Guidelines for Access to Research Facilities (for all Researchers)
- All areas where research is being carried out /research facilities require Covid-19 Response Plan (CRP) Documentation.
- Prior approval is required for all researchers to gain access to research facilities.
- For Access during national Covid-19 Level 5 Restrictions, in addition to CRP Documentation researchers (PIs) must complete a Justification for Continuation of Essential Research during Level 5 Restrictions 2021 form (see Research Continuity Further Guidelines and Templates) to obtain prior approval.
- All CRP Documentation must be approved/signed by Head of School/RICU, or where delegated by the Head of Department/equivalent. In some instances, additional approval must be obtained from the Head of College (i.e. visitors-researchers from abroad, students from other HEIs, see RBCT Research Continuity Approval & Reporting Processes).
- During national Covid-19 Level 5 Restrictions further/additional approval may be required from Head of College for access for desk-based research. This additional approval is at the discretion of the Head of College (see Research Continuity Approval & Reporting Processes) and the Implementation of Principles of Access for Desk-Based Research & Write Up Areas, accessed at Research Continuity Further Guidelines and Templates).
Drafting a New or Updating Covid-19 Response Plan (CRP) Documentation for Access to UCC Research Facilities
In drafting a new, or updating an existing, CRP consult with the CBCT Returning to Campus on the following:
- Resumption of Activities Procedure
- A template for a Unit Covid-19 Response Plan to facilitate you to draft a new or update an existing CRP.
- Lead Worker Representatives
- Covid-19 Infection Control Measures
- Covid-19 Risk Assessment Guide & Risk Assessment Template
- Preparing for and dealing with a suspected case of Covid 19
- Third Party Access - subcontractors & maintenance staff
- Covid-19 Induction Training
- Return to Work Form
- Building Plans
- UCC Covid-19 Tracker and Day Pass APP
- Resumption of Activities Checklist
- Recording Daily Access to Facilities
- Facility Occupancy Log
- Travel to Work/Study Letter
- Travel to Work Letter - 3rd Party
For research purposes, in addition to the CBCT Resumption of Activities Procedure, the following guidelines and templates are to be included to draft a new/update an existing CRP as necessary:
Content of the Template Covid-19 Response Plan-Access to UCC Research Facilities (accessed at Research Continuity Further Guidelines and Templates) must be referred to in drafting the CRP, which includes the following:
- name/location of your research facility
- The revision number of the CRP (ie Revision 1/2/3 etc.)
- The author/s of the CRP Document
- 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 Research Continuity Approval & Reporting Processes)
- A Signed Statement of Assurance from the Head of School/RICU and (if required – see Research Continuity Approval & Reporting Processes) a Letter of Assurance from the Head of School/RICU to the Head of College (a general template for a Letter of Assurance from Head School/RICU to the Head of College, accessed at Research Continuity Further Guidelines and Templates.
- A Policy Statement
- Details of Covid-19 Response Team and Persons of Responsibility
- Details of Lead Workers
CRPs for Access to Research Facilities must take note of the following:
- Covid-19 Infection Control Measures
- 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.
- 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.
- Face Masks
- 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.
- During national Covid-19 Level 5 Restrictions face masks must be worn by all researchers/personnel throughout the research facility.
- Breaks and Eating
- Detail in accordance with the CBCT template for a Unit Covid-19 Response Plan.
- During national Level 5 Restrictions, communal eating or any congregation in communal areas is not permitted.
- If applicable, the CRP for Access to Research Facilities should include the following:
- Visiting Researchers: For visiting researchers CRPs should take into account the necessary protocols and procedures for visitors requiring access to the research facility and insurance considerations). Protocols for visiting researchers include:
- Research Students from other HEIs
- Visiting Researchers from abroad which should take into consideration the Travel Guidelines for Research-Related Activities (accessed at Research Continuity Further Guidelines and Templates and facilitating access to the UCC Covid-19 Tracker and Day Pass APP.
- Desk-based Research: Where access to research facilities is required for desk-based research, CRPs must include a section relating to the protocols and procedures relating to this activity. Details should refer to the Implementation of Principles of Access for Desk-Based Research & Write Up Areas. A template Protocol for Desk-Based Research and Write-up Areas should be incorporated into your CRP as/if necessary, as outlined in the Template Covid-19 Response Plan-Access to UCC Research Facilities. The relevant guidelines and templates can be accessed at Research Continuity Further Guidelines and Templates.
- Research Continuity Approval & Reporting Processes)
- Resumption of Activities Procedure guidelines (Campus Business Continuity Team (CBCT)) and the CBCT template for a Unit Response Plan
- Additional Research Continuity Links: Guidelines and Templates.