Risk assessments are an increasing feature of study activities and environments, whether they be on-campus (e.g. a physical geography or computer laboratory) or off-campus (e.g. a field study venue). The fieldcourse reconnaissance visit should always include an assessment based on the needs of visually impaired students, and this is best undertaken as a formal audit. Such audits should also be extended to the areas within which visually impaired students intend to carry out fieldwork while preparing their dissertation.
The main features that need to be subjected to an audit are:
Based on an understanding of these issues, it might be appropriate to use a proforma to undertake a formal audit of the fieldcourse venue and accommodation.
Additional ideas for carrying out an audit can be obtained by visiting the site of the Fieldfare Trust (www.fieldfare.org.uk/), which promotes access to the countryside by the disabled. The Trust is involved in the BT-sponsored Countryside for All scheme (www.fieldfare.org.uk/btcfa.htm), which provides guidelines on those aspects of the countryside that affect disabled people's access. For example, there are suggestions on minimum path width for blind walkers (0.9m), and the avoidance of paths that involve overhanging obstructions. The Trust also manages the BT Millennium Project, which aims to identify and record over 2000 miles of countryside suitable for access by people with a disability.
Page updated 14 December 2001
GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock
© Geography Discipline Network/authors, 2001
ISBN: 1 86174 115 4