Apparatus running overnight or in an empty lab can present a hazard to the building, and/ or staff.
Before setting up an experiment to run overnight or in a lab likely to remain empty for a long time, you must do a risk assessment: consider what might go wrong, take precautions to minimise the likelihood of this happening, and reduce the likelihood of damage if the apparatus does fail. For example, if using water to cool a gel apparatus, ensure that the sink cannot become blocked, that all tubing is correctly and firmly attached and cannot be forced loose by water pressure, and that if tubing does become detached water can drain into the sink rather than onto the floor.
If there is a fire hazard (this can be the case with any electrical apparatus), the apparatus should have adequate cooling, be run in a manner to prevent overheating and should not be used near flammable materials.
PLEASE NOTE: if the risk assessment indicates a hazard to anyone entering the room should anything go wrong (for example, release of toxic chemicals or vapours), then a warning notice must be placed on the door to the laboratory. Risk assessments should be filed in your green safety folder.