As the University utilises it's Business Continuity Plan (BCP), departments are advised to check their risk assessments and work plans to ensure they continue to control the risk of transmission. Some staff will continue to work on-site where their work or research cannot be undertaken remotely and COVID-secure facilities can be maintained.
Other staff will continue to work from home. It is hoped over the coming weeks that more staff will be able to return to on-site working for some or all of their contracted hours.
Return to onsite working conversations
HR have provided guidance on supporting staff with concerns about on-site working. This guidance sets out a process for a conversation, between the returning individual and an appropriate person, to understand any vulnerability or other factors that require consideration before agreeing an approach to achieve, as safe as possible, a return to work. It applies in instances where the department has decided that it needs a member of staff to return to on-site working for some or all of their contracted working hours.
Some staff may be comfortable returning to work and feel that a conversation in advance is not necessary. In such cases no conversation is required, however, every member of staff should be offered the opportunity to have a conversation to discuss any concerns they may have.
HR guidance on supporting staff with concerns about on-site working
The process for these conversations is set out in this flowchart
Self-assessment of vulnerability
A self-assessment of vulnerability tool has been produced by the University to help members of staff understand their level of risk if they contract COVID-19.
Note: The self-assessment tool does not measure the risk of contracting COVID-19
As the vaccine is being rolled out across the UK, it should be noted that being vaccinated should not be considered to alter the level of vulnerability that the tool assesses people to have. In the updated guidance on shielding for the clinically extremely vulnerable, the Government also advise that even for those who have had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, they should continue to follow shielding advice until further notice.
The tool is designed to give you and your manager as much information as possible to facilitate a safe return to the workplace where appropriate.
Complete the self-assessment of vulnerability tool
Referral to Occupational Health for further support
If, after completing this tool, you or your manager have any health-related concerns that you are not able to resolve, you are advised to contact Occupational Health for an initial telephone consultation with one of our specialist Occupational Health Advisors.
Occupational Health will review the self-assessment tool you have completed and discuss your concerns and the workplace controls with you. The aim is that we are able to support the departmental risk assessment you and your manager have discussed and reassure you of any concerns you may have.
If it is identified, however, that your medical concerns or workplace risks are more complicated, a more in-depth appointment may be necessary.
Note: Priority of service and self-referrals
Anyone can self-refer for a consultation with Occupational Health regardless of their risk level, although individuals are asked not to do so unless they have concerns about their risk level.
Priority will be given to those who have been assessed as being at a very high level of vulnerability using the self-assessment tool.
A referral must be made in the following instances either as a self-referral or by an appropriate person:
- An individual has conducted the self-assessment and believes that they are at a very high level of vulnerability (or in any case where they remain concerned)
- The appropriate person or manager believes the individual is at a very high level of vulnerability
Where an individual has a high level of vulnerability, it is recommended that they are referred for a consultation either by a self-referral or by an appropriate person.
Download the referral form
Occupational Health will offer an appointment date and time to your email address, captured on the referral form, within three working days of receipt of the referral.
Where possible, the consultation will take place within three working days of the receipt of the referral. It will have the following features:
- The Occupational Health Advisor (OHA) will use a standardised interview based around the ALAMA COVID-19 Vulnerability Self-Assessment to understand individual vulnerability.
- The self-assessment method draws from published sources and takes into consideration age, ethnicity, existing health conditions, or any other factors that might impact on disparities in risk. The suitability of the assessment method will be periodically reviewed by Occupational Health.
- The OHA will assess individual vulnerability in relation to the current ALAMA criteria and classify the person using an established risk scale as published by ALAMA.
- Oral feedback will be given to the individual at the consultation with a brief summary statement to follow (using a simple, standardised template) usually within two working days. Where the vulnerability level is very high and the employee is proposing returning to work, this statement must be shared with the appropriate person. In other cases, the individual will not normally be required to share this statement with the appropriate person, although they are encouraged to do so, so that they can best be supported in their retuen to on-site work (or other arrangements). In all cases, the appropriate person will be made aware of the individual's vulnerability level as assessed by the OHA.
- The OHA may choose to make an onward referral to the Occupational Health Physician (OHP) or other services.
Note: The consultation will focus on the vulnerability of the individual staff member
Occupational Health are not able to provide advice for staff with concerns about the risks to members of their household or others whom they wish to support
Please complete this referral form and send this to Occupational Health:
Email the Occupational Health mailbox