Kristi, If you are at UMass-Amherst, your new art building is one of the best vented and safety featured in the country right now. If you are at another school in Amherst, get a tour of this building. And if you have questions about it, e-mail me.
Summer programs for young people at schools of higher education are a HUGE problem in the art and theater studios and labs. The teachers in these programs usually don't control where summer program kids wander in a building full of chemicals and dangerous machinery. And in many older schools, ancient still-active fuse and breaker panel doors don't close, access doors to confined space chases, utility and chillers are unsecured, and there are many other dangerous attractive nuisances. I've been in school buildings that adults shouldn't be in, much less children.
In terms of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act which regulates the safety of consumer products including art materials, the definition of a "child" is grade six and under (usually 12-13 yrs old and under). If they are in this age group, the FHSA says they shouldn't be using any chemical product that requires a warning label of any type. Between ages 13 and 18, they still need supervision with all potentially hazardous chemical product use.
There are other regulatory definitions for very young children and toddlers in the toy and children's articles (e.g., bath toys, bottle nipples, etc.), but I'm going to assume all your chemistry buildings have rules prohibiting students or staff bringing children of any age into the facility. If not, get a meeting with the school's General Counsel and explain the issue. They usually get it and will make it happen.
The buildings and rooms in which children in grade six and under work should be child proofed and supervision of these kids should be intense. Older than age 13, chemicals that require label warnings can be used with supervision at ALL times.
Now I'm fully aware that rules in the FHSA are not complied with in many schools, but the fact that it is law makes personal injury lawsuits for children a slam dunk.
In a message dated 6/11/2012 11:41:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time, kohr**At_Symbol_Here**AMHERST.EDU writes:
I have a question for those of you at academic institutions. Do you have summer programs that come to your campus and use your teaching laboratories and equipment? (For example, educational programs for gifted middle or high school students that have a lab component.) If you allow these programs, what sorts of requirements do you place on these groups? Please feel free to respond off-list if you prefer.
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