review, as this is duplicated by the questions on the Travel Insurance system).  A risk assessment is always required for fieldwork.

Please note that all travel to destinations to which the FCO currently advise against all but essential travel must be reviewed by the central Safety Office, otherwise insurance will be invalid. 

What constitutes low, medium and high risk for travel and fieldwork

Low Risk

The health and safety risks associated with the location of your travel and nature of your activity is low. This risk would equate to daytime meetings in a profesional setting in Oxford. For example, lecturing, attending conferences, visiting colleagues, high level meetings or desk based research in the UK, Northern America or the European Union. In addition, the TravelHealthPro website should not recommend specific vaccinations for the area(s) you are visiting, nor state a risk of malaria.  Only the 'short' version of the risk assessment form needs to be completed in such cases, to provide evidence that the risk has been assessed and has been deemed to be low.

Medium Risk

You consider there to be additional risks associated with the location/country of travel and/or the activities you will be undertaking. For example, examining data in an established field centre, or interviewing participants in a country the FCO does not advise against travel to.  The longer version of the Risk Assessment form must be completed for medium and high-risk travel or fieldwork.

High Risk

There are warnings against travel (either against all travel or all but essential travel) to the area(s) you intend to visit. These warnings may apply to a whole country or regions with a country; and/or

You will be undertaking a high risk activity (for example diving; interviewing members of armed groups; working with dangerous animals/ highly infectious or dangerous materials, in extreme terrains/ remote locations or on a highly charged or controversial subject which might put you at significant risk); and/or

Your own governement advises against its citizens travelling to the region you intend to visit.


The longer version of the Risk Assessment template must be completed for medium and high-risk travel, and for all fieldwork.

Where the FCO advises against travel to the region(s) you intend to travel this risk assessment must have been reviewed by the Safety Office and approved by your Head of Department/Faculty/School. Any relevant associated correspondence should also be uploaded, in particular correspondence with the Safety Office.

On this page