Category Archives: Safety

Dr. Ken Roy, NSTA’s Chief Science Safety Compliance Consultant, shares safety tips and responds to your questions. Click on a headline to read the entire post.

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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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The Vernier Go Direct Radiation Monitor: Well Worth the 90-Year Wait

Stephen Hawking died recently marking 2018 as another date in science history from which events will be measured. Isaac Newton was born in 1642, the same year Galileo died. And it is that 1642 date that is often used as a convenient moment in time to label as the birth of modern science. Three hundred […]

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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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Protecting Students From Fires

In 2015, the National Fire Protection Association released a revised version of NFPA 45 that included a new chapter titled “Educational and Instructional Laboratory Operations,” which applies to K–12 school laboratories. The new chapter provides fire protection and safety requirements for new and existing educational laboratories doing experiments or demonstrations using hazardous materials. Most state […]

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Selecting the Right Lab Coat

There are plenty of reasons to wear a lab coat. For instance, lab coats are fire resistant, and they protect your skin from splashes and spills in the laboratory. The following are some helpful hints for selecting the right lab coat for your needs. Hazard assessment To identify the type of hazard, conduct a hazard […]

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