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Laboratory Negligence: 5 Ways to Make Your Classroom Safer for Students (385 hits)

Being in charge of a group of students can require a professor to have eyes in the back of their head. Students will pull pranks, and they will also do many other things to stir up trouble. Sometimes, students will even get hurt while under a professor's watchful eye. Before pulling out the bandages, it might be time to review some safety tips that will help to decrease accidents and injuries around the lab in which you are teaching.

Proper Instruction

Just because you have a class full of questionably mature students does not mean there is no value in providing them with proper instruction on safety procedures. A lot of mishaps can be avoided by providing students with proper safety instruction and letting them know you expect them to follow your instructions. Often, this is what a lot of students need: structure and guidance.

Turn off the Burners

It is always fun to heat things up in a lab, but it is of utmost importance that you teach your students to be diligent about turning off the burners with which they are working. Failure to do so could cause a major fire that could put student lives in jeopardy. On second thought, you may want to check those burners yourself, just to be safe.

Avoid Chemical Burns

When the students start messing with chemicals, there is always a danger that someone will spill an acid all over themselves. To say that a chemical burn hurts is an understatement. And when it happens, you better have a plan in mind to handle the problem. Since prevention is really the way to go, it is perhaps better to strictly control who handles what chemical substances and when they have access. This way they are less likely to do harm to themselves or others when your back is turned.

Leave the Torch Alone

A lot of science projects are carried out with the use of a torch. Students do not often imagine that other substances on their person are highly flammable. For this reason, you must play the role of the adult to make sure that one of your students does not start playing around with the classroom torch and a bottle of hair spray for fun. In fact, it is best if only you demonstrate things with the torch and allow the students to simply watch from a healthy distance.

Watch Your Feet

Teaching students about gravity by allowing them to drop objects from varying heights in the air can be a lot of fun. That is to say, until one of them drops a heavy weight on your foot. While you may have never thought about it before, wearing steel-toed shoes might have been a smart precaution. But, when a student drops a weight on your foot intentionally, this may be a good time to consider contacting a personal injury attorney to determine if you have any type of a case. Remember, you got involved in teaching to teach, not to be the victim of someone else's intent to do harm to your person.


The classroom lab is a potentially dangerous place. As you consider the matter further, you may begin to realize that there are a lot more hidden dangers than discussed above. Students use blades to dissect animals, shock themselves when plugging equipment in and other things you cannot think of at the moment. Without proper supervision and control over your class, a catastrophe could occur when you least expect. As a lab professor, safety must always be your highest priority.
Posted By: Dixie Somers
Monday, May 15th 2017 at 1:26PM
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