BS 8848:2014 Specification for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the United Kingdom

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BS 8848:2014

Specification for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the United Kingdom

Status : Current   Published : March 2014



BS 8848:2014
Specification for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities, outside the United Kingdom

Download - Safer adventures: Managing the risks of adventure travel (PDF)

If you’re involved in organising adventurous activities overseas managing risk should be paramount.

Organisers of adventurous activities, from schools to travel and tour operators, need to know the risks involved and how to manage them effectively. If the appropriate level of planning, risk assessment or training is not in place then the consequences can be serious.

BS 8848 enables organisers of adventure travel to put in place a system to assess and manage risks, covering both the venture itself and the capabilities and experience of venture leaders and participants.

BS 8848 can also provide assurance to participants that venture providers are following good practice to help reduce the risk of injury or illness.

What is BS 8848?

BS 8848 is the British standard for organising and managing visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the UK.

BS 8848 documents established good practice and specifies the processes needed to manage overseas ventures, from gap year activities to adventure holidays and charity treks.

Providers, organisers and participants need to know the risks involved, that they’ve been planned for, and that action has been taken to minimise them, BS 8848 helps to achieve this.


Who is BS 8848 for?

This British Standard can be applied by any organization, group or individual to a broad range of overseas ventures, including:

  • voluntary, educational and charitable sectors of provision, as well as
  • commercial providers of ventures;
  • university and academic fieldwork, gap year and volunteering experiences,
  • school visits, charity challenges and research expeditions;
  • adventure holidays and treks;
  • those organized for young people and mature adults, whether in groups or venturing as individuals.

BS 8848 has as an underlying principle that the individual or organization claiming conformity with the standard for a venture is accountable for all elements of that venture. This includes any elements contracted to a third party provider, such as accommodation and travel.

How can BS 8848 help you?

BS 8848 sets out to help ensure operational systems are effective at managing risk, and help reduce the likelihood of incidents. In so doing, BS 8848 reassures those wishing to be involved in a venture, demonstrates a duty-of-care to employees and others, and provides a means of demonstrating that good practice has been followed.


Compliance with BS 8848 will help ensure that providers and organisers of adventure activities

  • Assign clear roles and responsibilities to those involved
  • Plan a venture to help ensure that key elements are not missed;
  • Provide clear and accurate information to participants on the safety issues and on the nature of the activities
  • Appoint competent staff with the right skills, training and know-how
  • Prepare risk management plans and make staff aware of the risks associated with specific activities and locations

Those wishing to claim conformance with BS 8848 can do so through self-declaration, or through other-party assessment, or by certification by an independent accredited organization.

 “BS 8848 is a ground-breaking tool to help organisers of a wide range of ventures overseas benchmark safety to an agreed standard. Anyone planning or participating in an overseas venture should be aware of its requirements.

Shane Winser
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)


How has BS 8848 changed?

Fully revised, the new standard has changed significantly:


  • clauses have been regrouped and consolidated to focus on key processes such as planning and risk assessment;
  • a focus on the approval and review of safety management systems, including matching risk exposure to the stated aims of the venture and risk management during the venture;
  • increased information for the participant and on the participants’ responsibilities in safety management
  • an increased applicability of the standard for individual placements and lone workers;
  • the inclusion of competence assessment criteria for venture activity specialists where participants are under 18 years old and unaccompanied by their parent or legal guardian;
  • revisions to the clauses on venture continuity and supervision have resulted in the definitions of “down time” and “personal time” being redundant;
  • streamlining of the clauses on claims of conformity 

BS 8848: 20014 supersedes BS 8848:2007 + A1:2009 supersedes and BS 8848:2007, which are withdrawn.

Reduced rate for charities

Charities can purchase BS 8848 (hardcopy only) at the reduced Member price. To order at the reduced rate, please call BSI Customer Services on +44 345 086 9001 or email with your registered charity number.

Standard NumberBS 8848:2014
TitleSpecification for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the United Kingdom
Publication Date31 March 2014
Cross ReferencesBS EN ISO 9001, BS EN ISO/IEC 17000, BS EN ISO/IEC 17021, BS EN ISO/IEC 17050, BS EN ISO/IEC 17065
ReplacesBS 8848:2007+A1:2009
Draft Superseded By13/30270871 DC
DescriptorsSafety measures, Contracts, Documents, Education, Consumer protection, Personal health, Courses, Information, Conformity, Management, Hazards, Risk assessment, Consumer-supplier relations, Fieldwork, Leisure, Teaching, Verification, Tourism
ISBN978 0 580 80546 2
File Size140 KB

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