Chapter 24: Off-campus Activity Safety

Effective Date: September, 2023

A. Purpose

The rapidly expanding academic programs at HKUST have provided numerous opportunities for students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels to engage in off-campus activities of various forms. On top of inter-institutional research collaboration and field research activities, many diversified off-campus student activities have become increasingly frequent as well. It is the University’s responsibility to ensure these activities are conducted in a proper and safe manner. The purpose of this chapter is to ensure that all parties concerned are aware of their responsibilities to ensure safety of all participants of off-campus activities and to facilitate effective emergency management in case of emergency.

B. Scope

The guidelines cover all off-campus activities conducted by staff or students for the purpose of study, research, teaching, academic exchange or other learning activities outside the HKUST campus. Departments, Offices, Centers are expected to follow the established guidelines when organizing all off-campus activities.

C. Responsibilities
  1. Heads of Unit (Department, Office, Center, etc.)
    1. Designate a coordinator for all off-campus activities.
    2. Ensure that project leaders are aware of relevant guidelines and procedures established in the HKUST Safety and Environmental Protection Manual before commencement of field work.

  2. Off-Campus Activity Coordinator
    1. Keep record of all off-campus activities within the unit, including but not limited to the following:
      • Field research
      • Academic exchange and visit
      • Students’ experience expedition
      • Internship
    2. Coordinate response within unit and liaise with the University’s management in case of emergency involving participants of any field activities organized by the unit.

  3. Project Leaders
    1. Notify the Off-Campus Activity Coordinator about all off-campus activities
    2. Conduct a risk assessment of the activity, document findings and control measures
    3. Implement necessary control measures to ensure field work is conducted safel
    4. Ensure that all participants are aware of the risks associated with off-campus activity, and implement all safety control measures
    5. Ensure that all necessary travel arrangement, emergency support and appropriate insurance are secured prior to off-campus activity
    6. Put the field work on-hold or call off the field work if field conditions deviate from the risk assessment significantly
    7. Continue to monitor field condition, assess any new hazards, and resolve health and safety issues that may arise in the field
    8. Coordinate with representative of the field location (if applicable) to ensure all relevant rules established at the premises, and any local regulatory requirements are observed by the participants
    9. Report any incident while off-campus using the HKUST Incident/Accident Report Form

  4. Participants
    1. Acknowledge the risks associated with the projects and observe all control measures established
    2. Follow instruction given by Project Leader and observe appropriate health and safety rules established by field location and any local regulatory requirements
    3. Report any unanticipated hazards to the Project Leader
    4. Report all accidents and emergencies to the Project Leader
    5. Provide any suggestions to improve health and safety to the Project Leader
    6. Stop work when unsafe condition is anticipated and report to the Project Leader immediately
D. Risk Assessment and Management for Off-Campus Activity
  1. Project leaders supervising an off-campus activity is required to perform risk assessment to identify potential hazards associated with the field work and to implement control measures needed for eliminating or minimizing such hazards.

  2. The risk assessment should be prepared in accordance with the guidelines established in “Work Planning and Procedures” Chapter 2 or other relevant chapters of the HKUST Safety and Environmental Protection Manual. The risk assessment should include but not limited to the following:

    1. Identify as many as possible the potential hazards associated with the off-campus activities. Refer to the HKUST Safety and Environmental Protection Manual for common hazards associated with research and other activities.

    2. Establish procedures for monitoring and evaluation of the hazards identified.

    3. Make recommendation of the safety preventive measures required to control the hazards identified.

    4. Document the risk assessment findings and adopted control measures, for example as a part of the field activity work plan, and seek approval by management

    5. Communicate the results to participants

  3. Individual risk assessment may not be necessary for regular off-campus activities such as undergraduate student exchange, placements at external institutions, experience expedition exercise, travel for conferences, seminars, meetings, academic visits, etc. These activities normally would only involve common risks associated with traveling and lodging temporarily in off-campus or overseas locations. A generic risk assessment and safety precautions for participants should be adequate.

  4. Project leaders should perform risk assessment if the risks associated with the activities are uncertain or atypical.

  5. Under abnormal circumstances, for instance, when travel alert is issued by the Security Bureau or Department of Health against travelling to certain destinations, Project Leader is responsible for assessing the special risks of off-campus field work and to ensure proper steps are taken to safe guard the participants, which may include stopping the activity and bringing participants back.

  6. Participants of off-campus activities must be informed beforehand about the associated risks, and necessary safety precautions or measures. Participants are required to provide their consent of assuming the risks of taking part in projects and observe all safety measures established for the project. A record of such information provided to participants and their consent should be documented.

  7. Project Leaders should ensure the following steps have been taken prior to travel.

    1. Inform the designated Off-Campus Activities Coordinator about the trip.

    2. Consult regulatory agencies for travel and health alert.

    3. Ensure all participants have appropriate insurance coverage.

    4. Established emergency procedures and contacts.

    5. Ensure all participants are informed and be familiar with the emergency procedures.

E. Emergency Support

Travel insurance for staff and students travelling on business trip is currently provided by the University.
Details on the coverage can be found HERE.


The University has subscribed supporting services from International SOS to provide emergency support to all University’s members on business travel. In the event if immediate support on matters such medical needs, travel safety, baggage lost, etc… is needed while on the travel, members should contact International SOS for guidance and advice. It is advisable that members should contact International SOS for pre-trip advice prior to departure. The information will help facilitate the management of emergency support in case of emergency.
Detailed services provided by the International SOS can be found HERE.