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Return to Workplace - FAQs

13/07/2020:

Other Departments use same shift arrangement - why can't we?

After having experienced 2 weeks of the current 2-day on/off shift pattern, I know that it is not working for me and other people in my lab

-       From Monday, 13th July PIs will have the opportunity to introduce tailored shifts suitable for their own requirements whilst still adhering to maximum occupancy guidelines.

 

From the July 6th we are socialising in enclosed spaces such as restaurants, pubs and shops, with a 1 meter social-distancing rule, when we then come to work, it does make sense that we also observe the same rule in a lab.

-       The Department has a duty of care to all staff and students it is, therefore, where possible advising social distancing of 2-metres.  Where this is not possible, through research requirements, then other mitigating factors should be employed e.g. face coverings.   

 

 

06/07/2020:

All responses relate to complaints regarding the current 2-days on/2-days off shift system.

- A meeting of the Academic Staff Meeting will be held on Thursday, 9th July when this matter will be reviewed.

 

 

29/06/2020:

The current schedule of two-day shift, the 9am to 6pm working hours, and no possibility to access the lab on a Sunday, has proved to be impractical not just for me, but also for the colleagues in my lab on my shift, for either cell work or protein work. This current rota is actually the worst, as experiments cannot be completed with this time frame. We need to be more flexible to allow to carry out research in a productive way.

-       The “non-Sunday” working is a directive from the University so we are unable to do anything about that at the moment.  Regarding the shift working – this will be reviewed during July with the intention of introducing more flexible working in August.

 

I do also require access to the Department of Biochemistry for some work and I would appreciate if access could be granted any time soon.

-       Access to other departments is at the discretion of that Department and most departments do not allow external people into their buildings.  You would need to contact them direct to make individual arrangements if this were possible. 

 

Would it be possible to allow earlier start times for the current shifts (8 am)?

-       Not at the moment.  Cleaning staff need this time to clean the labs prior to people arriving.

 

Would like the department to provide filtered water stands. The drinking water tap in level 2 is very exposed and does not feel hygienic.

-           This is not possible..  All of the water taps are cleaned regularly throughout the day and you have access to cleaning materials so that you can clean before and after use. Otherwise it is recommended that you provide your own bottled water.

 

What product is being used to clean handle bars? I believe it is not ethanol based as the handle bars feels slimy and also unhygienic.

-           70% EtOH

 

Working shifts of 2 days prohibits me from doing most of my experiments. I heard other departments have introduced "flexible shifts" where a person of Shift A could "donate" their day to a person on Shift B, thus allowing a person to performs experiments which require 3 days. This still keeps an occupancy to 50%.

-           It is not possible to swop between shifts.  The intention is to keep people isolated within their shifts not primarily to reduce the staffing levels.

 

As the government reduces social distancing to 1m does that mean that the occupancy of the department will be increased?

-           Shift patterns will be reviewed during July.

 

 

Toilets: great work on sensor activating taps, can the sensor activating soap dispenser be installed in the hole of the sink where another tap used to be?

-           Unlikely to be possible but can be looked at.

 

Another note on toilets, it's nice to see hand lotions, but again, should they be in toilet where after applying it you end up touching the handle bar?

-       Best to wash hands thoroughly as soon as you leave the toilet cubicle and then use tissue to open the door.

 

I know fans are not allowed but are we allowed to use the air conditioning in the labs? It states in the return to work pack that the air conditioning has been adjusted to reduce the recycling of air. Does this mean we are allowed to use it or not?

-       Air conditioning should only be used where required by the on-going research. 

 

Does the University commit new recruitments (e.g. Research Assistant/Associate) or all are on hold?

-       There is a recruitment pause on some types of staff.

 

 

 

22/06/2020:

DURING THE TOWN HALL MEETING IT WAS SAID THAT THERE WOULD BE INFORMATION ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED IN OFFICE SPACES FOR A SMALL INCUBATION BREAK.

- All rooms have signs showing maximum occupancy, this also applies to incubation breaks

FANS WERE BEING USED. 

- It was made clear at the Town Hall meetings and in the Return to Work Pack that the use of fans is prohibited. Users should be asked to switch them off and reported to their line manager. Infractions are taken very seriously and could result in a ban from attending the laboratory.

WILL THERE BE ADAPTATIONS IN THE TOILETS e.g. lids? 

- All bins have been replaced with lidded bins.

CAN THERE BE HOOKS FITTED AT THE BOTTOM OF TOILET DOORS TO ENABLE THEM TO BE OPENED BY A FOOT? 

- We will look into the feasibility of this, in the meantime using a barrier such as tissue is recommended when operating door handles.


 

 

WHAT ARE THE RULES ABOUT WORKING ON SUNDAY?

- There will be no Sunday working.  This is not allowed by the University. 

 

USE OF SHARED EQUIPMENT ON DIFFERENT FLOORS OF THE BUILDING?  and

WILL THERE BE CONTROL OVER ACCESS TO THE CRYOSTORE?

- There will be a method of booking equipment usage using the Booker System.  Vital usage of equipment is acceptable but movement around the building should be minimised where possible.  Cleaning materials available to wipe down before and after usage.

 

WILL THERE BE A FACILITY TO MAKE A TIMETABLE ON BOOKER FOR SHARED EQUIPMENT AND SPACES?

- Contact Amparo Saez for permissions.

 

 WILL THE BOOKING SYSTEM COVER THE -80s FREEZERS ON THE GROUND FLOOR?

- No.  Just go down and look before entering.  If there is someone there then wait until they have left the room.

 

IS THERE A DATE FOR WHEN EQUIPMENT BOOKING WILL BECOME AVAILABLE?

- There are currently some issues but this is being dealt with at the moment.

 

WILL OTHER MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY BE ABLE TO USE OUR EQUIPMENT?

- Initially, No. Hopefully, this may be relaxed in the future but at the moment - no. 

 

WHAT ABOUT ACCESS TO OTHER DEPARTMENTS?

- Needs to be arranged with the other Departments.  If you need to go to another Department then minimise the number of times you need to do so.  It is all about reducing the contact with others.

 

ARE THERE GLOVES AND MASKS IN STORES NOW?

- Yes.  Face coverings will not be mandatory but there are surgical masks available if you choose to use them.  Masks will be available for First Aiders or where closer proximity working is required for research reasons.  Once you get in then order what you need for your research.

 

CLEANING STAFF WILL BE STARTING WORK EARLY TO ENSURE DEPARTMENT IS CLEAN:

- Research Staff should not come in before 9.00 a.m. and try to stagger arrival after this time if possible. 

 

WILL LABCOATS BE WASHED AFTER EVERY TWO-DAY SHIFT AND HOW DOES SHARING OF TISSUE CULTURE LABCOATS WORK?

- You should not share PPE.  It will not be possible to wash labcoats after every two-day shift.  Suggest that all PPE is kept in an individual plastic bag.  Labcoats will be washed on a weekly basis.  Spare labcoats in Teaching Lab but more can be purchased if necessary.

 

WHERE SHOULD PEOPLE EAT LUNCH?

- Hut has been adapted in line with social distancing: Maximum 6-people in large room and 3-people in small.  One-way system: in at the front door and out of the back.  If choosing to sit in an office to eat then social distancing must be maintained.

 

HOW WILL GLASSWASHING AND AUTOCLAVING ON LEVEL 1 BE MANAGED?

- Reserve time using the Booking System as there will be no glasswashing assistance at the moment.  Ideally do this on the first day of shift enabling you to collect before anyone else touches it. 

 

RETURN OF COMPUTING EQUIPMENT INTO THE BUILDING WILL NEED TO BE CHECKED BY IT:

- Where a desktop has been taken away from the Department, do not return and connect until they have been checked by IT.  Advised to keep desktop at home for the time being as all writing up should be done at home.

 

IS THE ADVICE TO ONLY WEAR ONE GLOVE WHEN WALKING AROUND THE DEPARTMENT THE SAME?

- Please do not walk around the Department wearing gloves.  The advice is to wash hands when entering or having left a lab.  Sanitizer is available but hand-washing is preferred.

 

HOW DO WE DEAL WITH OFFICE SPARE SHARED BETWEEN LABS?

- Office space should only be used when you have a short amount of time between experiments.  Minimise time and use the ethanol that will be available to wipe down before and after usage.

 

CAN WE GET OUR PERSONAL LAPTOPS CONNECTED TO THE NETWORK TO ALLOW PRINTING FROM LAB COMPUTERS?

- Yes, using Wi-Fi and Eduroam.  IT will circulate instructions. 

 

DELIVERIES - ARE YOU ADVISING THAT THESE SHOULD BE WIPED DOWN?

- Up to personal preferences.  Stores Staff will be advised to wear gloves when receiving deliveries but when people are collecting from Stores it will be up to each individual what they choose to do. 

 

IS THERE ETHANOL AVAILABLE IN THE STORES?

- Quickly available from BioPath Stores.  They can deliver next day.

 

DO YOU KNOW WHEN WE CAN START TO ORDER CONSUMABLES, ESPECIALLY FROM BIOPATH STORES?

- BioPath Stores are open to receive orders now.  They will deliver or, in an emergency, items can be collected.

 

WILL THERE BE CAR PARKING FACILITIES AVAILABLE?

- Parking on the Downing Site is available to everyone in the University and will continue to be so until the end-August.  If the car park becomes full then other parking sites will be made available.  Advise Julie Boucher if there is no room. 

 

ARE THE RETURN OF POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS NOW APPROVED?

- Colleges can be chased up. Any issues contact Julie Boucher.

 

IS IT SENSIBLE TO DEFER ORDERING LARGER ITEMS WHICH WILL REQUIRE ASSISTANCE?

- If possible yes, but it can be worked around if it is essential.

 

WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES BETWEEN MIXING OUTSIDE OF WORK?

- Hope to not mix but recognised that this is not always possible. 

 

WILL THERE BE SOMEWHERE TO FILL WATER BOTTLES?

- Yes.  Usual re-filling stations will still be available and will be regularly cleaned. 

 

WHO SHOULD COME TO THE BUILDING?

- Only come in if it is absolutely essential for you to do laboratory work.

 

HOW DO YOU SIGN IN?

- You need to sign in to say you are in the building.  There is a QR Code at the entrance of the building and you will need to sign-out as you leave.  This can be done remotely as long as you have a CRSID. 

 

HOW CAN YOU ENSURE YOU DO NOT EXCEED MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY IN THE TOILETS?

- Only one person so if you walk in and there is someone there then come out and wait for the other person to leave.

 

If SOMEONE FROM SHIFT A SHOWS SYMPTOMS WOULD EVERYONE ON SHIFT A HAVE TO STOP WORK?

- Everyone in your lab should self-isolate for 14-days but, due to the isolation procedures in place, it should not be necessary for others from a different lab to have to isolate unless there has been contact.  There are guidelines but the most important aspect is that sick person should leave the site and get tested.  Please let us know so that extra cleaning of that area can be carried out. 

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY EXPERIMENTS RUN OVER BY SEVERAL HOURS AND CANNOT BE FINISHED BEFORE 6pm ON SHORT NOTICE, SO THERE IS NO TIME TO COMPELTE THE RISK ASSESSMENT?

- Call security (01223 33 18 18) and inform them you have been unavoidably delayed in the Department, when the experiment has finished call them and inform them that you are leaving.

 

THE RISK OF GETTING COVID-19: WHERE AND HOW TO SPEND THE INCUBATION TIME DURING EXPERIMENTS?

- If you are waiting for an experiment to complete - this can be spent in an office - maintaining social distancing.  Once research is completed you should leave the Department building.  Only those people engaged in active experiments, or assistant staff who have recognised tasks to complete, should be in the labs. 

 

RECRUITMENT - WILL THE UNIVERSITY BE CARRYING OUT RECRUITMENT OF RESEARCH ASSISTANT/ASSOCIATE STAFF OR ARE THEY ALL ON HOLD?

- All new recruitment must be authorised by the School of Biological Sciences before it can go ahead.  New starters are likely to be delayed for the foreseeable future.

 

WHAT EXTRA TRAINING/GUIDANCE WILL BE GIVEN TO FIRST AIDERS?

- Please see Safety Office website https://www.safety.admin.cam.ac.uk/subjects/first-aid

There is a supply of FFP2 masks in the First Aid Room for use by the First Aider and patient.

 

WHAT DO WE DO IF SOMEONE NEEDS TO GO TO A&E?

- Arrange a taxi (account code will be provided) and accompany them if necessary.  

 

WHAT IS THE ADVICE FOR EXPERIMENTS THAT REQUIRE LONGER INCLUBATION/WAITING TIMES, WILL THE OFFICES BE AVAILABLE AND WILL THERE BE A LIMIT ON HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED INSIDE?

- Offices will be available for use whilst waiting for experiments but maximum occupancy (displayed on the door) must not be exceeded.  Plan around other people and only come into the lab if absolutely essential.

 

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE 2-metre RULE IS REDUCED?

- We will have to adapt to the new rules.  This may increase the occupancy of labs and offices but the rule should continue to be that people must work from home if they can do so.  Offices should only be used for short periods of time between experiments.

 

WHAT ARE THE RULES ON LIFT USAGE?

- The lift is currently out of action because of building works taking place in the Reception Area.  If a large piece of equipment needs to be moved then contact Barney Leeke.

 

DO COMMUNAL DRINKING WATER TAPS CONSTITUTE A "TOUCH POINT"?

- The cleaning staff, Ian and Templey, will sanitize before each shift but other staff will touch during each shift.  Suggest that the tap is sprayed with ethanol before anf after use, the same is suggested for all equipment.