Working alone is an unsafe practice at any time. However, if the nature of your work makes it unavoidable, take measures to ensure that others are aware of your location and have someone check in with you from time to time, either in person or by telephone.
Before conducting any work alone in a laboratory go through this checklist to determine if it is appropriate to proceed:
- Is your supervisor aware of your plans?
- Are there any hazardous experiments involved?
- High temperature
- High vacuum
- Extremely flammable materials (low flash point)
- Poisonous materials
- Scaling up i.e., higher quantities
- Have you reviewed your procedure with your supervisor?
- Do you have a written operating procedure?
- Are your apparatus and equipment in good working condition?
- Are you trained to carry out the work?
- Do you have a check-in/check-out procedure?
- Do you have an emergency contingency?
- Do you have access to a telephone (rather than a cell) in case of an emergency?
- Does your door have a viewing window or other means of indicating someone is inside?
- Are you aware of the emergency evacuations procedure?
- Do you have access to a first aid kit?
- Do you have access to a spill kits