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Scientific Success: 3 Strategies For Safety In The School Lab (397 hits)

Running a successful school science program means implementing a comprehensive safety program in the school science lab. Scientific success relies heavily upon students being able to perform their laboratory tasks safely, in an environment in which specific safety rules are closely observed. In a science lab, it is possible that students will be called upon to handle a variety of potentially dangerous substances. Working with flammable materials, Bunsen Burners, corrosive chemicals and reagents can be dangerous in a number of ways. When you are guiding your students on how to run scientific experiments safely and successfully you will want to teach them to follow these three general safety strategies:

Create a Safety Rules Agreement For Students
Science lab safety rules need to be clearly communicated to students before they begin their work in the lab. Introducing them to your clear expectations concerning lab safety and demonstrating lab safety concepts is an essential part of creating a safe school lab environment. It is also possible to encourage lab safety in a number of ways. For instance, science teachers may want to quiz students on lab safety procedures, place posters and other reminders throughout the lab to ensure that students are following safety directives and have their students sign a lab safety agreement. Assign all of your students with their own personal protective gear and make sure everyone gears up before they begin an experiment.

Model Experiments on the Computer or Watch Video of the Experiment Being Done Students respond positively to detailed visual representations of safety conscious conduct and can often learn the proper way to handle school lab equipment and chemicals by watching safety videos with their teacher before beginning the experiment. There are videos of experiments available online that can be freely used by schools across the country. You may also visit the website of a company that manufactures the chemicals or materials that you are using in your experiments. They may have a number of useful tips on how you can get the best results from their product, as well as material safety data sheets (MSDS) on the proper handling, storage, disposal, and use of laboratory reagents you are using.

Take Steps to Reduce Student Exposure to Chemicals Like Reagents
The handling of dangerous chemicals, like reagents, needs special attention in the school science lab setting for a number of reasons. First, reagents are corrosive chemicals, meaning that they can cause chemical burns if they are handled improperly. They may also give off fumes that can cause illness, which means that it is essential that reagent chemical bottles be stoppered and stored correctly. It is also important to ensure that you lab is well ventilated, so fumes from the chemicals you are using do not affect your students adversely. All of the information necessary for avoiding harm when working with reagents is available from the manufacturer’s material safety data sheets, or can be found by visiting the website of the authorized lab chemical dealer from whom your school purchased the lab supplies.

Scientific success in the school setting depends heavily on running a safe science lab for your students. In this regard, it is essential for teachers to find high quality, laboratory grade chemicals and lab equipment distributed by an authorized chemical distributor. The success with which your students will be able to run their experiments will depend greatly on having the proper equipment, laboratory grade chemicals and lab supplies with which to run them. By implementing a lab safety agreement, clearly demonstrating proper conduct, limiting student exposure to chemicals like reagents and always ensuring that your lab uses only the highest quality lab chemicals and materials available, your school science lab will surely be as safe and successful as possible.
Posted By: Emma Sturgis
Wednesday, March 29th 2017 at 12:47PM
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