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Access to the department

Access to the Department (other than Reception and the East End foyer) is via an Electronic Access Control System called Mifare and requires the use of your University Photo ID Card. This card also unlocks the gates to the cycle compound.

Admission is reserved for registered and authorised personnel who hold a programmed University Photo ID Card. If you are followed through a Mifare controlled door, please check that the person following you is allowed through. If they are genuine, they will have their University Card with them.

The main entrance doors to the building are locked at night and at weekends. The doors are unlocked between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday, and between 8am and 1pm on Saturdays during term-time only. Access to the Department can be gained by authorised card-holders between 6pm and midnight Monday to Friday and between 8am and midnight at weekends via the West End front door. Outside normal working hours entry to the Department is via Reception only.

Entry to offices and research laboratories may be either by key, number pad or card reader. 

It is compulsory that all persons must sign in and out via the screen in the West End foyer when they enter/leave the laboratory after 19:00hrs on Monday to Friday, and at weekends. Persons already in the building at the commencement of these periods must also sign in. Please note that during term time, signing in is required after 13.00hrs on Saturdays. 

The Department is closed to staff between Christmas Day and New Years Day and on Good Friday to Easter Monday

Keys and cards must not be transferred from one person to another.

Lost or stolen cards should be reported immediately to Emma Graham, HR Administrator and Head of Reception to be deactivated.

For access to areas other than those programmed on your card, contact Reception. 

Alcohol and smoking policy

Alcohol policy

The Health & Safety at Work Act states that employers must safeguard, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of those people who work for them. 

No individual should work in the Department having consumed more than two units of alcohol. If this limit is exceeded, for example at lunchtime, personnel must not return to work, and must take the rest of the working day off as part of their holiday entitlement.

Departmental parties, e.g. the Christmas party, retirement parties etc. must be held after 4pm and there must be no consumption of alcohol in laboratories under any circumstances. Anybody who has consumed more than two units of alcohol at a Departmental or private party in the Department, must leave the premises and must not return to the laboratories that day. Small celebration parties and receptions can take place at any time with the approval of the Head of Department, provided that no individual drinks more than two units of alcohol.

Smoking policy

This is a no-smoking site. Smoking is only permitted on the corner of the car park closest to the Lensfield Road/ Panton Street junction. Ask Reception for directions.

Data Protection and personal data

The University's Data Protection pages sets out rules for processing personal information, and it applies to paper records as well as those held on computer. The GDPR gives individuals certain rights, and also imposes obligations on those who record and use personal information to be open about how information is used and to follow six data protection principles. Personal data must be processed so that data are:

  • processed fairly and lawfully and only if there is a valid ‘legal basis’ for doing so
  • processed only for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes
  • adequate, relevant and limited
  • accurate (and rectified if inaccurate)
  • not kept for longer than necessary
  • processed securely – to preserve the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the personal data

In the course of inputting personal details on to the department database, and whenever a Mifare controlled door is activated, certain information is recorded. This information will be used only for safety and security reasons unless the Department is required to make a disclosure on legal grounds.

Personal Data

The University holds personal data on members of staff. The data collected is necessary for compliance with employment law and the administration of an individual’s employment contract. It is used for a full range of staff administration including: to establish an employee’s training and development requirements; to assess an individual’s qualifications and suitability, including state of health, for a particular job or task; to gather further evidence where there is a prima facie case for disciplinary action; to administer the payroll and pension scheme; to establish a contact point in the case of an emergency (e.g. next of kin).

The information is also used, in aggregate and anonymised form, to monitor staff posts to check that no discrimination is taking place, and to enable the University to take active steps to bring about fair treatment for all.

Departmental Safety Information

The Departmental Safety Information provides detailed information on departmental policies and arrangements on Health and Safety, including the following:

  • Requirements for all individuals of the Department’s safety rules and procedures - section 2.9
  • Risk assessments – section 5.1
  • If your work requires you to wear protective clothing such as boots, lab coats, safety glasses etc, it will be provided by the Department – section 6.1.
  • Use of laboratory facilities outside normal working hours – section 10.1.6
  • Lone working – section 8.7
  • Children and unauthorised persons – sections 10.2.4 and 10.2.5 

Remember, visitors must be accompanied at all times, and unless work related, you must not receive visitors at work or bring anyone into the Department at any time.


Although many environmental concerns are global, there is much that can be done locally to contribute to a more sustainable future. The University of Cambridge is committed to that goal. The Environment and Energy Section provides information on environmental aspects of the University's operations. 

The University Green Impact environmental accreditation scheme encourages departments and colleges to reduce their environmental impact. The Department has achieved the Green Impact Silver Award having designed ways to reduce for its members to reduce their carbon footprint.

Personal possessions and collections

Personal possessions

The Department will not accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, personal property on the premises. Personal property is not covered by the University's insurance policy. If you lose, or find, any personal articles please notify Reception


If you wish to carry out collections, for example for a charity, you must obtain prior approval from Marita Walsh, Head of Operations and Estates.

Safe working practices

We believe that adequate provision for health and safety is essential to working life in the Department and the University is legally obliged to provide a safe place for you to work. We therefore aim to ensure that everyone working in, or visiting the Department, is fully aware of their responsibility for safe working practices, and of the rules and procedures which are relevant to their role.

Each new member of staff will receive a Health and Safety induction as soon as practicably possible. The Safety Handbook can be found online and downloaded.

A dispensing optician also attends on-site to meet staff and students who require prescription safety spectacles. Please let Reception know if you have a requirement. 

Sale of personal property and personal requirements

The following departmental rules apply to staff and students:

  • The department address or any telephone numbers may not be used in advertisements for the sale of personal property or for personal requirements.
  • Email/social media may not be used to advertise private sales or to lobby for election to University or College committees.
  • The sale of goods on departmental premises is not permitted. Exceptions may be made for charity fund-raising with prior permission.

Security and avoidance of theft

If you see anything of a suspicious nature or you have any questions about general aspects of security, whether relating to buildings or equipment, please contact Reception on 36300. 

Emergency information is available on the Safety pages.

For help in an emergency during office hours 36454 can be dialled from the department's grey "Cisco" phones, not from mobile phones. Please call 101 (out of office hours).

Call 999 (112 from mobiles) for emergency services.

Although the department is occupied 24 hours a day it is still vulnerable to petty theft.

It is the responsibility of everyone in the Department to reduce to a minimum the likelihood of theft, and to reduce to a minimum the loss should a break-in occur. You should check that all doors and windows are locked securely whenever rooms are unoccupied, and especially outside normal working hours.

Please ensure you secure all personal belongings whilst you are in or around the Department at all times, especially bags, wallets and purses. You are encouraged to keep valuables out of sight whenever possible. Avoid hanging coats and jackets, or leaving handbags and cases, near to doors. Personal property is not covered by University insurance.

Also, remember to secure your car or bicycle when left in the car park or cycle parking.

Report any vehicle being damaged or anyone acting in a suspicious way to Reception or the Security staff immediately.



Health and wellbeing falls under Health and Safety legislation and is taken seriously in the Department.  

Stress at work - The University of Cambridge is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for its staff and recognises the importance of fostering psychological as well as physical wellbeing.

This commitment arises from the University's duty of care to all of its staff, and more generally the recognition that a safe and healthy working environment contributes to the motivation, job satisfaction, performance, and creativity of all staff. 

Specifically, the University is committed to the promotion of health, to the prevention of work-related stress and to the provision of support to any member of staff who may suffer stress. This means identifying those jobs that can place individuals at risk, and making sure there are measures in place to control or mitigate any risks identified. Managers are responsible for ensuring that this happens within their own work areas.

Managing stress does present a challenge to all those concerned, and this can be difficult to tackle when there is an impact on the stressed person and those around them, seriously affecting quality of working lives, and effectiveness in the workplace. It is therefore important for a manager to take prompt action in order to prevent, minimise and manage stress.

The University has published advice for staff and managers on how to tackle stress at work.

To discuss this issue, please speak with your line manager or contact your local administrators below. You may then be referred on to the School’s HR Consultant or to Occupational Health. 

For support contact Kathleen Pickett, HR Administration Coordinator or Marita Walsh, Head of Operations and Estates. 

University Wellbeing Strategy – The University wellbeing strategy’s goal is to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of University staff and to prevent work associated ill health for the overall benefit of staff and the organisation. This encompasses the physical, mental and social health of employees and recognises that employees’ values, personal development and work within the University contribute to their overall wellbeing at work.

The Department’s WellChem website and noticeboard provides details of departmental and University wide wellbeing events as well as contact details for your departmental wellbeing advocates. 

University Staff Counselling Service - a separate and dedicated University Staff Counselling Service is available for all University employees. To make an appointment, you will need to complete and submit a ‘Pre-counselling form’ online. 

Occupational Health Centre – its mission statement is 'to prevent ill health and promote health amongst University staff '. Staff are available 8.30am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday, by appointment, for confidential advice and consultation on all matters relating to work activities. The Service does not provide emergency treatment; you should contact the Department’s First Aiders for this. The Service works closely with the Safety Office.

The University Wellbeing pages contain information on both internal and external sources of support for its staff.