What are the ‘normal business hours’ at your facility? Do people tend to come in later in the morning and stay later into the evening, or are people early birds and arrive just after the sun rises? Do experiments or other lab tasks require individuals to work on the weekends?
If there are people working after hours at your facility, an after hours policy should be developed and implemented to address the site specific requirements. Holding discussions about the work that is conducted after hours will likely lead to new safety considerations. It is important to discuss the tasks that should not be conducted after hours or while working alone after hours. Include specific restrictions on work, such as not allowing the use of radioactive materials after hours, in the policy. A system to know who is on site after hours should be part of the policy. If a building evacuation were to occur or an incident happens after hours, it is critical to know which employees are present at the time. Some facilities require all employees working after hours to sign in and out, some facilities use access badges to track who is on site, and others make working alone devices readily available. A combination of all three of these may be appropriate for your facility depending on the extent of the work being conducted beyond normal business hours. Requiring individuals to sign in and out also makes them aware of the other employees on site at the same time.
This would be a good topic to add to the agenda for your next safety committee meeting. Be sure to involve all groups at your facility to fully understand the scope of the work conducted after hours. Remember that this policy should address office staff as well as lab employees.