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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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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The Harmful Particles in 3-D Printers






As three-dimensional printers are starting to become more common in science, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and Fab labs, recent research indicates that 3-D printers pose serious health and safety concerns. The research shows that commercial 3-D printers were producing hazardous levels of ultrafine particles (UFPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when plastic materials […]

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9 Housekeeping Tips for Science Educators






A clean lab is a safer lab. These nine housekeeping tips can help science teachers reduce the risk of lab accidents. 1. Location, location, location. Keep all lab equipment and materials in assigned places, such as cabinets and drawers, with labels, so you know where things are. 2. Keep it closed. Closed cabinets and drawers […]

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An Acknowledgment Form Is Safer Than a Contract






The school year is well under way. But before students enter science labs, they must turn in a safety acknowledgment form. After completing introductory safety training, as noted in NSTA’s Duty of Care (NSTA 2014), review and have students and their parent or guardian sign a safety acknowledgement form (see Resource), stating safety practices and […]

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How Safe Is Your Eyewash?






According to a recent article in Safety + Health magazine, Honeywell Safety Products had to recall about 9,700 bottles of Eyesaline emergency eyewash solution due to “a low risk of contamination” of bacteria that can cause eye infections (NSC 2016). Science teachers need to see if they have this type of eyewash solution and also […]

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