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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Fridge and Freezer Safety

This blog post describes steps teachers should take to ensure that laboratory freezers and refrigerators are free from safety hazards. Science teachers should adhere to the following standard operating procedures, via the University of Texas at Austin. • Designate one employee to oversee the laboratory refrigerator and freezer. • Do not store food in refrigerators […]

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Chemical Safety Training for Science Teachers

Academic science laboratories can be unsafe places for teaching and learning due to risks associated with biological, chemical, and physical hazards The OSHA laboratory standard (29 CFR 1910.1450) requires all employees working in laboratory settings (including special education teachers and paraprofessionals) to undergo safety training before they enter the lab. This is to ensure employees […]

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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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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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