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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Addressing Electrical Hazards in the Lab

Accidents in the lab involving electricity can produce fire, smoke, electrocutions, and explosions. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “electrical equipment shall be free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.” This blog post describes the steps teachers must take to prevent such hazards […]

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Preventing Science Laboratory Fires

Most science and STEM laboratories contain chemicals and electrical wiring that could cause smoke or fires. For this reason, the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 45 (section 6.3) standard, in accordance with NFPA 10, requires portable fire extinguishers to be installed and maintained in science labs. The Department of Health and Safety at Tufts University […]

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Laboratory Evacuation Training for Science Teachers

School science labs need to be evacuated in the event of a fire, chemical spill, gas leak, the release of chemical toxins, or other laboratory incident or building issue. The top priority in an emergency evacuation is to ensure all laboratory occupants make it out alive and safe. This blog post describes emergency evacuation planning […]

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Hand and Power Tool Safety

There are many safety hazards associated with the use of hand and power tools, and teachers and students should be trained to recognize them and understand what safety precautions should be taken to avoid them. Safety Precautions For hand tool use, follow these general precautions published by the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology: • Hand tools […]

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How to Properly Dispose Chemical Hazardous Waste

Most middle and high school science laboratories produce chemical hazardous waste, but what exactly is it, and how do you dispose of it appropriately? Chemical waste is a substance that poses a hazard to human health or the environment, including toxins, corrosive liquids, and organic solvents. A school’s chemical hygiene plan or lab safety plan […]

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Reducing the Risk of Liability in the Lab

If a student gets injured while taking part in a laboratory activity, the science teacher and school district have potential liability for their failure to prevent the harm to the student. This blog post describes the duty of care of science teachers and specific safety actions teachers can take to reduce the risk of liability […]

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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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