January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Science Safety Tips

Posted: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

by Dean Gilbert

As science teachers address standards-based instruction with framework recommendations for “at least 20-25 percent hands-on activities,” students are spending more time in classroom laboratories.  Some are crowded.  Some have teachers with no safety training.  Some are in 19th-century buildings, ill equipped for 21st-century science.

In whatever unique instructional setting you operate, almost all school lab accidents and injuries can be prevented with simple safety measures, the experts say.  But many teachers are unaware of the dangers.  “There have been some terrible accidents and injuries,” said John Wilson, executive director of the Schools Excess Liability Fund in California.   (This fund recently paid more than $1 million in a case involving a chemistry accident and more than $3 million in a similar case.)

Science instruction has always had the potential for injury and possible litigation.  These issues, however, can be avoided or reduced by proper training in science safety.   In the next few issues of California Classroom Science, I’ll be giving some helpful tips to eliminate classroom hazards and to facilitate hands-on activities safely.  Be sure to check back each month for another science safety tip!

TIP #1- Protective Eye Wear is a MUST!

Safety goggles are required when performing science activities involving hazards to the eyes (Ed. Code 32-30-31).  This applies to both students and teachers.  Not only for personal protection, but the teacher must wear goggles to model appropriate and expected student behavior.

Since the Education Code does not define the different types of hazards, teachers should be mindful of lab activities that involve chemicals (both liquid and solid), external heat sources with glassware, and projectiles (water/fuel rockets), to name a few.  A good practice on scheduled lab days is to require students to wear goggles as they enter the classroom and then remove the goggles as they exit the classroom (don’t forget to have students sterilize goggles prior to the next class session).

If the science department does not have student sets of goggles and are facing budget constraints, have the district risk management officer check into the School Safety and Violence Protection Act for entitlement funding, up to $46.00 per (prior) year pupil enrolled in Grades 8-12.  Also, it would be wise to research companies that offer inventory adhering to the American National Standards Institute for industrial quality eye protective devices.

Next month’s tip: Earthquake-Proofing Your Chemical Storage Area

Written by Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert is the science coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, and a member of CSTA.

One Response

  1. thanks really helped me out on my science test 🙂

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LATEST POST

STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

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If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

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Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.