Lone Working......

Discussion in 'Science Technicians - General Discussion' started by NTG, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. NTG


    We are in process of reviewing the schools' H&S policy and I just saw this in the lone Working bit

    Potentially dangerous activities, such as those where there is a risk of falling from height, will not be undertaken when working alone. If there are any doubts about the task to be performed then the task will be postponed until other staff members are available.

    There is also a Lone Working RA that I'm going to read but...…..

    As a lone technician......how the heck am I supposed to do my job if you follow this to the letter ???
    BioBee and Beth like this.
  2. Start calling a member of SLT, as they're usually not teaching, to come and watch you when you have to use the ladder, decant conc. acids, work with the radioactive sources
    You never know, you might not be a lone worker after too long ;)

    Cute answers aside I usually call down to reception, let them know I'm about to do something potentially dangerous and if I've not called back in [INSERT REASONABLE TIME FRAME] minutes to send someone to check I'm ok

    That was added to our lone working policy at my insistence when I complained I wouldn't be able to do out of term jobs at all if they didn't (there are 3 of us but only I have out of term days contracted)
    BioBee likes this.
  3. Its something I struggle with a lot!

    My biggest problem is my 10 days in the holidays, if there is no trained chemist in the building I can't do anything with the chemicals and thats really when I want to be doing my stock takes etc.
    Shannon likes this.
  4. NTG


    Just found the schools' Lone Working risk assessment and mitigating factors...…..but the whole lot applies solely to the 'premises/facilities' staff...….

    Going to be interesting following this one up !
  5. Dod


    Verrryy interrressting
  6. The main problem is the holidays - it shouldn't be too much of an issue in term-time really; you can wait to do any ladder climbing/acid diluting/fire-related work/anything else hazardous until there is someone in an adjacent or neighbouring room, and then just let them know when you start the activity and again when you finish the task. A complete pain in the proverbial backside, yes - for both you and the neighbouring victim of your attentions - but should satisfy the safety requirements....

    As for the holidays - either as @CovTech says, or the tasks have to wait until other folk are about (in term-time most likely.... :rolleyes:)
  7. NTG


    OK - so far HOD is a bit panicky at the lone working and we are to meet with Director of Bean-Counting at 'some point soonish...'. Got the "....well there is usually a teacher in one of the two next-door classes so can you not aske them to check in on you....." For sure, but there is no way they could hear me call over the din of this school with the doors shut - which they have to be, preferably locked when handling dangerous stuff, to stop pupils coming in (has been known plenty of times as a cut-through when they are running out of class !!)

    Also pointed out that if I signed and returned the form saying I understood the School H&S policy and agreed to comply with it, then when I do not and something goes wrong then I have no doubt the document would be rolled out to firmly blame me for everything...……

    This will prove quite interesting for me and, I hope, others in a similar situation.
    Julie Delaney likes this.
  8. I would have to see a health & safety policy to know what I need to comply with :rolleyes:
    Emily Ellis and Julie Delaney like this.
  9. When I was a loan tech:
    Most duties are not too much of a risk when alone as long as someone checks on you occasionally during the day (break/lunch/end of day).
    Working at height - I took that to mean going up a ladder. Something I didn't really need to do.
    Diluting from Conc Acids - I would go and get someone from IT support/Admin so they could raise the alarm if needed. (A teacher would do at a pinch but I'd rather have someone with a bit of common sense!)

    Holiday work - I always checked in with the Admin staff when I arrived and left. They were meant to check I was ok before they went home.
  10. You should also refer to DL223 - Customisable Model Health and Safety Policy for Science Departments section 6 and GL025 - Model risk assessments for laboratory technician activities section 11
  11. Surprising the things that can happen during the hols. I was in a couple of years ago, not chemical handling, just tidying up. Tripped, fell & cut hand open quite badly. Blood was pouring out. Was found by some electricians who happened to be looking around, laying on floor, arm in the air, clutching bandage to hand.
    Daft accident, but just goes to show how easily things can happen.
    Also, I always seem to be posting about accidents!! I am not a complete klutz, these things have happened over period odd 19 years!:p
    KeithD likes this.
  12. The ground staff here have walkie talkies specifically for when they are lone working - goes through to front office or to whoever you want
  13. There is an answer, but it wouldn't be popular and I don't really recommend it..... ;) if the bean-counter-in-chief is awkward about things, then a phone call to them to come and stand next to you and watch every time you need to do something involving chemicals or ladders or glassware - or anything except being sat at your desk writing or typing, really..... that would soon wear very thin after 6 calls by 9:30am on the first day....! :p
    Sharon Elsdon and Julie Delaney like this.
  14. NTG


    I re-wrote the whole Dept H&S policy back last Feb and incorporated DL223 and GL025 into it. Only took an up-coming H&S audit in October for HOD to even start to look at the policy the day before the audit, despite having it since February.....but what's 6-8 months with H&S stuff....surely nothing could go wrong could it ??!!
    KeithD and Julie Delaney like this.
  15. Dod


    "Never had that happen before " is not an excuse for unsafe practices to continue but it is difficult for some to grasp that fact, especially if it means a change or even worse if it involves money being spent.
    BioBee and KeithD like this.
  16. This is very interesting especially given the large number of lone techs that there are.
    Julie Delaney likes this.
  17. We are a group of Technicians (but lone Technicians) on several Campuses. We never do anything dangerous when other staff are not about. This is only common sense. The Prep Room door is locked when concentrated acids are diluted. we must always consider our personal safety.:);)
    Julie Delaney likes this.
  18. Shannon

    Shannon Shannon COMMITTEE

    I find this too, I have been told to text the site manager and HOD when I am in and when I am leaving too and I save all my cleaning jobs and bit sorting out and I do the chemical stock when it gets quieter near the end of the school year, as this was discussed with my HOD too.