BOX 6-2
Laboratory Science Safety Checklists

There are many sources of general safety checklists and action plans for teachers and school administrators concerned about laboratory safety. They include


Council of Chief State Science Supervisors

(http://www.csss.enc.org/safety.htm)

National Science Teachers Association

(http://www.nsta.org/positionstatementandpsid=32)

National Science Education Leadership Association

(http://www.nsela.org/safesci17.htm)

Flinn Scientific (a vendor of laboratory equipment and supplies)

(http://www.flinnsci.com/Sections/Safety/generalSafety/stepsProve.asp)

Laboratory Safety Institute

(http://www.labsafety.org)

For example, in 2000, eight chemistry students in a Battle Creek, Michigan, school were severely burned when a teacher poured methanol into metal chloride salt. A ball of fire flashed across the teacher’s desk and engulfed students sitting across from him. The teacher did not use a fume hood, because the one in his classroom forced observers to peer over his shoulder, preventing all students from watching. Following the accident, the district completed a previously planned renovation, providing every laboratory with a new fume hood that offers a better view of demonstrations (Hoff, 2003).

More recently, three students were burned at Federal Way High School near Seattle, Washington, when the teacher did a similar demonstration without a shield. A school spokeswoman commented, “None of our classrooms are set up that way” (Hagey, 2004). Since the accident, a state inspector from the state Department of Labor and Industries found five serious hazards in violation of state regulations, including: (1) emergency showers were not tested annually and emergency eyewashes were not tested weekly; (2) a district-wide chemical hygiene plan had not been implemented; (3) fume hoods were not tested to determine if they met national standards; (4) several bottles of acids and bases were stored on the floor of a fume hood, obstructing air flow and creating the risk of inhaling dangerous fumes; and (5) air sampling for formaldehyde exposure had not been carried out in biology labs (Maynard, 2004).



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