From: McGrath Edward J <Edward.McGrath**At_Symbol_Here**REDCLAY.K12.DE.US>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] NSTA Safety Blog Post: Chemical Safety Training for Science Teachers
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2018 12:44:59 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: BN3PR03MB13844CC9E643AC7FBCF8B90996090**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <3F141D90-4795-4E28-A81A-C9017EDFD8C4**At_Symbol_Here**>

Hi everybody:

I honestly got a little lost with some parts of this thread, so I decided to come back to the original post in my feed.

Because many of the decisions regarding science safety in the K-12 academic arena are made by non-science people, a number of unpleasant things have occurred:

1) There is a misguided belief that because a procedure has been done by hundreds of students over decades without incident, it must be considered "safe," and therefore, no hazard analysis or risk assessment is needed.

2) Based on the point above, administrators (usually not having a science background beyond what was required to graduate college) assume that the science teachers have received all the safety training they will ever need.

3) Speaking of administrators, "safety" usually refers to fire drills, building/room security, and are the sidewalks in good repair. If you ask, "yeah, but what about safety in the curriculum?" they figure you mean health/Physical Education, maybe auto-tech.

4) In designing new instructional spaces, the assumption is that science is a core content area, so the needs of science are the same as the needs of math, social studies, and English/Language arts.

5) As for regulations, there is considerable confusion about what is required by OSHA vs the fire code vs Hazcom vs state law. My state (DE) is under federal OSHA but is not required to have a state OSHA plan. To complicate matters further, federal OSHA guidelines apply to private schools, not public schools. As a result, the question of "so who is in charge of chemical safety in science/STEM education?" often goes unanswered (therefore unasked). I sat in a FEMA workshop a few years ago, and remember being told this uncertainty is a recipe for disaster.

So what do we do?

This is when we talk to our legislators, our school board members, our Education Association members, and our parents. Fortunately, Delaware is a small enough state that I know some of these people and can say, "are you comfortable with your son/daughter's teacher not being instructed on current safety practices?" (in many cases, I WAS their son/daughter's teacher!) Safety instruction in K-12 education (not just science, and not just during the school day--for extra-curricular activities as well) has to become "somebody's job." If I don't know whose job it is, it becomes MINE!

Eddie McGrath

Edward J. McGrath
Supervisor of Science
Red Clay Consolidated School District
1502 Spruce Avenue
Wilmington, DE 19805

(302) 552-3768

We did not inherit the Earth from our parents. We borrowed it from our children.

-----Original Message-----
From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety On Behalf Of DCHAS Membership Chair
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2018 8:05 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] NSTA Safety Blog Post: Chemical Safety Training for Science Teachers

Chemical Safety Training for Science Teachers

Academic science laboratories can be unsafe places for teaching and learning due to risks associated with biological, chemical, and physical hazards The OSHA laboratory standard (29 CFR 1910.1450) requires all employees working in laboratory settings (including special education teachers and paraprofessionals) to undergo safety training before they enter the lab. This is to ensure employees are cognizant of and know how to work with chemical hazards in the work area.

According to the standard, safety training must take place at the time of the initial work assignment and prior to assignments involving new chemical exposure situations. Laboratory workers must be provided with information and training relevant to the physical, biological, and chemical hazards present in their laboratory.

First, inform workers of the following safety items:

‰?’ the content of the OSHA Laboratory standard and its appendices (the full text must be made ‰?’ available); ‰?’ the location and availability of the Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP); ‰?’ permissible exposure limits (PELs) for OSHA-regulated substances or recommended exposure ‰?’ levels for other hazardous chemicals where there is no applicable standard; ‰?’ signs and symptoms associated with exposure to hazardous chemicals in the laboratory; and ‰?’ the location and availability of reference materials on the hazards, safe handling, storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals in the laboratory, including safety data sheets.

Second, OSHA requires the employer provide the following safety training topics:

‰?’ methods and observations used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical (e.g., employer monitoring, continuous monitoring devices, and familiarity with the appearance and odor of the chemicals); ‰?’ the physical and health hazards of chemicals in the laboratory work area; ‰?’ the measures that workers can take to protect themselves from these hazards, including protective equipment, appropriate work practices, and emergency procedures; ‰?’ applicable details of the employer‰??s written CHP; and ‰?’ retraining, if necessary.

The employer is required to evaluate the effectiveness of the CHP annually and update it as necessary. It would be prudent to also do refresher training on the CHP for employees using the same schedule. An alternative is to provide additional training each month at department meetings.

Additional safety information

Better professional practices provided by professional associations such as the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have equal standing in courts with legal safety standards. The following list highlights some of the many safety papers representing better professional practices featured on the NSTA safety portal.

‰?’ The NSTA Position Statement: Safety and School Science Instruction addresses safety programs, training, and school environments.
‰?’ The NSTA Position Statement: Liability of Science Educators for Laboratory Safety focuses on the shared responsibility of maintaining a safe learning environment.

‰?’ The NSTA Minimum Safety Practices and Regulations for Demonstrations, Experiments, and Workshops establishes safety practices and regulations for all hands-on demonstrations, experiments, and workshops given at NSTA-sponsored events in rooms, other on-site locations, and on the floor of the NSTA exhibit hall.

Additional issued safety papers by the NSTA Safety Advisory Board can be found on the portal. These papers provide guidance for better professional practices in the science laboratory.

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