Policies, Procedures & Guidance

Suspicious Packages

Advice to managers and staff on possible chemical or biological agents received by post

In the current climate of tension, both at home and overseas, we have decided to issue specific guidance to managers and staff regarding potential postal incidents. We do not wish to unnecessarily alarm staff. So far in the UK all incidents involving such agents have been found to be false alarms and hoaxes.

However, it is important that any decisions to open any suspect mail are made on the basis of access to good information.

There are three underlying principles:

  • Firstly, the safety and wellbeing of staff is the paramount concern.
  • Secondly, staff should be well informed but not unduly alarmed.
  • Thirdly, if there is any suspect item it should be isolated in an appropriate way until it can be safely examined.

This is consistent with equivalent guidance already issued to staff who might be involved in overseas travel.

Although terrorist or criminal incidents of this nature are extremely rare, there may still be concern that there has been exposure to risk. In order to reassure its employees, the University will make available occupational health screening for its employees where there has been any form of suspect exposure to chemical or biological agents.   

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