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Safety in Science Teaching Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Education Richmond, Virginia December 2000 Copyright 2000 by the Virginia Department of Education P.O. Box 2120 Richmond, Virginia
Safety in Science Teaching Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Education Richmond, Virginia December 2000 Copyright 2000 by the Virginia Department of Education P.O. Box 2120 Richmond, Virginia All rights reserved. Reproduction of materials contained herein for instructional purposes in Virginia classrooms is permitted. Superintendent of Public Instruction Jo Lynne DeMary Deputy Superintendent M. Kenneth Magill Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Patricia I. Wright Office of Secondary Instructional Services Linda Wallinger, Director Science Specialist Delores Dalton i NOTICE TO THE READER The activity that is the subject of this report was supported in whole or in part by Title II, Part B of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professional Development Programs of the Improving America s School Act of 1994 (IASA), U. S. Department of Education. However, the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U. S. Department of Education, and no official endorsement by the U. S. Department of Education should be inferred. Safety in Science Teaching can be found in a PDF file on the Virginia Department of Education s Web site at The intent of this document is to support, not supplant, local School Board policy, which may vary from these recommendations. The use of the more restrictive policy will provide the greatest degree of safety for your school environment. ii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This handbook has been made possible through the efforts of many individuals and organizations. A special note of appreciation is extended to all those who have contributed. Technical Review Committee S. William Bishop Virginia Association of Science Teachers Tim Cotman, Sr. Coastal Rural Systemic Initiative Barbara Davis Consultant, Virginia Beach, Virginia Jim Firebaugh Science Specialist, Virginia Department of Education Barry Matheson Stafford County Public Schools Sandy Pace Virginia Association of Science Teachers Audrey Ross Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services Bill Williams Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools A special thanks to the many teachers, supervisors, consultants, and government resource advisors who provided input during the handbook revision in l997. That initial revision was under the direction of the Science and Mathematics Coalition, Region II, and provided a valuable framework for this handbook. A special thanks also is extended to Tim Cotman who served as editor and consultant for the final draft. iii Table of Contents CHAPTER I THE NEED FOR SAFETY... 1 Responsibility for Safety....2 The Administration....2 The Teacher....2 The Student....2 The Elementary Program....3 CHAPTER II ASSESSING NEEDS....4 The Chemical Inventory....4 The Safety Inventory....4 The Activity Inventory....5 CHAPTER III HAZARD RECOGNITION....7 Physical Hazards....7 Health Hazards...10 Hazard Alerts...12 CHAPTER IV PLANNING FOR SAFETY...13 The Planners...13 Assignment of Duties...13 Parameters of Student Conduct...14 Procedures for Procurement, Storage, Handling, and Use of Hazardous Materials...15 Post-Accident Procedures...15 Guidelines for Classroom Planning--Modification of Curriculum and Instructional Strategies...16 CHAPTER V CHAPTER VI CHEMICAL HAZARD CONTROL...17 Purchasing...17 Record Keeping...18 Storage...19 Additional Storage Considerations...19 Environmental Protection...20 Fire Protection...20 Use of Chemicals...21 Disposal of Chemicals...23 Labeling of Chemicals...23 Rules for Making Labels...24 BIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD CONTROL...25 Animals in Instructional Programs...25 Microorganisms and Biotechnology...26 Blood and Body Fluids...27 Field Study...27 CHAPTER VII OTHER HAZARDS AND CONTROL PROCEDURES...30 Cryogenics...30 Fire Classification...30 Fire Prevention...31 iv Fire Control...32 Emergency Procedures...32 Radiation...33 Model Rocketry...34 Co-Curricular Hazards...35 CHAPTER VIIIEYE, FACE, AND RESPIRATORY PROTECTION...36 Eye Protective Devices...37 Eyewash Fountain...37 Respirators...38 Management Procedures...38 CHAPTER IX DOCUMENTATION...40 Inventories...40 Personal Protective Equipment Management Records...40 Laboratory Equipment Maintenance Records...40 Accident Reports...41 Safety Instruction Records...41 Fire Extinguisher Records...42 Exhibit I Sample Accident Report Form...43 Exhibit II Sample Parent-Student Safety Contract...44 CHAPTER X DESIGNING FOR SAFETY...46 Laboratory Construction...46 Specific Recommendations...46 Storage Space...48 Special Storage Considerations...48 Special Recommendations...48 Safety Equipment...49 REFERENCES...50 APPENDIX...52 Chemical Hazards...53 Laboratory Safety Checklist Sample...63 National Fire Protection Association Symbols...67 OSHA (Standards 29 CRF) Flammable and Combustible Liquids...68 OSHA (Standards 29 CRF) Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories...71 Points of Contact Addresses and Web Sites...83 Science Standards of Learning K-12 Safety (1995)...86 v CHAPTER I THE NEED FOR SAFETY School administrators and teachers want to create the safest learning environment possible. Each is dedicated to the premise that no action will be taken to jeopardize the health or safety of any student. Determining appropriate action to maintain a safe environment requires knowledge of the risks involved in each instructional and school activity. The information presented in this document was developed from the collective experiences of teachers, administrators, health department officials, and industrial safety specialists. The manual was developed to provide a summary of safety information relevant to public school teachers and administrators. The information provided can serve as the foundation for safety policies for a school or division. A safe environment can be created through a process involving the following steps: (1) anticipating hazards, (2) recognizing hazards, (3) eliminating hazards, and (4) controlling hazards. Each of these steps can be approached through a focus on categories of hazards found within the school environment. High-risk activity categories usually found in the school environment include the following: 1. Recreational activities on the playground, school grounds, and athletic fields 2. Competitive athletic events 3. Physical education activities 4. Science laboratory 5. Other laboratories and shops 6. Student errands and extra-curricula activities 7. Off-campus learning activities (field trips) The school science program involves a large percentage of these high-risk activities. Science activities are diverse and are more difficult to supervise than the traditional classroom lecture setting. In addition, the environment in a science classroom will contain more potentially hazardous material and equipment. A science safety policy can be a major factor in creating a safer environment for the science program, especially if it is part of a larger plan encompassing all high-risk areas of the school. 1 Responsibility for Safety Ignorance, carelessness, and apathy are contributing factors in most accidents and exposure to health hazards. The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970, as amended in 1990, has greatly increased public awareness of health and safety issues. Medical, health, and other professional organizations have provided information on specific hazards. To alleviate carelessness and apathy, each person involved in an activity must have a vested interest in his/her own personal safety and the safety of those around them. The Administration Each school board, superintendent, supervisor, and principal is responsible for the safety of all who work, study, and visit school buildings. Public confidence in the school as a safe facility is necessary to its operation. A safe school system will have a low frequency of injuries and only minor property damage during a school year. Therefore, all school administrators and board members should be involved in developing policies to assure a safe and healthful school environment. The Teacher Each teacher should assume responsibility for assuring that the teaching space is as free of safety and health hazards as possible. This means teachers must be continuously vigilant in recognizing unsafe conditions and eliminating or reporting such conditions to the school administration. Ignorance, carelessness, or apathy can result in personal injury that may lead to litigation. The Student Students have a responsibility to follow all safety instructions presented by the teacher and to abide by classroom/laboratory rules of conduct. The older the students the greater is their responsibility for contributing to the safe and healthy facilitation of classroom activity. Students should conduct themselves in such a manner as to reduce the probability of being involved in accidents and incidents. 2 The Elementary Program Safety in the science program must begin as early as possible. Elementary school teachers and principals need to pay close attention to the rules, guidelines, procedures, and safety procedures in this handbook. The chapters that deserve full attention are: Chapter I, The Need for Safety; Chapter III, Hazard Recognition; Chapter IV, Planning for Safety; Chapter VI, Biological and Environmental Hazard Control; Chapter VII, Other Hazards and Control Procedures; and Chapter IX, Documentation. As an additional reference you may refer to the NSTA Pathways to the Science Standards Appendix C (1997) available from NSTA. It would be beneficial for each school to have at least one of these manuals per building. Teachers should pay close attention to the following sections of other chapters. Chapter II, Assessing Needs (The Safety Inventory and the Activity Inventory); Chapter V, Chemical Hazard Control (Environmental Protection, Storage, and Additional Storage Considerations); Chapter VIII, Eye, Face, and Respiratory Protection (Eye Protective Devices, Management Procedures); and Chapter X, Designing for Safety (Storage Space). 3 CHAPTER II ASSESSING NEEDS Anticipating, recognizing, identifying, eliminating, and controlling hazards and hazardous activities require that one know what to look for and where to look for it. It is imperative that learning environment safety assessments be made on a regular basis. Complete inventories are recommended as an appropriate means of initiating this task. Three types of inventories are suggested for assessing safety needs--the chemical inventory, the activity inventory, and the safety equipment inventory. The Chemical Inventory Science teachers and building administrators should be aware of which chemicals are in the school. A chemical inventory must be completed at least once a year to be useful. The chemical name of the substance and the amount on hand should be listed. It is also important that the inventory state the storage location for each chemical. Additional information necessary for the inventory includes: (1) purchase date of the chemical, (2) name of supplier, (3) potential hazards, (4) program in which used, and (5) a Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each chemical maintained. The chemical inventory should be computerized for ease of adding or deleting information. This type of inventory allows for rapid identification of a chemical s hazards. As an example, the release of information identifying a newly documented carcinogen could be handled quickly through an inventory reference. One should not have to search through the laboratory and stockroom to determine if the carcinogen is present. The Safety Inventory The safety inventory involves an assessment of the safety features of the laboratory and should include the number, location, and type of the following equipment and facilities: 1. Fire extinguishers (including sand) 2. Fire blankets 3. Lockable master controls, and emergency controls for all utilities 4. Fume hoods 5. Eye safety devices (goggles, face shields) 6. Exits (two per laboratory) 4 7. Safety shields 8. Protective clothing (aprons, thermal and rubber gloves, laboratory coats) 9. Deluge showers 10. Eye wash fountains 11. Appropriate waste containers (chemicals, biological, broken glass) 12. Lockable chemical storage area 13. Lockable, vented flammables cabinet 14. Lockable, vented corrosives cabinet 15. Dust masks 16. Hearing protection 17. Spill response equipment 18. Ground Fault Interrupter protected circuits 19. Safe chemical transporters (rubber buckets) Each safety device included in this inventory should be fully operational. A malfunctioning piece of safety equipment will be useless in an emergency. The absence of appropriate safety equipment will necessitate the elimination of some instructional experiences. The Activity Inventory This inventory covers three categories of student activities in the science department: (1) formal student activities (regular laboratory experiments), (2) informal or enrichment activities (projects, science fair experiments, home assignments), and (3) field trips. 1. The formal student laboratory inventory should include: 1) A list of all laboratory activities scheduled for each science course 2) A brief description of the procedures involved in conducting the activity c) A list of chemicals and equipment necessary to conduct each activity d) A list of all cautions or safety statements included in the text and laboratory manual 2. The informal enrichment activities section inventory should include: 1) A list of science projects or types of projects that will be sponsored by department personnel 2) A statement of rules or regulations governing the construction or production of student projects 3) A definition of the working environment in which the student prepares the project (laboratory project room, home basement, etc.) 4) A list of the chemicals, materials, and equipment available for students 5 3. The field trip inventory should include: 1) A list of field trips by subject area 2) A concise description of the environment for specific field trips (example, biology - natural area studies) 3) A list of equipment to be used on field trips (i.e., rock chipping hammers) 4) A statement of rules or regulations governing student conduct on field trips 5) A list of potential hazards on field trips These inventories can serve as a starting point for promoting awareness of the importance of safety. A comprehensive evaluation of the type and condition of the laboratories and classrooms is an invaluable aid to reaching safety goals. This should include an appraisal of class size relative to the teaching space available, the arrangement of student stations, condition and availability of services, and scheduling procedures. This information, once assembled, should be evaluated annually to determine whether hazardous materials or conditions exist. 6 CHAPTER III HAZARD RECOGNITION Hazards can be classified into two broad types physical and health. Physical hazards are those that can result in direct and immediate bodily injury. Hazards such as fires, explosions, falls, cuts, burns, or poisonings are in this category. Health hazards are those that may lead to chronic health problems such as cancer, birth defects, nerve damage, tissue damage, or other health impairments either immediately or years after the person is exposed to them. Exposure to health hazards may be accidental but are often the result of ignorance that the hazard exists. Physical Hazards Some physical hazards can exist in most environments. The instructional environment must be constantly examined for conditions that can result in injury due to tripping, fires, or falling objects, for example. Other conditions may result from the specialized nature of equipment and materials such as those existing in science and other laboratories. In public schools, one of the areas with the greatest potential for injury from physical hazards is the science laboratory. Overcrowded laboratory areas, lack of appropriate safety equipment and facilities, and lack of science training for middle school and elementary teachers tends to increase the hazards in science programs. To recognize potential and existing hazards, one must: (1) identify student or teacher activities that have a high probability of leading to injury, (2) identify equipment, materials and chemicals that are capable of causing injury when misused, and (3) identify the potential injuries which may result. Some injuries that may result from physical hazards are described in the next section. Injuries due to impact are caused by a collision between a person and an object or objects. Causes of such impacts are falls, falling objects, explosions, implosions, and propelled objects. Falls - These can be caused by faulty equipment including stairs, ladders, and step stools; chemical spills; or by hazardous activities such as climbing on chairs or inappropriate play. Falls may also result from ill placed extension cords, equipment placed in walkways, and other conditions that provide a tripping hazard. 7 Falling objects - These include precariously balanced objects stored on a table or high shelf, loose rocks, and tree limbs. Explosions - The three common sources of explosions are rapid chemical decomposition of an unstable substance, rapid chemical combination of one or more substances, and the rupture of a pressurized container. Substances that can cause explosions by rapid decomposition are normally labeled explosive. The violent chemical reaction of two or more substances is easy to recognize. However, since the hazard arises only when the materials are mixed, the individual material often carries no apparent warning. The term incompatible chemicals may be used to identify these substances. Any container that is used for holding a substance under pressure can explode. Heating a substance in a closed container or any act that increases pressure in a container can result in an explosion. Refer to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for specifics on each substance. Additionally, some explosive substances are identified in the appendix. Use of safety shields is strongly recommended. Implosions - An activity that creates a vacuum within a container made of non-ductile material is hazardous. Rapid contraction of a brittle material (red-hot glass, ceramic, or rocks rapidly cooled) can cause the material to implode. Activities that create a vacuum should be conducted using approved vessels. Use of safety shields is strongly recommended. Never use an explosive reaction or explosive materials to illustrate volcanic action. Propelled objects - This category includes all objects set in motion by means other than gravity, explosions, or implosions. Elastic materials (springs and rubber bands) that are used to propel objects in many physics and physical science experiments are potentially hazardous. The potential for student misuse (horseplay) of the materials used for these experiments should be considered. Activities that allow students to use objects that can be easily thrown (rubber stoppers, etc.) are also potential hazards. Use of safety shields is strongly recommended. Thermal Burns - Hazardous activities that cause thermal burns include heating liquids, melting glass for bending and shaping, and using laboratory heat sources. All flammable 8 liquids should be considered as potential sources of severe burns. A flammable liquid is defined by the National Fire Protection Association as any liquid having a flash point below 100 F. When in doubt about the flammability of a substance, consult the MSDS for the chemical in question. Chemical Burns - Strong acids (sulfuric, nitric, hydrochloric, and acetic) and bases (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide) are frequent sources of chemical burns. Phosphorus, phenol, iodine, and alkali metals can also cause chemical burns when allowed to contact tissue. Cuts and punctures of the skin may result from the students exposure to glass (tubing, thistle tubes, broken containers) and dissection equipment (scalpels, razor bla
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