It is tragic that these "accidents" happen again and again. In my opinion the problem is multi-faceted. At the root is a desire on the part of many teachers to make their classes "exciting." Let me offer a few comments.
First, I suspect if one could survey students we would learn that teachers who have been involved in many of the accidents were among the more popular teachers in part because they had "exciting " demonstrations. In many cases, neither the students nor the teachers would be able to clearly articulate why the "exciting" demonstrations were being conducted except they were "exciting" and students liked them. I suspect the students were all applauding the demonstrations , why not pour on some more alcohol , until "all hell broke loose"..
Second, many of the teachers involved probably had a limited educational background in the fundamentals of chemistry and even less training in the fundamentals of safety. I suspect few of the teachers had ever participated in formal training in safety. It is apparent with all the difficulty being experienced in educating physical science undergraduate and graduate students in safety and instilling a 'safety" culture in Universities and colleges that even today students majoring in science and education are left behind. I have had such students tell me that once they declared their interest in high school teaching and a lack of interest in in obtaining an advanced degree their University Professors lost interest in them.
Third, I suspect that few of the teachers involved are members of the ACS.
As a public service I suggest the ACS create a program in which the ACS gives free membership in the ACS to any high school or junior college teacher teaching science courses. This would automatically give these teachers and, indirectly, their students access to Chemical and Engineering News. If the "marginal cost" associated with printing and distributing additional copies of C and E News was deemed excessive, electronic copies could be distributed at a very low "marginal cost". Further, the CHAS and CCS could provide additional assistance to the Editorial staff of C and E News to substantially bolster the '"safety" content of the Journal. As an aside, this is a need irrespective of any efforts targeted at secondary school teachers. Let's see how much coverage C and E News gives the most recent accidents. Have any of you offered comments to C and E News?
The bottom line is a need to maintain and, indeed, enhance dialogue on "safety" within the "choir" and then specifically recognize the need to reach new audiences. This is going to be challenging since I am uncertain how well the core community in the physical science community in Universities and Colleges has been reached and bought in to creating a new "safety culture" that is at the core of their professional activities. .
It is quite possible my suggestions have already been implemented and I am not aware of them since my role today is primarily that of an observer. If so, great. If not and some of the suggestions have merit than the CHAS and CCS leadership need to advance them to the highest levels of the ACS.
Regards to all who are attempting to advance safer cultures.
Roger O. McClellan
Roger O. McClellan, DVM, MMS, DSc(Honorary)
Diplomate -ABVT and ABT: Fellow - ATS, SRA, AAAR, HPS and AAAS
Member - National Academy of Medicine
On Sunday, November 1, 2015 9:55 AM, NEAL LANGERMAN <neal**At_Symbol_Here**CHEMICAL-SAFETY.COM> wrote:
The Washington Post's Style Invitational asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition
This is bigger than CHAS or CCS - really, the President of ACS needs to speak out on this -
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**med.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Ellen M. Sweet
Sent: Sunday, November 1, 2015 5:32 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Chemistry classroom fire injures 6
Perhaps the Educational Programming Committee should take the lead on this?
While training is helpful the real need is getting the information about the hazard to the teachers and administrators. Apparently some instructors don't know there is a problem.
My suggestion is for the ACS and teacher organizations to jointly contact local and national news media to have a segment on the dangers of some of these demonstrations and how to perform them safely. That should get parent and school administrators attention. This would make a nice PBS Frontline or 60 Minutes segment.
The Chemical Safety Board makes outstanding videos and excellent reports but their reach appears limited.
This continues to beg for training for demonstrators...
I just showed the CSB video to our preteachers this week!
On 10/30/2015 4:00 PM, Harry J. Elston wrote:
Bang Head Here ---> (Rainbow Experiment)
"She was demonstrating the experiment ... with the different elements causing the fire to change color, and as the fire was dying down she added more alcohol"
Figured this one couldn't wait for Monday's headlines:
Two are in serious condition (presumably with burns). No chemistry details yet. I think we all have a good guess at what was involved based on unfortunate past experiences, but let's sit tight until there is confirmation.
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