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Department of Engineering Health & Safety


General access to the Department is permitted from 07:30 until 23:00 Monday to Friday and 08:00 until 23:00 at the weekend, including public holidays but excluding Christmas Day, when all buildings are closed.

In order to be given out-of-hours access to Department buildings after 23:00, 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. 

  • 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.
  • 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. This must address arrangements to avoid lone working. A blank Risk Assessment form can be found here.
  • 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.

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 Department emergency procedures and local fire alarm call points and escape routes (including alternatives); and
  • first aid arrangements out of hours.

Core Opening Hours and Signing In Arrangements

The core opening hours of the Department are 08:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday.

Outside these core hours the health and safety networks in the Department’s buildings (e.g. fire officers and first aiders) are not operational and therefore the risks associated with 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.

Work within laboratories, workshops and plant rooms should be restricted to the core hours of 08:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday unless additional control measures have been put in place.

Extended Hours

If you choose to remain on site after 19:30 Monday to Friday, or are in the Department over the weekend, you need to register your presence by signing in via the local App / sign in books.

If you are already inside the building but intend to stay late, signing-in is still required.

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).

Background and Rationale

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.

Further Information

Detailed information on this issue is provided by the University of Cambridge Safety Office on these Working Out of Hours Guidance pages.


Safety Office Contact Details



Inglis Building

Trumpington Street

Cambridge CB2 1PZ


Gary Steele

Department Safety Officer

Tel: 01223 (3)32740


Steve Wickens

Department Safety Coordinator

Tel: 01223 (7)61455


Matt Greenhalgh

Department Fire Officer

Tel: 01223 (3)32765