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Lab Safety Tip of the Week #2

Tip #2:  
Make Use of Online Resources

Required reading for this week:
8 Violations for School in Wake of Lab Fire

Science teachers simply cannot receive enough training in laboratory safety.  For the first year science teacher, training in laboratory safety is a MUST!  But what about the veteran teachers?  After teaching for 30+ years, do I still need to receive training in laboratory safety?  The answer to that is an emphatic YES!!

Teachers are often asked to plan their own professional development.  In my school district, science teachers from all schools in the district meet as a group before students start school.  After school is in session, the science department within my school has monthly meetings.  I feel sure that this type of professional development occurs in other districts as well.  One priority of these annual or monthly meeting should be refresher courses in laboratory safety.

There are many, many online resources available to science teachers in laboratory safety training. And most of them are FREE.  At every single inservice held at the start of the school year, safety training should be required.  Check out the free lab safety videos from Flinn Scientific. Flinn offers 9 courses in laboratory safety, and each of them is free.  In this video, you can get an overview of all the safety training made available by Flinn,  Take advantage of this amazing resource!  Show one or more of these safety videos in your science department meetings.  (Please note that while I am a big fan of Flinn Scientific, I am in no way connected with this company.)  You can also find very comprehensive (and free) materials at Carolina Biological.

In reading about laboratory safety for this post, it seems that most accidents are occurring in the labs of veteran teachers.  I think arrogance, complacency, and "letting down your guard" are probably to blame.  This is the reason veteran teachers need continuing education in lab safety.  Will a veteran teacher learn anything new from such training?  Maybe not.  But it brings the issue of lab safety to the forefront of our thinking.  We need to be reminded, and often!

To sum it up, the lab safety tip of the week is:  Make Use of Free Online Resources to offer continuing lab safety training for the teachers in your department.

Links to other resources include:

The Lab Safety Institute
Environmental Health and Toxicology
Lab Safety Guidelines
OSHA Guidelines on Lab Safety

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