Institute initiates its return to work plan

Institute initiates its return to work plan

Key points:

  • Since lockdown, the Institute has been implementing its coronavirus response plan. All phases of this plan are focused on protecting the wellbeing of staff.
  • This week, the Institute moved into a new phase of its response plan, allowing a limited increase in the number of research staff allowed to return to work. Operations during this new phase are informed by comprehensive risk assessments and control measures.
  • The previous phase allowed COVID-19-related work, the completion of essential work and maintenance of essential support and services only.
  • The Institute’s Nursery has also reopened more widely to children, after providing childcare for the children of key workers only since 23rd March.
  • This Institute continues to monitor government advice closely and will respond appropriately.

 

5 June 2020

This week, the Institute moved into a new phase of its coronavirus response plan, allowing a restricted return to work for some staff as a first step of ramping up its research activities. The Institute is committed to providing a safe place of work, achieved through COVID-19 Secure risk assessments, social distancing and good hygiene practices. Phase 4 will be made up of sub-phases in order to allow appropriate responses to the UK's move out of lockdown before the Institute returns to normal operations.

In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Institute continues to follow government guidance to minimise social contact and its plan includes making provision for longer term disruptions. As an employer, the Institute has a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety. This means we need to think about the risks our staff and associates face from COVID-19 and do everything practicable to minimise them, whilst recognising that we cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID 19. The Institute displays the COVID-19 Secure certificate in accordance with government requirements.

We have conducted a thorough COVID-19 Secure Risk Assessment, using the government's lab-specific guidance to inform our decisions and control measures. This has allowed us to put in place appropriate arrangements to allow Institute staff and associates, as well as customers and suppliers (where applicable), to return to work safely in a phased manner.

The Institute has considered and put in place control measures for the following key risks:

  • The transmission of SARS-COV-2 on site by person-to-person transmission or contact with fomites (objects that can carry infection between people).
  • The impact of the pandemic and working conditions on the mental and physical wellbeing of staff.
  • The impact of the pandemic and working conditions on equality and diversity.
  • The maintenance of buildings and facilities on site during the pandemic.
  • Information security breaches due to new working conditions and an increase in fraud / scams during the pandemic.
  • The financial impact of the pandemic.

Individual departments within the Institute are maintaining their own risk assessment underneath the Institute's overarching COVID-19 Secure Risk Assessment and guidance on control measures. Department risk assessments have been conducted by nominated Health and Safety coordinators in conjunction with the departments and groups they support.

The Institute continues to comply with its existing obligations under Health and Safety, Employment and Equality law.

The previous phase of the Institute’s response focused on completing and undertaking essential work, including new COVID-19-related research, plus required maintenance of core support and services. This phase was completed successfully thanks to the collaborative working of many different teams across the Institute, including but not limited to: researchers performing critical experiments, technical services staff, members of the Institute’s core scientific services, the technicians and staff of the Institute’s animal facility, who ensured animal welfare was unaffected, the Institute’s operational teams and the Institute’s Nursery staff who provided childcare support to key workers.

This information will continue to be updated as the Institute follows its business continuity planning.

 

Additional/related resources:

News: The Babraham Institute's contribution to the COVID-19 response. 6 May 2020
News: Institute's response to the coronavirus pandemic. 19 March 2020