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Out of Hours Access

From 23 April 2018 the Department is putting in place new arrangements for out-of-hours access to buildings on the Trumpington Street site, including measures to avoid lone working

It is intended to roll out these arrangements across the Department in the future and colleagues at West Cambridge should look out for further notices concerning their buildings.


In order for the Department to fulfil its general duties under the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and specific duties of the Management of Health Safety at Work Regulations, it is required to provide a safe environment, safe equipment and safe systems of work for its employees and those working on its premises.

These requirements are applicable to all work situations and in particular where staff and students work outside of normal working hours or at any other time when the Department is officially closed. In some cases, they will also apply to visitors or contractors.

For the Trumpington Street site, the following can be considered normal working hours:

Please note that you will be asked to sign in if you choose to remain on site after 19:30 in order to comply with the Lone Working arrangements. Signing-in books are located in Baker Reception, the James Dyson Building lobby and inside the Inglis entrance to the courtyard.

Public holidays would generally have the same restrictions as weekends, with the exception of Christmas Day, when all buildings are closed.

Outside normal working hours the health and safety networks in the Department’s buildings (e.g. fire officers and first aiders) will not be operational and therefore the risks of working within Department buildings are higher. The main risks associated with working out of hours are fire, accidental injury, medical emergency, student behaviour and threats from intruders.

Control of Out-of-Hours Working

No-one may work alone outside of normal working hours.

In order to be given out-of-hours access to a Department building a Request for Out of Hours Access must be submitted providing the justification, a risk assessment and the authorisation of the Head of Department, Head of Division or those formally deputising for them. The form must also detail the measures in place to avoid lone working. 

A copy of the form is available here.

Justification could include meeting an important deadline (not self-imposed or due to poor work management), optimal use of hard-to-access facilities and equipment (if not available during normal working hours), long-running experiments and essential maintenance operations.

A Risk Assessment must be completed prior to out-of-hours access being granted. Work that may be considered ‘safe’ during normal working hours may require additional control measures or be prohibited outside of normal working hours.

Authorisation will apply to named individuals and be for the minimum length of time necessary to complete the task. The maximum term will be one year and will not be extended without review.

Every person who is working within the Department out of hours must register their presence via the relevant signing in book. The details noted should be:

  • date;
  • name of person;
  • room number(s);
  • signing-in time;
  • anticipated departure time; and
  • signing-out time.

Every person who is working within the Department out-of-hours must register their presence in one of the signing-in books located in Baker Reception, the James Dyson Building lobby and inside the Inglis entrance to the courtyard. If you are already inside the building but intend to stay late, signing-in is still required.

Responsible persons

Only those deemed as responsible persons should be authorised to work out-of-hours and / or act as the second accompanying person for such work.

A responsible person is defined as one of:

  • a member of the academic or academic-related staff;
  • an approved and experienced member of the technical (or other if appropriate) staff; or
  • an experienced postgraduate student approved by supervisor and authoriser.
  • Responsible persons must be familiar with:
  • the English language (to assess and understand the risks involved and to call emergency services if needed);
  • the locations of telephones for use in an emergency (may not have mobile phone coverage);
  • the Departmental emergency procedure and local fire alarm call points and escape routes (including alternatives); and
  • first aid arrangements out of hours.

Undergraduate students

Undergraduate students are not expected to be within Departmental buildings between 23:00 and 07:00 except in exceptional circumstances, for a specific purpose and after careful risk assessment.

Dependent upon the numbers and the risk involved, undergraduate students may work in the Department out-of-hours if they are supervised by one or more responsible persons (see above).

Further Information

Detailed guidance on this issue is provided by the University of Cambridge Safety Office