Skip to main content

Staying Safe Off Campus

Off-Campus Activities

When you host or participate in university-sponsored off-campus activities, which include, but are not limited to: field trips, research, and seminars, activity coordinators have the responsibility to manage the risks associated with these activities.

An activity coordinator is the individual that has the primary responsibility for organizing and planning any off-campus activity. This may include students engaged in research activities or organizing events related to academic programming.

University policy states that a risk assessment must be completed by the activity coordinator for any off-campus activity involving students prior to the activity commencing. The assessment will help you plan your activity and to ensure the safety of all participants.

If you are intending to organize any university-sponsored activities, contact

Travel for Off-Campus Activities and Unpaid Student Work Placements

When using your personal vehicle to travel to off-campus activities or unpaid placements, the insurance policy on your personal vehicle is the primary coverage for both liability and physical damage. If you have questions about Laurier’s insurance coverage, contact

Unpaid Student Work Placements

An unpaid work placement involves a postsecondary student being placed with a placement employer to obtain work skills and experience. Students observe and contribute to the employer’s business activities but are not paid by the employer. Laurier students who participate in unpaid work placements are provided insurance coverage in the event of a workplace injury through the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU).

Prior to the commencement of an unpaid work placement, students must complete a Student Declaration of Understanding Form, and submit it to their Laurier placement coordinator. Also prior to the placement, students must receive health and safety orientation training from their placement employer.

To help ensure you are prepared for workplace hazards you may be exposed to in a placement employer's facility, Unpaid Work Placement Health & Safety Orientation online training can be completed prior to your placement. You can access this training by logging onto MyLearningSpace using your Windows username and password and clicking on the "Self Registration" link at the top of the page. Once registration has been completed, the course will be available on the My Learning Space homepage under the course list.

In the event that you are injured during the course of your duties at your placement, insurance coverage is triggered by first reporting your accident to Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management (SHERM) using an Unpaid Work Placement Accident Report Form. Complete this accident report form as soon as reasonably possible following your injury. Contact your Laurier placement coordinator or SHERM for further information.

Accident Insurance for Students on Unpaid Work Placement

  1. Student placements with placement employers covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) are provided WSIB insurance coverage by the MCU.
  2. Student placements with placement employers not covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board are covered through a private insurance policy purchased by MCU.

SHERM will work with you, your Laurier placement coordinator and your placement employer to submit the necessary claim forms on your behalf. In order to complete this process, you will also be required to complete and sign an MCU Postsecondary Student Unpaid Work Placement Workplace Insurance Claim form, which will be provided to you once your accident report is received.


Staying Safe in Community-Based Settings

Working or performing research in a community-based setting, particularly when working alone, can present a whole new set of hazards that deserve some forethought prior to performing the work. To ensure you are prepared for the hazards you may face, take a look at our tips below on staying safe.

  • Carry only what is necessary. Large or numerous bags or cases are cumbersome.
  • Always take your cell phone with you and keep it in a place you can access it quickly.
  • Avoid having new contacts walk you to your car.
  • Keep your car doors locked and your windows up. Approach your car with your keys in your hand, and always perform a walk around check of the car, including the back seat, before unlocking the doors.
  • Be alert and take mental notes of your surroundings when arriving at a new place. Make note of a secondary exit whenever possible.
  • Maintain a "reactionary gap" between yourself and the client (out of reach of the average person’s kicking distance).
  • Increase the gap by sitting across from each other at a table if possible.
  • If referring to written material, bring two copies so you can sit across from each other, not beside.
  • Tell your supervisor or faculty member about any feelings of discomfort or apprehension about an upcoming meeting.
  • Keep records and indicate if the client is known to be aggressive, hostile or potentially violent. Do not leave out incidents that make you feel apprehensive.
  • Do not enter any situation or location where you feel threatened or unsafe.
  • Do not carry weapons of any type, including pepper spray. Weapons can be easily used against you and may be illegal in some jurisdictions.

See more safety tips.