Applying Risk Management Concepts from CRM and the Outdoor Recreation Industry to Academic Archaeology Projects

William A. White, III | Anthropology | Advances in Archaeological Practice, 2021

Field safety is being taken more seriously across the cultural resource management (CRM) industry as CRM companies seek to be in compliance with their clients’ health and safety programs and to keep employees safe. Many universities also have organizational health and safety programs designed to protect students and employees, but academic archaeology is routinely conducted without adequate risk management planning. Risk management will be a workplace concern for aspiring archaeologists after graduating from college, which is why it is important for academic archaeology to meet industry standards. Archaeology can learn a great deal about fieldwork risk management from the outdoor recreation industry, which emphasizes building leadership skills rather than following proscribed rules and regulations to mitigate the myriad hazards in the field. This article provides some suggestions that academic archaeologists can use to apply risk management concepts from CRM and the outdoor recreation industry to academic projects in order to comply with university requirements and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as to teach students how to be safe in the field.