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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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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Purchasing the Safest Lab Chemicals

Prior to the new school year, most science teachers select and order their lab chemicals. Before placing an order, however, teachers should consider the health risks associated with using hazardous chemicals in the classroom laboratory. Making the right purchase To purchase the least chemically hazardous material possible, science teachers should first determine whether the hazard […]

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The Requirements of Emergency Showers and Eyewash Stations

Most science teachers know that emergency showers and eyewash stations are needed in the presence of potential biological, chemical, and physical hazards. But which ones should they choose, and how should they be installed, operated, and maintained? The best place for answers is the American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment (ANSI/ISEA Z358.1). […]

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How to Safeguard Your Lab

Many of the chemicals on the Department of Homeland Security’s Anti-Terrorism Standards Chemicals of Interest List can be found in high school storerooms. These chemicals may be prone to theft and unauthorized lab experiments. Some terrorist websites have even suggested that their operatives pose as students to acquire hazardous chemical, biological, or radiological agents (NAP […]

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Making a Checklist for Safer Labs

A lab safety checklist can serve as a map to help science teachers navigate through safer waters. The list not only makes labs safer for students but also fulfills part of the teacher’s legal responsibility for inspecting, securing, and maintaining a safer learning space. For school districts regulated under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration […]

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Safer STEM Labs

Like science labs, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) labs require safety and security measures, with an emphasis on safety training, personal protective equipment (PPE), standard operating procedures, engineering controls, and supervision. While hand and power tools (e.g., hammers, screw drivers, table saws, drill presses) can be found in STEM labs, many students and teachers […]

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Avoiding Electrical Hazards in the Lab

In science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) labs, teachers and students can be exposed to a number of electrical hazards such as damaged electrical receptacles, missing ground prongs, and faulty electrical equipment. These hazards can result in electric shock, electrocution, fire, and explosions. Circuit breakers only protect the science lab and school building—not the teachers […]

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A Three-Step Method for Safer Labs

  The lab can be an unsafe place. Under NSTA’s Duty of Care, however, the teacher is required to make labs safer (see Resources). One way of doing so is to follow the analysis, assessment, and action (AAA) method. The method requires teachers to perform a hazard analysis before each lab demonstration (Minister 2015), as […]

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