Risk is inherent in everything that we do in life. Without accepting and understanding these risks, we would not be able to do anything at all. The first concern of all activities undertaken as part of Operation Wallacea expeditions is to gain an understanding of the environments we will be working in, and from this to reduce risk to health and safety as far as is possible. All the expeditions provided by Operation Wallacea meet the requirements of BS8848 Specification for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventures outside the UK (self-declared). In addition, Opwall has been audited and awarded a Learning Outside the Classroom badge for taking students on overseas expeditions. Safety auditing is also performed at each of the sites during the research programmes. Reports on the accidents and illnesses that occurred during the expeditions each year are published on the website.
Extensive documentation is available for each expedition describing the risk management procedures in place, the medical provisions and evacuation procedures, and the roles and competencies of the various staff involved in running the projects. To view the documentation relevant for your expedition see the expedition resources page.
In general all forest projects, particularly Honduras and Indonesia, as well as the Transylvania expeditions require reasonable levels of fitness. The survey work can be physically demanding, and on top of that the working conditions may be hot, humid and/or tiring. A useful guide to fitness is that if you are capable of walking for up to 3 hours each day over hilly ground on well defined footpaths carrying a 15kg rucksack then you should be fine for most of the projects. Marine projects tend to be less physically demanding, although you must be able to swim 200m unassisted in order to complete your PADI Open Water dive training course. Additionally there are certain medical conditions which are not compatible with SCUBA diving. All participants who intend to dive have to complete a specific medical questionnaire and those suffering from certain conditions, such as asthma and diabetes, will often need to have a specialist dive medic sign them off as fit to dive.
More specific information on the fitness requirements for each of the expeditions is given in the site conditions section for each of those projects.
Operation Wallacea does not directly operate any physical fitness screening prior to the expeditions, but we do strongly recommend that you check the fitness requirements for your expeditions and if you are concerned, contact your nearest Opwall office. We collect medical information from all participants and if you have any medical conditions which we feel might be a cause for concern, we will contact you to discuss this.