Instruments & Operations



MGIO has dedicated University of Arizona Police Department personnel who will act as the first point of contact outside of the building in case of any emergencies that may occur at the summit.  Their contact number is 520-621-8273 and they are available by MGIO radio as well by paging any Star Unit.  Safford has a medical center with healthcare professionals and emergency equipment.  However, in the event of an emergency or injury requiring transport down the mountain, the telescope’s remote location means that no guaranteed time can be given as to when one would reach a hospital or clinic.  Be aware that the information contained in the section entitled “Road Warnings” is a guide for travel times under normal circumstances.

The LBT is continuously improving its facilities.  While safety is paramount at LBT you may encounter potentially hazardous situations.  The following, while not an exhaustive list, are examples of some of the hazards that you should be conscious of while at the observatory.  Please understand and respect the risks involved while working in this environment.

  1. Know how to use the phone/page/intercom system to call for assistance.  If you are unfamiliar with this system please ask an LBT staff member for assistance.

  2. The Telescope Operator on duty has full responsibility for the safety of personnel and equipment while observing.  They have final say in all decisions regarding your safety and the safety of all of the instrumentation and observatory equipment during the night.

  3. Flashlights are recommended at all times and are required after sunset.  The power has been known to go out and you might be in a position where you need light to get to a safe location.  Always be careful when walking in the dark.

  4. Please follow instructions on all posted warning signs.

  5. Visitors to the mountain will have full access to the ground floor lobby as well as the entire second floor.  Upon arrival, LBT personnel can accompany first-time visitors to the viewing gallery on the sixth floor to see the telescope and chamber.  After this initial tour visitors may have unaccompanied access to the viewing gallery.  Always inform the telescope operator or another LBT staff member of where you are going and how long you are likely to be gone.

  6. The following areas within the LBT building are off limits at all times to visitors unless accompanied by LBT personnel or explicit permission has been given by the LBTO Director or his designee:  the first floor high bay area and instrument lab, as well as all auxiliary offices and labs on the first floor; the third floor lower and upper sections; the fourth floor equipment room; the fifth floor telescope chamber; and all levels above the sixth floor viewing gallery.  Please respect these restrictions as special training is required for entrance into these areas.

  7. Be aware that there may be tools and materials on the floor in high traffic areas where work is taking place.  Please watch where you step to avoid tripping.  Exercise extreme caution when walking on slippery metal surfaces (e.g. the telescope chamber floor), uncarpeted areas and elevated platforms.

  8. When using the scissors lift do not climb on or over the railing.  Harnesses are not required in the scissors lift.  However if you intend on climbing out of the lift, you must have a fall arrest harness on and be properly tied off.  Boom lifts require training and a fall arrest harness to be worn at all times.

  9. Low-hanging equipment or materials could present a hazard.  Some heavy overhead lifting activities might also be taking place.  You must stay well away from any activity involving the use of a crane, and from any other heavy equipment or structures in motion.  If the crane is in use hard hats are required.  If you are in the same room with an operating crane, a hardhat must be worn.  If someone is working over your head, a hardhat must be worn.  While safe working practices are in place, there is always a risk of falling tools or materials, so please make sure you are aware of what is happening above you.

  10. In the unlikely event you handle any liquid cryogens, use personal protective equipment.

  11. In the unlikely event you are operating power tools or machines you must be qualified to do so.  Proper safety equipment must be worn and all safety guards must be in place.

  12. A fire risk always exists during certain operations, particularly welding, soldering, grinding and other work where an open flame is involved.  In the event of a fire some materials may emit dense and highly toxic smoke.  In the case of a fire, carefully and calmly follow the instructions of LBT personnel.

  13. If you go outside of the building during winter be aware of overhangs with falling ice and snow, and please park vehicles away from the building.  

  14. If you intend to hike on the mountain federal regulations require you to stay within the yellow ropes and on the access road above switchback five as well as above 10,000 ft. elevation.  Below 10,000 ft. it is possible to hike in the forest.  Please take a radio with you and inform an LBT staff member of where you are going and how long you are likely to be gone.

We encourage you to report safety hazards that require correction and any other conditions that you believe should be included in this list of safety guidelines.