The Year of Geology 2016

To the field with careful preparation

When a GTK employee goes to the field to take measurements and collect samples, the employee’s occupational safety has been considered from multiple aspects. The client who has ordered the investigation has informed GTK of local special conditions, such as cliffs and gravel pits, thin ice on frozen bodies of water, and railways. Researchers must pay attention to vehicles in the area, and know how to ride a snowmobile and a quad bike, if the task requires it.

Before beginning field studies, a start meeting must be held on the site.

“Risks to occupational safety will be discussed with the ordered, the field research personnel and the people organising the work sites. The meeting will be held through a messaging app, which means that distances are irrelevant,” says GTK’s field manager Reijo Sormunen.

Good protective clothing and tools, first-aid skills and continuous training of the personnel are also part of occupational safety. Accidents and hazardous situations are analysed carefully to avoid similar situations in the future.

Accidents in the field are rare, even though the surveyed sites can be anything from city to fells.

“We have not been able to avoid all accidents, but compared to the number of employees working in the field, there have been very few.

In addition to Finland, GTK’s employees work in the field in many countries that are not as stable and safe as Finland. In these projects the risk assessment is done with the care and attention that the situation requires.”

A route is planned for the machine

Ensuring occupational safety is one of GTK’s responsibilities. Another one is taking care of the environment. When a survey in a location has been planned, the residents and landowners of the area will be informed.

“The goal is to cause as little damage as possible, when conducting field studies. It requires, among other things, planning the route carefully in advance,” Sormunen says.

Usually we can conduct geophysical measurements by foot, but a drilling machine always leaves some kind of tracks.

“Route selections are particularly important when using machines.” As a routine, GTK photographs all survey sites before a machine is brought in. When the survey is done, the area will be cleaned and photographed again. If conducting the survey has required that trees be felled, they are neatly piled for the land owner.

According to Sormunen, GTK receives very little feedback about marks left in the field.

“In this work, both safety and environment are important. They go hand in hand,” field manager Sormunen emphasises.