Author Archives: Kenneth Roy

Kenneth Roy

Kenneth Roy is Director of Environmental Health and Safety at Glastonbury Public Schools and NSTA Safety Consultant
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Keeping Labs Safer With Engineering Controls

Engineering controls can help isolate people from hazards and make the lab safer, according to the OSHA/NIOSH “Hierarchy of Controls.” Laboratories require specific engineering controls to address biological, chemical, and physical hazards. Appropriate and mandated engineering controls include ventilation, fume hoods, fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, and safety showers. The following list describes common engineering controls […]

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The Safety Component in Lab Renovations and New Construction

  As states continue to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards and STEM curricula programs, science teachers will be asked to engage students in a way that requires specific lab facilities. The demands of three-dimensional teaching could mean that you will need to renovate your existing lab, or construct new facilities. Science teachers and their […]

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Power Tool Safety in Science Labs

The use of power tools, such as table saws, drill presses, and miter saws, is becoming more common in science and STEM laboratories. All power tools have special mechanical and non-mechanical safety hazards that can result in injuries, including abrasions, burns, and fractures. This blog post describes machine-guarding safety protocols that schools need to develop […]

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Mercury: The Shining Health Hazard

  At room temperature, elemental (metallic) mercury can evaporate to become an invisible, odorless toxic vapor. The warmer the air, the more quickly mercury vaporizes. Exposure to even a small amount can affect your health. Symptoms can surface within hours of exposure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to mercury […]

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Safer Breakerspaces

  Breakerspaces are areas where students demolish, repurpose, fix, or disassemble appliances, electronics, toys, and other devices to learn how they work, what components were used to create them, and how they were designed. Like any type of construction or demolition work, safety preparation is absolutely critical. When preparing a breakerspace activity, teachers should consider […]

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Science Activity Safety Checklist

The “Science Activity Safety Checklist,” written by NSTA’s Science Safety Advisory Board, allows teachers to vet any new demonstration, activity, laboratory, or field investigation before using it in the classroom or laboratory. The checklist requires that the teacher has met the following safety requirements. Safety training must be completed before any activity or demonstration. After […]

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Responding to Chemical Spills

The science teacher must be prepared to clean up minor spills that may occur in the lab and know how to proceed in the event of a major spill. A proper response could prevent major disruptions to science laboratory operations, damage to laboratory equipment, and serious bodily harm. If a spill is serious, students may […]

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Be Aware of Biohazards

As many high schools begin adopting curricula that include the study of microorganisms, biosafety must be addressed for a safer lab experience. Biohazards are biologically derived infectious materials, which may present a risk to other living things. Such hazards can enter the body through such places as the eyes, mouth, lungs, and open wounds. Unlike […]

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7 Safety Guidelines for Guest Presentations

Although guest presenters can offer real-life science experiences to students, they may not be familiar with the safety practices that need to be in place to create safer learning experiences. In October 2012, for instance, two fourth graders were rushed to a hospital during a science demonstration involving dry ice and salt. As part of […]

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Preparing for Medical Emergencies

Science teachers need to know the necessary actions to take in the event of a medical emergency. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) provide insight on this issue by means of workplace regulations and standards. OSHA first aid standard The OSHA 29 CFR 1910.151 Subpart K Medical and […]

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