Policy on after hours access by research personnel to research laboratories


The University of Ottawa makes available lab facilities on its campus to its faculty, staff and students for instructional and research activities.  Access to research labs is given to those who are trusted to make responsible use of the lab and its resources.  Generally, University buildings are vacated and locked at the end of normal working, study or teaching hours. While it is encouraged that research be conducted in the labs during the regular business hours of the University (June-August : 8:45 am to 4 pm and 8:45 am to 5 pm during rest of the year), it is recognized that certain research activities may require access to the labs outside regular business hours, on weekends and holidays.

The purpose of this Policy is to set out the responsibilities of faculty, staff, students and any other user authorized to be in the lab after hours or when the University building is closed. It must also be read in conjunction with other University policies related to security, health and safety, and environmental management, including Policy 33 “Security Policy”, Policy 35 “Key Control”, Policy 72 “Environmental Management and Sustainability” and Policy 77 “Occupational Health and Safety” and other guidelines, manuals, permits, directives or instructions from the following authorities:

  • University
  • Office of Risk Management
  • Health, Safety and Risk Management
  • Regulatory bodies


For the purposes of this Policy,

  1. After hours normally refers to those hours outside of 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., any other hours set by the University as being its regular business hours, those hours after the building is locked, holidays and weekends.
  2. Professor refers to the member of the academic staff of the University who is responsible for the Research, holds the authority over the conduct of the Research and the Research Personnel and includes the principal investigator and supervisor.
  3. Research means activities undertaken by the Principal Investigator, Professor or Research Personnel for purposes of scholarly inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge or to study a particular question regardless of the source or status of funding.
  4. Research Personnel includes all persons directly or indirectly engaged or involved in Research and includes, but is not limited to, Professors, visiting scientists, undergraduate students, graduate students, visiting students, research associates, postdoctoral fellows, research fellows, University support staff and technicians.

Permission to obtain access after hours

Professors, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, research fellows, visiting scientists, support staff and technicians whose performance of duties require access to the lab may have access to the labs at all times for the purpose of conducting Research.  In instances where other Research Personnel requires access to the labs after hours, the individual must discuss the experimental procedure with the Professor and obtain his or her written permission for access during a given period.

Working Alone

Careful and adequate supervision is in the best interest of the Research Personnel, the University and the academic community. Research Personnel must be mindful of the inherent risks, dangers, hazards in undertaking Research in a lab and that those risks, dangers and hazards may lead to injury or property damage.  Working alone in the lab, especially after hours, is strongly discouraged.  Research personnel must carefully assess whether working alone in the lab is prudent under the circumstances.  If working alone in the lab, especially after hours, is unavoidable, Research personnel must follow safe work procedures, including those procedures outlined in the Laboratory Procedures and Safety Manual.

If working in the lab after hours, Research Personnel are encouraged to carry their University of Ottawa identification card and to call Protection Services at extension 5499 and identify themselves, the lab, the location and the approximate duration of their stay in the lab.  This is for information purposes only so that, should there be a problem in the building in which the lab is located, Protection Services will know who may be present after hours.

Research personnel

Research Personnel must complete and sign all forms or other documentation required by the Faculty or the University in order to obtain keys or security access cards.  Examples of these forms include the Orientation for Laboratory Personnel form, Keys form and are attached to this Policy.

Unauthorized users

Research personnel who are permitted to conduct research in the lab after hours may not permit any other person to obtain access to the lab after hours.  Research personnel shall not lend their key or security access card to other persons and must take steps to ensure that no other person uses their key or security access card to access the University’s premises.  Family, friends, guests, visitors or any other unauthorized individual are prohibited from obtaining access to the lab after hours. 

Access may be prohibited

The Faculty or the University may prohibit access to the lab to those who fail to abide by any health and safety Regulations, this Policy or any other University policy, regulation, guideline, practice, direction or instruction.

Further information

Questions or requests for further information on the application or interpretation of this policy may be directed to the Health, Safety and Risk Manager.

Orientation for laboratory personnel

Contact info

Health, Safety and Risk Manager
Alexander Daniels
Telephone: 613-562-5800 ext. 6425
STEM Complex, room 314

Health, Safety and Risk Assistant
Lucien Nadeau
Telephone: 613-562-5800 ext. 4580
STEM Complex, room 328

Manager, Faculty Infrastructures
Sean Kirkwood
Telephone: 613-562-5800, ext. 6030
STEM Complex, room 347

Facility Coordinator
David Needham
Telephone: 613-562-5800, ext. 6020
CAREG, room 516

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