II. Laboratory Working Alone and After Hours Policies

rev 9/2016

These policies apply to laboratory work in Clapp Laboratories, Carr Laboratories, Cleveland Hall, Kendade Hall, Reese Building and Shattuck Hall. Departments or individual faculty members may establish more restrictive policies for spaces under their control.

Laboratory Working Hours Defined

Working in laboratories from 9 pm to 7 am is defined as working "after hours". Working in laboratories at all other times is defined as working "during regular hours". Working between midnight and 7 am requires special authorization by the faculty member.

Policies for Students Enrolled in Course Laboratory Sections

Students enrolled in course laboratory sections are not allowed to perform laboratory procedures alone or after hours under any circumstances. When working in the laboratory during regular building hours, they must be accompanied by a qualified person - - a member of the Mount Holyoke College community who is familiar with emergency procedures and who must be aware that s/he is serving in the "buddy" capacity. Properly accompanied students can work in a course laboratory outside of the regular laboratory periods but during regular hours only with the permission of the instructor, who is responsible for ensuring that the students receive sufficient instruction to work safely under the contemplated circumstances.

Policies for Student Independent Research Work in the Laboratory

A student may use laboratory facilities for independent research only after the faculty member in charge has reviewed the experimental procedure and any associated hazards, and has determined that the student possesses adequate training in proper experimental and emergency procedures. Students are responsible for performing all their work in accordance with those procedures. They must report all accidents, chemical spills, and unsafe conditions to the supervising faculty member. Certain laboratory operations require that a faculty member be present (e.g., use of pyrophoric material) or that another person be present regardless of the time of day. The faculty member will determine what operations require these or other special precautions and inform the students. Students working with chemicals must also satisfactorily complete chemical safety training provided by the Office of Environmental Health & Safety.

Students must have written permission from the supervising faculty member prior to working after hours in a laboratory. See the “Permission to Work Independently” form in Appendix II-A. The permission form must be completed and on file in each student’s department or program office and a copy of the completed form must be posted in the laboratory. If the after hours work involves the use of chemicals, the permission form must also indicate that chemical safety training has been successfully completed. The Office of Environmental Health & Safety provides certification of successful training completion at the time of training.

Students working in research laboratories after hours must be accompanied by a qualified person in the laboratory, or within speaking distance.

Public Safety and Service will require a student to leave the building after hours if the student is working alone or if the student does not have a completed "Permission to Work Independently" form in the laboratory. Independent work students who are conducting laboratory procedures during regular building hours are encouraged to work with a qualified person nearby.

Student laboratory work between midnight and 7am should only be authorized when the experimental procedure requires that work be done during that time frame. This permission must be noted in the "Hours access is allowed" section of the "Permission to Work Independently" form. Students must be accompanied by a qualified person.

Faculty/Staff in the Laboratories

There are no restrictions on the use of laboratories by faculty, research associates, technicians, or technical staff. They are expected to avoid working alone whenever possible and to use good judgment about performing hazardous procedures when working alone. This in no way implies that other safety requirements are waived; on the contrary, the use of good judgment implies expert knowledge of safe procedures and practices.


A: Permission to Work Independently Form