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Argonne National Laboratory

Severe Weather or Closure

Safety is a top priority at Argonne

Occasionally, laboratory operations will be affected by weather or other factors.

For example, after a heavy overnight snowfall, Argonne may delay the start of regular business hours to 10 a.m. to allow roads, parking lots and sidewalks to be fully cleared and treated. The decision to delay or suspend regular business operations at the laboratory will be based on conditions on the Argonne site. You can assume that laboratory operations are normal unless otherwise stated.

Notifications

Employees and facility users will be notified of a delayed start or suspension of regular business hours by text alert, phone call and email as early as possible. You must enter your contact information in Workday to have those emergency operational status updates sent directly to you. In addition, you can check:

Working Remotely

Depending on job duties and directives from line management, some employees may be required to telecommute or use vacation time in connection with a delay or suspension of laboratory operations. Check with your supervisor, preferably in advance.

Non-essential employees who do not feel that they can safely drive to the laboratory because of weather or road conditions should contact their supervisors to request a telecommute day or vacation time.

If you have been explicitly designated as essential by your line management or if your assigned shift starts or ends outside the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., you should report to work as usual.

Winter Weather FAQs

Below are some of the questions that have been asked in recent years and their answers. Comments and additional questions are welcome. Send them to safety@​anl.​gov.

Q. How does the laboratory decide to delay the start of business operations or suspend laboratory operations due to weather concerns?
A. FAC-Grounds keeps laboratory management informed about road conditions and whether their personnel can keep the site’s roads, parking lots and sidewalks cleared of snow and ice. (Off-site conditions aren’t usually factored in, since those conditions can vary widely over just a few miles.) FAC-Grounds and laboratory management are also in contact with the National Weather Service and DuPage County Emergency Management. If conditions worsen to where laboratory management deems the site unsafe for travel, they will consult with the Argonne Site Office and recommend a course of action.

Q. How will Argonne site occupants be notified?
A. Any changes to Argonne’s operational status will be sent to employees and other site occupants via text, email and phone messages (make sure your contact information is up to date in the Workday system). Changes will also be posted to the Argonne Info-Line (630-252-INFO) and on the laboratory’s website. If severe winter weather strikes overnight, these communications channels will be updated by approximately 6 a.m. or as early as possible, and as often as necessary thereafter. Those who live far from the laboratory may elect to delay their commutes until after the status updates; check with your supervisor if that situation is likely to occur.

Q. If the lab decides to delay the start of business operations or suspend laboratory operations that day, but I am running an experiment, can I still come in and do my work?
A. If the laboratory has suspended operations for the day, or will delay operations until later in the day, site occupants are highly discouraged from coming to the site. Travel will be hazardous both on site and off site. Keeping cars out of the parking lots helps FAC-Grounds clear them more efficiently. Cars may get stuck or go off the road due to snow and ice, endangering the driver and emergency responders alike. Personnel explicitly deemed essential by their line management should report for their assigned shifts.

Q. What about telecommuting or working from home?
A. Employees should never compromise their safety to try to get in to work. Non-essential employees should use their judgment to determine if they can make it safely to the laboratory and contact their supervisors for leave time or the authorization to work from home if they believe that they should not drive. Ideally, this conversation should be held well in advance of any anticipated weather event. LMS PROC-108: Telecommuting, available through Inside Argonne, addresses ad hoc work-at-home arrangements that may be applicable in connection with severe weather events. LMS PROC-108 includes details related to situations when employees may request telecommuting when the laboratory is open but there is a severe weather event and also situations where employees may be required to telecommute (or use vacation time) in connection with a suspension of laboratory operations. The appropriateness of telecommuting in connection with a severe weather event, like telecommuting arrangements in general, is highly dependent on the job duties of each employee and whether those job duties may be effectively performed away from the laboratory. 

Q. What will be the situation at the Advanced Photon Source?
A. The APS control room will be staffed. They are planning on having enough people on site to keep it staffed, even through shift rotations. The plan is to provide beam through the weather event. However, if there are problems requiring on-call personnel to come in, that may not be possible. Individual beamlines may or may not be staffed, although the intent is to do all that can be done while ensuring the safety of the people involved.

Q. What will be the situation at the ATLAS facility?
A. The ATLAS control room will be staffed and beam delivery to the scheduled experiment will continue. The plan is to provide beam through the weather event. However, if there are problems having on-call personnel come in, that may not be possible. In this case, the accelerator and its equipment will be secured until access to the laboratory becomes possible. The intent is to do all that can be done while ensuring the safety of the people involved.