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Working Hours Policy and Procedure

Working Hours Policy and Procedure at the Cavendish Laboratory

1.           Policy for premises access

1.1.  It is the policy of the Department of Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory (‘the Laboratory’) to provide members of the Department and our authorized collaborators with as much open access to research and teaching facilities as is compatible with the requirements of safety, security and health.

1.2.  Procedures are in place to safeguard all users of the Laboratory, and maintain site security. Permitted activities (as defined in this document) must therefore be carried out as outlined below.

1.3.  Access to the Laboratory during CLOSED hours is a privilege granted after appropriate training and evidence of competence is achieved.  It may be suspended if the Head of Department (HoD), Departmental Safety Officer (DSO), Laboratory Superintendent (LS) or Principal Investigators (PIs) consider any person to be acting inappropriately, or putting themselves and others at risk.

1.4.  By entering the department during CLOSED hours you are accepting this policy and undertaking to comply with the associated procedures.

2.           Application of this policy

2.1.  This policy applies to all permanent, contract and temporary staff (including the HoD, faculty members and other PIs), graduate students, and officially registered laboratory visitors and collaborators, and people leasing space (e.g. at the Maxwell Centre). It applies to all Department of Physics premises, including the Maxwell Centre and Battcock Centre, but excludes the Lord’s Bridge premises due to different management arrangements at that site.

2.2.  There are separate policies for day and long term visitors to the Laboratory and children (who are not normally permitted in the buildings during CLOSED hours). Undergraduate student teaching/supervision hours may vary from this policy and will require the presence of at least one member of staff and a qualified first-aider at all times in the immediate area.

2.3.  Anyone found to be in the buildings without authorization (e.g. unauthorized visitors, members of other University departments, members of the public) will be asked to leave and may be removed by Security or others.

2.4.  Exceptions to this policy (e.g. for out of hours events such as the University Science Festival, or unusual buildings maintenance that is highly disruptive), must be arranged with either the Facilities Manager or Laboratory Superintendent, and agreed by the Departmental Safety Officer.

3.     Working hours

3.1.  Staff and students are encouraged to work during open hours as far as possible.

3.2.  OPEN HOURS at the Laboratory are Monday to Friday from 0730 to 1900.  The external doors are unlocked at 0730 on working weekdays, and locked again at 1800.

3.3.  Any hours outside of these open hours are defined as CLOSED HOURS. Closed hours include public Bank Holidays and the annual ‘Christmas Closure’ from 1700 on 24th December to 0800 on the day after the New Year bank holiday (usually 2nd January).

3.4.  CORE HOURS (within OPEN hours) are defined as the hours between 0830 and 1645 Monday to Friday, which include normal working hours for most staff, and are the times when Reception is open and First Aiders are present, to co-ordinate and respond to emergency and first aid calls.

4.     Work permitted during CORE Hours

4.1.  HIGH RISK work must ONLY be carried out during CORE hours, with a ‘buddy’.  This category includes any activities which could result in an incident requiring immediate first aid or other urgent assistance, such as use of hydrofluoric acid or Piranha solution. High risk work must be carried out with a buddy at any time – see buddy requirements in section 5.2 below.

4.2.  High risk work may exceptionally be done out of CORE hours, but in addition to normal procedures requires that a qualified first-aider supports the activity, and is present in the relevant room or building.

4.3.  Activities that require the presence of assistant or other support staff should only be carried out during core hours, unless exceptional arrangements have been agreed with their management.

5.     Work permitted during CLOSED hours

5.1.  MEDIUM or LOW RISK work may be carried out during CLOSED hours, providing it has previously been agreed with the relevant PI or manager, or the registered graduate supervisor in the case of research students. It is the responsibility of the PI, manager or graduate supervisor to ensure a suitable risk assessment is in place, and precautions are taken to minimize/control risks adequately.

5.2.  MEDIUM risk activities may only be carried out with a ‘buddy’, who is at all times within hearing range and preferably within sight of the person doing the work.  The buddy must be willing and able to administer or obtain help if there is need (for example, following an accident).  Examples of medium risk work can include topping up cryostats or working with certain high risk open beam lasers.

5.3.  LOW risk work, such as work in offices, or experimental work that is comparable to office work (such as working on experimental data) is permitted and does not require a buddy.

6.     Requirements for working during CLOSED hours

6.1.  Applications for access cards to be activated for use during CLOSED hours are submitted by  Administrators to the Laboratory Superintendent, after being authorized by the relevant PI, manager, or the registered graduate supervisor (in the case of research students).

6.2.  The Laboratory Superintendent can grant CLOSED hours access for the length of tenure (LOT) or card expiry date (for permanent staff members). After this period, cards will be automatically deactivated, unless re-authorized. Access can also be withdrawn if deemed unnecessary by management. The building management system records all card access through building entry points, the logs of which are available to the Laboratory Superintendent.

6.3.  Anyone working during CLOSED hours must have received a Departmental induction briefing, or passed an online induction session (once available), within the last 2 years.

6.4.  Anyone in the Laboratory during CLOSED hours must use the Out of Hours Register, accessed at  or via the consoles in various buildings (see photo). Everyone is personally responsible for signing in and out of the building. The Out of Hours system does not store records of time spent in the building and is not a means for tracking attendance. You can use your card to sign in (yellow box) and out (purple box), although manual sign in is also possible. Instructions are on the console.

6.5.  You may not allow entry to anyone other than yourself. This includes holding the door open for other members of the Lab.

6.6.  The Security and Safety teams regularly tour the buildings.  They may ask anyone who is not signed in, to leave the premises, and may report their details to the Head of Department, Departmental Safety Officer, and Laboratory Superintendent for further action. Action may include suspension of ‘out of hours’ access privileges.

6.7. Please ensure that Cavendish Human Resources team is always provided with your most up to date emergency contact and next of kin details. It is also advisable for you to ensure someone knows where you are, and who to contact (on what number) should they have any concerns about your welfare.

7.     Additional Requirements During Christmas Closure

7.1.  Due to the extended duration of the Christmas closure, there are additional risks involved in being in the laboratory.  Everyone who plans to work during this period is encouraged to make alternative arrangements where possible (e.g. for office work).

7.2 Notification: The DSO needs to be notified of any planned work and should be notified using this University Google Suite Form OR this PDF (Word version is here) by the date stated on the form.  If you have difficulties accessing the University Google Suite Form, have a look at the information about Google Suite here

7.3 Risk Assessment: Anyone carrying out lab/practical work during the closure dates must complete a risk assessment specifically covering the work they are doing,  given the additional risks of reduced personnel and house facilities.   The assessor (usually the person doing the work) must ensure that risk assessments are appropriate and they have a buddy arranged in advance to  allow for the reduced number of researchers in the laboratory.  As usual, risk assessments for laboratory work need to be countersigned by an appropriate person, the ‘assessment approver’, who will normally be the individual’s line manager or registered graduate supervisor. The approver must check that the risk assessment allows for the reduced number of staff, lack of emergency facilities, and need for buddy  when approving the risk assessment.

Risk assessment for office work is addressed by the notification forms.

7.4 Unplanned work (e.g. attending a breakdown) must be risk assessed at the time it occurs. The DSO must be notified as soon as possible via the above form, IF it is expected that the person needs to continue to attend for more than a day, or repeatedly.

7.5 Security Team: Based on the notifications, the DSO will submit a schedule of expected attendees with expected times of attendance, to the Security Office, so that those patrolling the site over the Christmas Closure period are aware.  Card access to the buildings will be monitored. 


Everyone who works out of normal hours must sign in to the Out of Hours system.

Failure to do so may result in the withdrawal of access privileges.

The online signing-in system is at