Guidelines for Access to Research Facilities & Buildings

General Guidelines

  • Applies to all researchers/research personnel and visitors accessing Research Facilities on campus.
  • See Latest Updates for Research Continuity for current institutional measures in place.
  • Also, see information on the the Campus Business Continuity Team sharepoint Local-Unit-FAQs
  • Covid-19 Response Plans are living documents and must be updated in accordance with the Campus Business Continuity Team (CBCT) Guidelines for updating Covid-19 Response Plan Documents-Buildings; Covid-19 Response Plans, Resumption of Activities Checklist, Occupancy Logs and Risk Assessments must be updated to reflect current institutional and national guidance.
  • Prior approval is required for all researchers to gain access to research facilities; all areas where research is being carried out /research facilities require (updated) Covid-19 Response Plan documentation, which must be forwarded to the relevant Head of Unit for approval, in accordance with Research Continuity Approval & Reporting Processes.
    • For all documentation that has been approved  previously, this approval still remains, however the documentation should be updated as/if necessary for Head of Unit review and approval.
  • The Covid-19 Response Plan documentation, includes:
    • Risk Assessments;
    • Lists of research personnel requiring access (Occupancy Logs).
    • Where further approval is required from the Head of College, the Head of School/RICU Director must forward a Letter of Assurance to the relevant Head of College.
  • Occupancy figures must continue to be recorded and submitted to the Research Business Continuity Team (RBCT) Coordinator, Irene Kavanagh ( ) on a weekly basis. These figures will continue to be forwarded to the University Management Team by the RBCT on a regular and ongoing basis.
  • Access for Desk-based research/write-up spaces/office work activities are permitted with appropriate measures in place. See  Desk-based research, write-up areas, office spaces regarding social distancing, ventilation and face-mask requirements. 
  • Lab-space occupancy - refer to  for current guidance at Latest Updates for Research Continuity.
  • Face-to-face meetings, conferences etc., see Guidance on meetings, events, conferences etc.

Updating Covid-19 Response Plans

Updating Covid-19 Response Plan (or drafting new) documentation for Access to UCC Research Facilities

Covid-19 Response Plan: Guidance on Content - Coversheet/Introduction

See the Template Covid-19 Response Plan-Access to Research Facilities, available at Templates and Resources for Research Continuity.

  • Include the name/location of your research facility
  • The revision number of the Covid-19 Response Plan (ie Revision 1/2/3 etc.)
  • The author/s of the Covid-19 Response Plan 
  • Details of Covid-19 Response Team and Persons of Responsibility
  • Details of Lead Worker Representatives
  • The name, signature of the authorised approving person - Head of School/RICU, or where delegated the Head of Department/equivalent, and in some cases the Head of College, as outlined in the Research Continuity Approval & Reporting Processes.
  • Contents (list contents of the Covid-19 Response Plan, and associated documentation).
  • Resumption of Activities Checklist
  • A Signed Statement of Assurance from the Head of Unit
    • A Letter of Assurance from the Head of School/RICU to the Head of College should be included in the documentation if necessary, see . A general template for a Letter of Assurance from Head School/RICU to the Head of College can be accessed at Templates and Resources for Research Continuity
  • A Policy Statement (see, National/Institutional Policies & Guidance).

COVID-19 Risk Assessment - should be updated and included as part of your Covid-19 Response Plan documentation. 

Covid-19 Response Plan: Guidance on Content - Main Body

See the Template Covid-19 Response Plan-Access to Research Facilities, available at Templates and Resources for Research Continuity.

The main body of the Covid-19 Response Plan should include the following details, which should be updated to reflect changes in institutional/national policy, see  and institutional guidance from the Emergency Management Team-Teaching Delivery, Research, and On-Campus Activity

  • Covid-19 Infection Control Measures
    • Infection Control Measures, including provision of PPE, hand sanitisation and hand washing facilities, cleaning materials.
    • Cleaning: Both professional and regular/daily sufficient sanitisation by research personnel of touch points, shared facilities, bench/desk areas.

    • Regular cleaning is the responsibility of all researchers/personnel to clean commonly used surfaces (touch points) and shared equipment.
    • Research facilities should be cleaned by professional cleaners on a daily basis.
    • Commonly used surfaces, shared equipment are to be visibly clean and cleaned regularly with products containing 70% ethanol, except in areas in and around Bunsen Burners.
    • Virkon should not be used as it is an irritant.
    • Shared equipment should be cleaned with 70% ethanol before and after each use.
  • Social distancing requirements
    • In detailing social distancing measures, the implementation of a rota system for certain areas should be detailed so that the required social distancing is met.
  • Face mask requirements
    • See HSE Guidelines on Face Masks
    • Face Visors are not acceptable substitutes for Face Masks, but some research protocols may require the use of face visors in addition to masks.
    • Researchers must wear face masks in communal areas and where circulating the building.
  • Preparing for and dealing with a suspected case of Covid 19
    • Detail accordingly, including managing and supporting individuals to exit the building, or if the person cannot leave the building straight away, detaile the measures in place to escort the person to/from the isolation room.
    • Location of isolation room/s, access/egress routes (building/isolation room).
    • Reporting procedures.
  • Breaks and Eating
  • Managing congregational areas
    • Congregating in eating areas and commonly use areas such as foyers, corridors etc. must be avoided. 
    • Management of commonly used areas and facilities: toilets, corridors foyers, photocopiers, locker area, eating facilities etc. must be outlined.
  •   see details below on this page.
  • Meetings
  • Third Party Access - subcontractors & maintenance staff - detail accordingly   
  • Management of -see details below on this page.
  •  - see details below on this page
  • Recording Daily Access to Facilities
    • Details of management of occupancy logs and rotas as necessary
    • Maintain and up-to-date record of all researchers who have permission to access the research facilities.
  • Additional health & safety arrangements – waste management, managing dangerous occurrences onsite.
  • Car Park Arrangements


  • Details of adequate signage and information throughout the research facility
  • Detailed map of the building illustrating clearly floor plans, including location of the isolation room/s and entrance/egress routes throughout
  • An up-to-date list of approved researchers/personnel who have/require access must be maintained.
  • Any other relevant additional Appendices (as outlined in CBCT Resumption of Activities Procedure, and the CBCT Unit Covid-19 Response Plan).

Desk-based research, write-up areas, office spaces

Covid-19 Response Plans should include a section relating to desk-based research/office work, as necessary.

Face masks and desk-based research:

The current Campus Business Continuity Team guidelines are that that face masks must be worn where 2m social distancing cannot be maintained.

Face masks are optional for office workers where a minimum of 2 metre distance can be maintained, provided there is a sufficient level of ventilation in the area. Individuals may of course wear a face mask in these circumstances if they wish.

In detailing this section, include the following considerations (applying as necessary):

  • Capacity & Space
  • Clearly outline the cross-infection protocols in place for desk-based research activities.
  • Provide detail as to who will be occupying/assigned the desks/rooms and that a rota in place to ensure required social distancing 
  • Detail room occupancy – this can be tabulated under: Room ID, Type of room; size, Covid-19 occupancy limit, name of people accessing room, social distancing & person responsible for schedule/rota.
  • Management of Access, booking systems and rosters etc.

Visiting Researchers

Management of visiting researchers (and protocols) should outline the following, as necessary: 

  • Visiting researchers include:
    • Research Students from other HEIs
    • Visiting Researchers form other institutions/organisations/industry
    • Visiting Researchers from abroad
  • These protocols should detail who is the UCC personnel responsible for ensuring that visitors are made aware of and adhere to Covid-19 protocols and measures in place.
  • Visiting Researchers, should be appropriately insured, and provide evidence of Covid-19 Induction Training from their respective institutions/organisations. 
  • Visitors should be facilitated to complete a Return to Work Form
  • International Visitors:


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