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

BS 8848:2007+A1:2009

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

Status : Superseded, Withdrawn   Published : April 2007 Replaced By : BS 8848:2014

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BS 8848:2007 + Amendment 1:2009
Specification for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities, outside the United Kingdom

FREE EVENT - BS 8848 is about to be updated. Attend our free event "Managing risk in overseas adventurous activities" on Tuesday 15 April 2014 to find out more about the revised standard.

Adventurous activities undertaken without the appropriate training or experience can be high-risk and dangerous, possibly resulting in injury, illness or death. It is essential for organizers to apply the principles of good management to ensure risks are managed.

What is BS 8848?

BS 8848 pulls together expertise and good practice into a new national standard for the safe More information and FAQsmanagement of overseas ventures. BS 8848 provides a specification for organizing and managing visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities, outside the United Kingdom.

BS 8848 covers the preparation and execution of adventurous activities abroad so that the level of risk included is reasonable and acceptable. It will prepare participants for the risks involved, and the actions and behaviour required to keep risks down to acceptable levels.

Who is BS 8848 for?

BS 8848 can be applied by any group or individual seeking to verify that ventures outside the UK organized, or provided by them, have safety management systems in place that are proportionate to the level of risk likely to be inherently or deliberately present in the venture and to the capabilities/life experience of the participants.

It applies to organizers of overseas activities including:

  • Adventure holidays 
  • University and academic fieldwork 
  • GAP-year activities 
  • Research expeditions 
  • Travel and tour operators 
  • Charity challenges.    

How can BS 8848 help you?

BS 8848 does not aim to make adventurous activities safe. Following it, however, should reduce the risks associated with peripheral aspects of core adventure, so that the riskiest elements are well managed for inexperienced participants.

BS 8848 can help minimize risk through:

  • Guidance on how to recognize a safe and well organized overseas venture   
  • Establishing best practice for organizers 
  • Helping a user recognize whether a venture is safe 
  • Preparing participants for the risks involved 
  • Aiming to reduce risk of injury and near misses 
  • Providing clear accountability and defined roles for everyone involved.

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. Potential participants and other stakeholders in a venture are likely to have greater confidence in those ventures assessed by an organization other than the venture provider.

Shane Winser of the newly expanded Centre for Geography Outdoors at the Royal Geographical Society believes: “For years the outdoor sector has been desperately calling for a standard that clearly outlines how to recognise a safe and well organized overseas venture - with more and more people relying on companies to take them overseas, the development of this new British Standard couldn’t be more timely.” - ‘Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)’ The Geographer (The Royal Geographical Society)

How has BS 8848 changed?

Amendments have been made regarding:

  • The responsibilities of the venture leader, leadership team and support team
  • Supervision of participants 
  • The responsibilities of a third party provider
  • The use of risk analysis and management systems.

In compiling this standard, recognition has been given to the existing documentation on good practice which has been used to inform and underpin the development of this standard.

“This standard, and the way it's been put together, not only enables a true line of accountability but also encourages people to undertake the training and detailed planning to give them the confidence to go out and see the world." - Paul Rose, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), BBC TV presenter, explorer, diver and mountaineer.

Adventurous activities and gap years - A parents’ guide to British Standard BS 8848 - Download the brochure for BS 8848

Safer Travel for British Abroad - read BSI's press release




BS 8848:2007 + A1:2009 supersedes BS 8848:2007, which is 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 8848:2007+A1:2009
TitleSpecification for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities, outside the United Kingdom
StatusSuperseded, Withdrawn
Publication Date30 April 2007
Withdrawn Date31 March 2014
Normative References(Required to achieve compliance to this standard)No other standards are normatively referenced
Informative References(Provided for Information)BS EN ISO/IEC 17000, BS EN ISO/IEC 17021,

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