Guidance Notes for Maintenance Work at the Failand Observatory

1.     Introduction

The Bristol Astronomical Society relies on volunteers from the membership to maintain the observatory building, grounds and equipment located at Failand near Bristol.  These notes form a guide to ensure work undertaken by volunteers is conducted in a safe and organised manner.

2.     Arriving on site

All members must sign the visitors log book located in the observatory dome.

Members should find the observatory director or working group party leader and discuss the task to be undertaken.

3.     Minimum Working party size

For safety reasons, there must be at least 2 club members on site when maintenance work is undertaken and the working group party leader must bring a mobile phone for emergency calls.

The Observatory Director may visit site on their own for periodic checks and minor tasks.

4.     Task allocation

The observatory director or a working party leader appointed by the observatory directory will allocate maintenance tasks to member volunteers.  This person will provide instructions on what is to be done and discuss with volunteers the best method of working to minimise the risk of injury.  When working outside the observatory near the dome care must be taken to avoid the projecting steelwork of the shutter runners.  The dome should be rotated so the shutters are away from the working location of the volunteer(s).

5.     Personal protection

Volunteers must provide their own personal protection equipment suitable for the work being undertaken.  As a minimum, volunteers are expected to bring gloves and wear stout shoes or boots.  Eye protection and a face mask may be needed for some tasks.  A hard hat isn’t generally required unless working under the floor.

6.     Using tools

Volunteers may be requested to bring their own tools required for the task.  It is the responsibly of the owner of the tool to ensure it is in safe working order especially electrical equipment.  If a tool is used by a member other than its owner, then the owner should provide instructions to the user on how to operate the tool correctly.

7.     Grass cutting and ground maintenance

Grass cutting during summer months is usually required once a fortnight.  The society has a mower, strimmer and extension cables for use by volunteers.  Stout shoes are a must and safety glasses must be worn when operating the strimmer.  The mower is an electrical device and care must be taken not to mow over the cable.  This is best done by mowing in strips moving in a direction away from the observatory and towards the entrance gate. The extension lead should be plugged into the trip device which is plugged into a 13 amp socket inside the observatory.

8.     Mains electricity

Only qualified electricians are permitted to work on the mains circuits inside the dome.  Changing light bulbs and plug fuses is permitted.

9.     Accidents and injuries

For minor accidents, a first aid kit is kept in the white cupboard in the observatory dome.  Dial 999 for Major accidents.  The society chairman must be notified of any major accidents.

Please note members work at their own risk.

10. Closing the site

The working party leader should ensure all members have left site.  The lights and all power sockets in the observatory must be turned off and the door locked.

Unless there are vehicles associated with PAWS parked in the lane, the main gate at the main road must be closed and locked with the combination lock.

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