Fieldwork personnel


This section provides information on the immediate actions (medical screening, arranging polar field clothing and arranging personal accident insurance) required in the lead up to and immediately after the identification and/or recruitment of those individuals who will be conducting fieldwork in the Antarctic.

Please note, that it is a condition of your award that any research assistant and/or student who will be working in the Antarctic on your project must be identified no later than the last working day of June (30th June unless that date coincides with a weekend) prior to the field season for which the fieldwork is scheduled for your project. They need not actually be employed by you from this date, but BAS must be able to communicate with them from that date. BAS will not be responsible for recruiting unless this has been specifically agreed. Please ensure that the recruitment process is started as early as is possible.

Personnel Screening and medical aspects


Medical forms and guidelines (BAS website)


  • 30th June 2015: deadline for contact information for field personnel to be sent to the Antarctic Funding Office (email:
  • 30th June 2015: All medical forms should be sent to Chris Aldridge (BAS Operations and Logistics)

Background Information

Living and working in a hostile environment demands a certain level of physical fitness. The Antarctic stations, especially during the austral winter, are isolated in the extreme; it is frequently impossible to gain access. Sudden illness and injury cannot at times be avoided, but to allow someone whose illness is potentially predictable to work in Antarctica would be foolhardy, endangering perhaps not only the individual but also his or her companions.

Medical fitness will be determined by the BAS Medical Unit (BASMU). BASMU will follow-up specific medical issues as required. This may involve further tests to confirm an individual’s fitness for fieldwork in the Antarctic or on board ship.

BAS reserves the right to determine the suitability of any applicant for Antarctic work, which may include seeking character references. All personnel working with BAS are required to undergo a routine medical examination, which will include a blood test for hepatitis and HIV. The examination will normally take place at an individual’s GP, to BAS guidelines, around 4–5 months before departure to the Antarctic.

Please read the Medical aspects of living and working in the Antarctic document which can be downloaded from the BAS webpage on Medical guidelines and forms.  BAS Operations and Logistics section (OPAL) manages the paperwork associated with medical requirements; in the event of queries, you may contact either Operations Support Assistant Mr Chris Aldridge (e-mail, or the BASMU Manager, Pete Marquis.

With regard to dental fitness requirements, all personnel  going to the Antarctic must visit their own dentist for a check-up and necessary treatment prior to their Antarctic visit to ensure that they are dentally fit.  Some personnel, such as winterers and those who will be going into deep-field locations, will also be required to see the BAS dentist in preparation for deployment. Emergency treatment in the Antarctic may not always be carried out by a dental surgeon. Further information can be found in the BAS handbook.

Field Clothing



Please ensure that a completed polar clothing form is submitted to the Stores Manager Mr Mick Cliff (email: immediately prior to the commencement of the intended fieldwork season.

Arrange personal accident insurance:

BAS, being a constituent Research Centre of NERC, a non-departmental public body, bears its own risks and meets its own liabilities. Life cover for its employees is provided through the Joint Council’s Superannuation Scheme (JSS), unless staff have specifically opted out of that scheme. Personal accident cover for injuries or accidents sustained in the course of their official duties is provided for all staff, whether or not they are members of the scheme, through the injuries benefit provisions of JSS (NERC Staff Notice 18/90).

Whereas such personal accident cover is extended to non-BAS personnel working with BAS support in the Antarctic, the provisions of the Injury Benefit Scheme are likely to deliver only minimal benefits to such personnel. Non-BAS personnel are therefore advised to arrange appropriate accident insurance, prior to departure to the Antarctic. In accord with standard NERC policy, costs for neither personal accident insurance nor equipment insurance can be included in a grant proposal. Non-BAS personnel are also advised to refer to Medical insurance guidelines for non-BAS staff. Please contact James Miller in BAS HR if you require further information.