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Risk Management: Planning Special Events Off-Campus

Use this risk management checklist when planning field trips and other special events off-campus.

Follow the business rules below to protect your department from possible liability and financial loss.

Contracts and agreements

Get a written contract or agreement.

If an off-campus special event involves a company, supplier, or facility, a written contract or agreement is required.

  • Contact the professional buyer for your location to initiate a contract or agreement for your event.

Allow for processing time. Contract negotiations can take several weeks, so begin the process as soon as possible.

If a supplier asks you to sign a document, it is probably a contract of some type, whether it is called a contract or not. Do not sign the document.

Only UC San Diego professional buyers can sign contracts and agreements.

Proof of insurance

Proof of insurance may be requested by either the vendor or the university.

Every vendor UC San Diego does business with must provide proof of insurance. If a purchase order is issued through IFIS or Marketplace, B&FS Procurements & Contracts is responsible for obtaining the vendor's proof of insurance.

Vendors, likewise, may ask for proof of insurance from the university.

Allow 10 days for the Risk Management Office to process your request.

Important: You must have a contract with the company, issued by UC San Diego Purchasing, before Risk Management will provide a UC San Diego Certificate of Insurance.


Use appropriate waivers for medium- to high-risk activities. Examples include rock climbing, open-ocean activities, camping, and trips out of the country.

Important: A waiver does not limit or exclude the university from negligence.

  • Select the appropriate waiver for off-campus trips: 
    • General Waiver (External Individuals/Entities) (PDF) English (PDFen Español
    • General Waiver for Staff/Faculty/Students (PDF)
    • Group Waiver (PDF

Have each participating individual sign a waiver. If a participant refuses to sign a waiver, consult with EH&S Risk Management, (858) 534-2454, about how to proceed.

Start early! It may take time to collect signatures and solve problems.

Transportation insurance

Determine what kind of insurance your travel arrangements require.

Be sure you understand what is and is not covered by university insurance when you select transportation.

Read about different modes of transportation below:


  • Plan adequate staff. At least 2 faculty or staff must accompany student participants.
  • Ask staff participants to get first aid and CPR training, especially if traveling to a remote location.
    • Take first aid supplies sufficient for the group.
    • Make sure you have communication means and knowledge of how to guide emergency services to your location.
  • Review potential hazards with the participants (animals, poison ivy, temperature extremes, sun exposure, heat illness prevention, etc.).
  • Take appropriate protective equipment and supplies, such as sun screen, hats, water, batteries.
  • Plan for food storage and sanitation. Remote sites may require ice chests (depending on the food and supplies you take), water purification equipment, and sanitation supplies.
    Note: Some medications must be refrigerated.
  • Travel to a foreign country requires extra considerations, such as passports, immunizations, potential political unrest, and limited availability of water, food, and medical care. See "Make a Field Safety Plan" below.

Complete a Field Operational Planner

  • Use the Field Operational Planner and related resources to create a customized field safety plan for university-sponsored research or instructional field trips.

The Field Operational Planner helps you anticipate and prepare for contingencies and potential health hazards before you go. Individual health issues, reasonable care, and proper planning and precautions are essential. If an insurance claim or lawsuit is filed against the university, the department may have to pay deductibles if there is gross negligence.

Field Operational Plans are generally intended for global researchers and classroom field trips.

Contact Risk Management, (858) 534-2454.
When a loss occurs, notify Risk Management, (858) 534-2454, immediately to promptly initiate the insurance investigation and claims process.