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  1. LABORATORY SAFETY WORKSHOP Edward G. Senkbeil Salisbury University Chemistry Department

  2. Demonstrations 1). High percent secondary school accidents 2). Benefits vs. risks 3). Practice! Practice! Practice! beforehand 4). Appropriate safety equipment


  4. OTHER RISK FACTORS?? • Teaching middle school science one year? • Teaching high school science one year??

  5. RESPONSIBILITIES OF TEACHER • Duty of Instruction • Duty of Supervision • Duty of Maintenance

  6. DUTY DETERMINED BY PROFESSIONALS IN AREA • NSTA – National Science Teachers Association • CSSS – Council of State Science Supervisors • NABT – National Association of Biology Teachers • ACS – American Chemical Society

  7. DUTY OF INSTRUCTION • Educational values vs. risks • Appropriate safety equipment • Provide timely safety instruction • Continuous safety ed. program • Good judgment

  8. DUTY OF SUPERVISION • Monitor students / experiment • Enforce procedures / warnings • What to do if accident? • Degree- depends on age, hazards • Good judgment

  9. DUTY OF MAINTENANCE • Safe working environment • Appropriate personal protection • Proper maintenance of chemicals • Secure storage area • Written records • Good judgment

  10. ELEMENTS NECESSARY FOR NEGLIGENCE • Is there legal duty / responsibility of teacher to student? • Was there a breach in duty? • Was there an injury incurred? • Causation between breach of duty and injury?

  11. EXAMPLE COURT CASES In incidents described, a party was sued for liability. Would you judge the party guilty or not guilty?

  12. Incident I A student in a chemistry laboratory injured himself while inserting a piece of glass tubing into a rubber stopper. The teacher had previously demonstrated and properly instructed all the students concerning the method and danger involved. The student attempted to force the glass tubing into the stopper and was injured. When the tubing snapped and went through the palm of his hand. Is teacher liable?

  13. Incident II Three students in a chemistry class were making up a lab exercise on the preparation and properties of oxygen. The teacher told them to gather the materials necessary to the experiment and to follow the safety directions in the write-up. Contrary to the directions in the write-up, the students mixed potassium chlorate with red phosphorus and ferric oxide and heated them with a Bunsen burner. An explosion resulted and several students were injured. Is teacher liable?

  14. Incident III A teacher was demonstrating how chemical salts, when burned, exhibited different colors. Salts were dissolved in methanol and placed in porcelain dishes, then ignited with a match. One dish had a smaller flame, so the teacher poured methanol (from a 1 gallon jug) directly into the burning dish. Whoosh!!! Two students standing 6” from the dishes were severely burned. Is teacher liable?

  15. Posted On: January 25, 2008 by Altman &Altman Two Massachusetts Students Get $18.9 Million Personal Injury Settlement For Burn Accident Caused By Chemistry Experiment Calais Weber and Cecilia Chen, both 17, are now college students studying in Massachusetts. Calais is a Wellesley College undergraduate, while Chen studies at Harvard. The two students are also burn injury survivors of a chemistry experiment gone bad when they were high school students at Western Reserve Academy, a private boarding school in Ohio.

  16. Incident IV Donna brought a negligence action against the school when, during a frog dissection, some of the preservative present in the tissues of the frog came in contact with her face and arms, causing burning sensation and stinging discomfort, and that red blotches would appear after physical exertion, more than 6 years after the incident. The teacher had taken appropriate precautions of providing students with protective eyewear and rinsing the frogs in clear water before handing them out.

  17. FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO ACCIDENTS • Lack of adequate work space • Teachers with inadequate science background and safety training • Teachers with more than two preps • Poor school discipline • Lack of safety measures

  18. TEACHER’S BEST “DEFENSE”A Good Offense • Awareness – Know the Hazards • Be Prepared • Don’t leave classroom during instruction • Document all efforts to resolve safety issues • Keep Good Written Records

  19. WRITTEN RECORDS • Student safety contract • Documentation in lesson plans • Quizzes / exams • Accident report forms

  20. MAKING STUDENTS RESPONSIBLE • Safety Contracts – examples Flinn Scientific (Md. SSM K-12) Laboratory Safety Institute • Continued Evaluation – quizzes, exams • Point system / tickets • Safety inspections / reports • Extra Credit • Peer Pressure

  21. I hear and I forget.I see and I remember.I do and I understand.

  22. MAKING STUDENTS RESPONSIBLE • Skits –J. Chem. Ed. ,Vol. 72, #12, p1127, 1995. • Scavenger Hunts –J. Chem. Ed., Vol. 76, #1, p68, 1999. • Student Safety Posters

  23. PRIMARY REFERENCES • Flinn Safety Catalog • Chemical Safety For Teachers and Their Supervisors: Grades 7-12, American Chemical Society • Md. State Science Manual K-12