Working alone is a bad idea. It's an open invitation to tragedy. The legal consequences can be equally serious.
Enforcing this rule means that there is always a second person available to provide immediate assistance in the event of an emergency. This second person should be knowledgeable about the work being performed and capable of rendering assistance if necessary.
Not only should working alone forbidden but no work should be allowed without prior knowledge of a staff member. Experimental procedures should be reviewed prior to their use. This practice helps to insure that significant hazards are identified before the experiments are performed.
The National Safety Council's (1121 Spring Lake Drive, Itasca, IL 60143-3201) Research and Development Section has published (June '87) a safety and health information sheet on "Off-Hours Laboratory Work."
This safety tip is courtesy of The Laboratory Safety Institute at www.labsafety.org and Lab Manager Magazine.
Dr. James A. Kaufman is the founder and president of The Laboratory Safety Institute (LSI) www.labsafety.org - an international, non-profit center for safety in science and science education. LSI provides workshops, seminars, onsite training programs, lab safety program development consultations, facilities inspections and regulatory compliance assistance. Contact LSI with all your lab safety questions: 800-647-1977 or email@example.com.