What managers have done to make campus safe
In accordance with Government guidance, the University has developed an overall COVID-19 ‘return to work’ risk assessment that takes a holistic view of the risks and preventative measures (modifications to the University infrastructure, buildings and working practices) and the employee-related risks and suggested controls: Covid-Secure Work and Study Risk Assessment (log-in required). In addition to this, two separate risk assessments have been developed to address specific aspects of the University operations: Face-to-Face Teaching Risk Assessment (log-in required) and Touch-Down Space Risk Assessment (log-in required).
Managers from each area returning to work have been assisted in modifying these assessments to reflect the specific circumstances of their areas to ensure that anyone asked to return to work is protected (in line with local rules where applicable).
The University’s assessments around risk takes into account Government guidance on clinical vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable as well as other risk factors including age, ethnicity, and body mass index.
Line managers – managing the transitional arrangements
It is likely, for the time being, our teams may be spread across numerous locations including working from both campus and home. Some colleagues need to stay at home due to their individual circumstances while others may be on furlough.
All our managers should respond to this with flexibility, patience and understanding. Some of us will need more management and support than others through this period and some will be anxious about returning to work.
All staff, irrespective of where they are working, need regular contact. Please be mindful that any of the scenarios described above can be stressful and we must all be aware of the variety of requirements our colleagues have.
Equality in the Workplace in applying the guidance outlined in this document, we need to be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers to ensure we do not discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex or disability. We therefore need to take into account their particular circumstances in our risk assessments.
This might include making reasonable adjustments for disabled workers and assessing the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers amongst other measures.
Shift and team working
As far as possible, where staff are spilt into teams or shift groups, we must consider fixing the team members and not interchanging them. This is to ensure that, if contact is unavoidable, it occurs between the same team members.
Open plan/communal offices
Some staff may work in areas, or conduct activities, which make social distancing guidelines difficult to implement under normal practice. This should be in exceptional circumstances only. The following measures must be considered:
- Staff should work side-by-side, or facing away from each other, rather than face-to-face.
- Where face-to-face contact is essential, this should be kept to an absolute minimum – 5 minutes or less wherever possible.
- As much as possible, keep teams of workers together, and keep teams as small as possible.
- Where maintaining the recommended 2m separation during passing is not possible, the addition of a screen between desks and the removal of seats will allow for social distancing to be observed.
Labs and workshops
Where Colleges have created local management plans, these will have specific detail of control measures necessary. These will take precedence over this generic advice. Where local management plans do not exist, the basic principles include:
In all laboratories and/or workshops, the maximum occupancy of the room is set at no more than 25% of the normal maximum occupancy. Work should be carried out in shifts, to allow the maximum number of workers to access a space, whilst maintaining a minimum number of persons working at any given time.
In laboratory and workshop environments, floors will be marked at 2m intervals to ensure persons are maintaining adequate distance from one another. Where bay systems are in place, there should be no more than one person per half bay (maximum 2 persons per full bay). Where multiple points of access and egress to the laboratory or workshop are present, a one-way system should be implemented. Where possible, wide (greater than 2m) footways in bay- system laboratories or workshops should be marked into two ‘lanes’ to allow for movement in both directions, with persons always keeping to the left. Where this is not possible, a communication approach should be maintained between all persons in a workspace, so movement of one individual can occur in either direction whilst other persons remain within the bays and maintain the 2m minimum distancing.
All workers in bay-system laboratories or workshops should work at least 2m from any primary footways, and work facing away from the central reservation of a bay where possible to minimise any face-to-face contact between persons. Other measures such as the provision of PPE (e.g. face shields) should be specified by the risk assessment that is completed and approved before any work begins.