The field instructor/field site should provide each student with a copy of the field site specific policies and procedures related to safety as part of the student orientation to the field placement, and provide field site required training on safety issues and procedures and requirements related to immunizations and vaccinations. The field placement and each of its programs should have a well-rehearsed specific plan of action in which every member of the staff knows exactly what to do in case of danger. This plan of action should be rehearsed with students and reviewed on a regular basis. It is everyone's responsibility to concentrate on reducing risk in the field setting.
Though a student has the right to refuse a dangerous assignment, a common understanding about the kinds of assignments that are appropriately safe should be reached by the student, the field instructor, and the field faculty when appropriate. The student's field instructor should know, or be able to easily ascertain, the student's location during field hours at all times and should discuss on a regular basis any activities that require special planning with regard to safety. The following types of activities should be discussed with the field faculty member to determine if these activities are appropriate learning activities for students as these require an added element of preparation, support and possibly back-up:
- Community-based home visits
- Client transportation
- Treatment of client with a history of violence (particularly unsupervised or in areas where other staff are not present)
- Clients who require physical restraint
Students should be given the same consideration as employees regarding all aspects of safety within the field setting and assignments. For example, if staff are issued cell phones for community visits in case of emergencies, then students should be provided with similar accommodations in all circumstances. Field sites are reminded that students are in a learning role and that every precaution must be taken to ensure student safety. It is always the responsibility of the field site to ensure the student's safety during field placement hours.
If a student is threatened or injured while in field education, or involved in an incident where their safety is compromised, the incident should be reported immediately to the field faculty member or the assistant dean for field education in the Office of Field Education (734) 764-5331, MSW program director or the Office of the Associate Dean for Educational Programs (734) 764-5340.