Ken Roy, NSTA Chief Science Safety Compliance Consultant and NSTA Safety Advisory Board Contact, has some comments based on the issue of a substitute leaving a science lab unattended, a situation described in a previous blog entry:
- In lieu of a “safety contract” as suggested, there is a need to have a safety acknowledgement form. Safety contracts have no legal basis for students under 18 to sign. NSTA’s safety portal has a sample acknowledgement form on it developed by the NSTA Safety Advisory Board.
- Unless the substitute is a certified active or retired science teacher, no lab activities should take place. Under “duty of care,” the teacher and school district would be liable for any accident that took place under direction of the substitute teacher.
- In no way should a laboratory have students left unattended – at any time – no matter how short or for what excuse. There are major legal implications including negligence should some one get hurt without any direct adult supervision.
Ken’s columns on safety appear in NSTA journals each month and are must-reads for all science teachers (and should be shared with administrators, too.)