Published: 16th August, 2020
Leicester UCU’s health and safety officers have drafted the following summary guide. We hope members and other University of Leicester employees will find it useful.
As we currently progress through the extended Leicester lockdown, the University leadership continues to plan for a phased return so employees can deliver ‘blended learning’ – what our institution has chosen to brand as ‘ignite’. Much of this teaching will be done online, with a reduced student presence on campus. The plan to carry out a phased return to lab-based research is also ongoing, although delayed due to the local lockdown.
To achieve a phased safe return to on-campus working, the full set of Health and Safety procedures needs to be completed. This involves the risk assessment of buildings earmarked for research and teaching use and the risk assessment of those staff who will need to be back on campus. Without these assessments, a return to work on campus cannot take place.
The whole idea of risk assessment is to identify risks and their magnitude and then define the steps necessary to reduce this risk to an acceptable level. This process can often be generic, but where a member of staff has an increased risk profile due to health or other factors, a personal risk assessment is appropriate.
More detail on the links for these risk assessments for your reference and use are given below, at the University’s COVID-19 resources site. These links have been active and accessible for a while, but many staff may have had difficulty accessing them as they were hidden amongst the many updates received from the Executive Board. (The Executive Board has itself acknowledged that this information is not always easy to locate.)
For those who have been requested to return to campus, if your building has yet to be risk-assessed you will not be able to return. The University’s Health and Safety group is currently risk-assessing the Estate. A list of buildings that have been assessed and signed off for safe return is available about half-way into the document. This is headed as ‘Building and Return to Work Risk Assessments’
Generic Personal Risk Assessment 1 – Building based
For staff who do not self-identify as clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable then the generic risk assessment will be applicable. The generic assessment in turn, depends on the location you work, your job role and your College or Professional Services Department.
On the above link, the workplaces for which managers combine your Generic Risk Assessment with Buildings risk assessment are given. You need to have read the Risk Assessment and completed the online Return to Campus training on Blackboard. On completing the training, you will sign a declaration confirming that you are aware of what steps you will need to take if you are returning.
Generic Personal Risk Assessment I1 – Role and Building based
For staff who work in particular areas such as in the College of Life Sciences or Security, a more specific Generic Personal Risk Assessment is provided within the Health and Safety site menu. This provides an extended set of mitigating actions for these roles.
Staff in this group may have differing levels of vulnerability or live with family who are also vulnerable. This is the link to the copy of the form that your line manager will use to perform a risk assessment if you are self-identifying as vulnerable or extremely vulnerable.
Currently those who are extremely vulnerable should still work from home. If your school/division/department is earmarked for return and they wish to return to campus, they can undertake the personal assessment and must be seen by Occupational Health before being allowed to return.
This needs to be accompanied by a referral form to Occupational Health supplied by the line manager.
The link for this is below. Note in both cases you will need to provide your line manager with potentially sensitive health information.
Occupational Health only require a brief overview of issues prior to them considering a review. The form MUST be seen by you, countersigned and a copy given to you, otherwise the request will be invalid.
The request form also needs to be discussed with HR and should therefore also require a Leicester UCU representative to be involved if you wish. For the foreseeable future, this involvement will be by video.
There is also a pdf on Employee Guidance for any referral to Occupational Health.
Leicester UCU is aware of cases in the past where line managers had not provided this information, so please ensure that you are provided with the full document set.
Mandatory Return-to-Work Training
For those who are likely to be returning to campus mandatory online training is required. This consists of online training within the UOL Health and Safety website at
Please be aware of college specific return to campus processes that have been established. For example, the College of Life Sciences has a Blackboard course that holds the risk assessments pertinent to the College along with COVID-19 safety guidance. These must be read, and a declaration submitted to this effect.
A simple questionnaire to identify DSE needs is provided. Once these basic requirements have been identified and documented you can then request office equipment directly from your line manager. Currently the process for sending this to your College or Professional Services department and manager is in development.
There is also a further direct route to obtain equipment via IT Services at:
You will need a departmental charge code and (presumably) line manager approval.
The current option of booking a time slot to pick up equipment has been on hold during the extended Leicester Lockdown. As Lockdown is being lifted you should be able to come back to collect items from your office.
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