Science Safety


Safety in the science classroom should be a major concern of all science teachers, administrators, and all occupants of the buildings and grounds in which science activities of all disciplines are conducted. Safe science includes laws, standards, contracts, procedures, hazard assessments, lab design, storage, and standard operating procedures. The key to safe science involves knowledge of safety rules, communication within schools, and linking school practices to organizations outside the school district.


Why is safety important?

Let's start with an scenario: A new science teacher walks into their new classroom in the fall and sees among other things an opened cardboard box from a popular laboratory company sitting on a table in the lab. The bottom appears to be wet. Upon closer inspection the surface of the gallon jar inside seems to wrinkled and milky colored on one side. No odor is detected near the box. What should the teacher  do? The resulting action may cost the teacher her/his life. If this teacher has had no laboratory safety training they may be in severe jeopardy. The response may endanger other occupants of the building.

Laboratory experiences are an essential part of learning science. (NSTA, February 2007) Teachers and schools have a legal and a moral responsibility to ensure safety for their students. (NSTA, September 2007) Concerns for safety can cause teachers and administrators to be reluctant to support laboratory activities.

Lab safety training should be a part of the colleges pre-service science teacher methods instruction according to the Minnesota Department of Education science teaching standards ( ). So the new teacher mentioned above may be well equipped to handle the safety situation.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires that practicing science teachers receive annual safety training. ( ) So if the teacher were to seek help from a colleague this requirement improves the possibility of a positive outcome in the above scenario. This OSHA requirement is a part of the Laboratory Standard which is required of all school districts. So what are the laws and standards that apply to places were science is taught in Minnesota?

Laws related to Minnesota Science Safety

Minnesota Science Teacher Licensure Safety Requirements

8710.4750 Minnesota Rule for Teaching Standards Excerpt

(2)safe environments for learning science as evidenced by the ability to:

(a)use required safety equipment correctly in classroom, field, and laboratory settings;

(b)describe, using knowledge of ethics and state and national safety guidelines and restrictions, how to make and maintain a given collection of scientific specimens and data;

(c)describe, using knowledge of ethics and state and national safety guidelines and restrictions, how to acquire, care for, handle, and dispose of live organisms;

(d)describe, using state and national guidelines, how to acquire, care for, store, use, and dispose of given chemicals and equipment used to teach science;

(e)implement safe procedures during supervised science learning experiences in the public schools; and

(f)develop a list of materials needed in an elementary science safety kit;

Minnesota Eye Protective Devices Legislation

From, Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Behavior

121A.32 Minnesota Rule

Subdivision 1. Requirement to wear eye protective devices. Every person shall wear industrial quality eye protective devices when participating in, observing or performing any function in connection with, any courses or activities taking place in eye protection areas, as defined in subdivision 3, of any school, college, university or other educational institution in the state.

Subdivision 2. Penalty for failure to wear eye protective devices. Any student failing to comply with such requirements may be temporarily suspended from participation in said course and the registration of a student for such course may be canceled for willful, flagrant, or repeated failure to observe the above requirements.

Subdivision 3. Eye protection areas. Eye protection areas shall include, but not belimited to, vocational or industrial arts shops, science or other school laboratories,or school or institutional facilities in which activities are taking place and materialsare being used involving:

(a) Hot molten metals;

(b) Milling, sawing, turning, shaping, cutting, grinding or stamping of any solid materials;

(c) Heat treatment, tempering or kiln firing of any metal or other materials;

(d) Gas or electric arc welding

(e) Repair or servicing of any vehicle or mechanical equipment;

(f) Any other activity or operation involving work in any area that ispotentially hazardous to the eye.

Subdivision 4. Protective-corrective lenses. Any person desiring protective-corrective lenses instead devices supplied by the educational institution shall pay for, procure, keep, and use industrial quality eye protective devices.

Subdivision 5. Industrial quality eye protective devices. "Industrial quality eye-protective devices," as used in this section means devices meeting American National Standards Institute, currently identified as Z87.1-1968.

 Regulations that apply to MN Science Labs, Prep and Storage areas

FireCode- Minnesota has adopted the National Fire Protection Code and the National Building Code. The folllowing link is part of a checklist sent to districts from the Minnesota Department of Education  to assure compliance for science laboratories and storage rooms.  

OSHA Regulations - The intent of the Laboratory Standard is to protect laboratory employees from harm due to chemicals. The design of the Laboratory Standard is based on a recognition by OSHA, and other health and safety professionals, that laboratory work is typically different in character from industrial operations in their use and handling of chemicals. In contrast to many industrial operations, laboratory chemical work often involves a relatively large number of chemicals in relatively small scale procedures. In many labs, particularly those involved in research, the character of chemical usage can also change significantly over time to reflect evolving research conditions.  

The Laboratory Standard contains the following elements.

  • Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP)- A written plan must be developed to control and minimize chemical exposure in research and instructional laboratories. The CHP must be readily available to affected employees, who need to be oriented to its provisions and relevance to their health and safety. This document satisfies in part the requirement for a CHP. Individual laboratory supervisors are responsible for developing and implementing lab-specific components of the CHP. See the lab-specific

CHP section of this manual.

  • Responsibilities- Personnel responsible for implementation of the CHP must be designated, including the assignment of Chemical Hygiene Officers.
  • Employee Information and Training- The employer shall provide employees with information and training to ensure that they are informed of the hazards in their work area and their avoidance.
  • Exposure Limits- Occupational exposure to chemicals must not exceed specified levels.
  • Employee Exposure Determination- As appropriate, measurements must be taken to verify that exposure limits are not exceeded.
  • Medical Consultation and Examinations- Employees are entitled to medical attention when a significant chemical exposure is suspected.
  • Hazard Identification- Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and other reference materials need to be available. Labeling of chemicals is strictly regulated.
  • Control Measures- Criteria must be established that the employer will use to determine, implement and adequately maintain control measures to reduce employee exposures, including lab ventilation, personal protective equipment, etc.
  • Standard Operating Procedures- SOPs must be developed, as needed, relevant to safety and health considerations when lab work involves the use of hazardous chemicals.
  • Prior Approval- Circumstances must be stipulated under which a particular laboratory operation, procedure or activity requires prior approval from the lab supervisor.
  • Particularly Hazardous Substances- Provisions must be specified for additional employee protection for work with substances such as "select carcinogens", high acute toxicity substances and reproductive toxins. 

(Flinn Scientific has developed a generic CHP that can be used as a base for your district or school plan) 

OSHA's Laboratory Safety Standard also includes training requirements for science teachers and others. You can find the details in Appendix 2

CDC Standards-

The Center for Disease Control, U.S. Department of Health and the National Institute of Health  also have standards for working with Microorganisms. The Microbiology Lab Safety regulations control the scope of what can be done in k-12 science classrooms especially in microbiology. K-12 schools are only allowed to do Biosafety Level One activities. You can find the details in Appendix 3.

Safety Resources

The following are Organizations with very useful safety resources.

Council of State Science Supervisors -

National Science Teachers Anns.

Flinn Scientific-

Laboratory Safety Institute -

American Chemical Society-

Centers for Disease Control -

In addition to the above resources, the Minnesota Department of Education in conjunction with JaKeL has published ,in 2000 , a CD entitled The Total Science Safety System that is an excellent resource for schools. It covers:

1. Safety and the Law

2. The Learning Environment

3. Instructional Materials

You may request a copy from the MDE Science Specialist through the Contact Us tab at the top of the page. Please include your mailing address in the request.

UM Chemical disposal

 The University of Minnesota has a Chemical Safety Day Program that picks up chemicals at sites throughout the state and disposes of them at their facilities. Schools and other edcuational facilities are invited to participate. Details at this webpage


Planning & Instruction

How do I intentionally plan for and use Safety Resources?

Here are some questions you might ask yourself as a teacher of science.

  • Are your school science labs safe for your teachers and students?
  • Do you need to know what regulations affect your science lab?
  • Are you sure you have the proper safety equipment?
  • Are your chemicals stored properly?
  • Are your science teachers trained in the handling and use of hazardous chemicals?
  • Are students adequately trained and supervised in safe procedures?
  • Have I documented my safety precautions, e.g. in my lesson plans? 

The Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS) identifies four duties of a science teacher as described in the National Science Education Standards. Their safety database is designed to address these duties.

Duty of Teachers

Database Content

1. Duty to "know" applicable regulations and recommendations.

Regulations, Responsibilities, Training, Chemical Storage, Signs & Labels, MSDS, Waste Disposal, Lab Design, Ventilation, Electrical Hazards

2. Duty to "instruct" students in safe procedures.

Safety Equipment, Standard Operating Procedures, Glass Hazards, Heating Hazards, Physical Science Hazards, Biology Lab Hazards

3. Duty to "supervise" students in lab investigations

Emergency Response, Spill Control, Medical Information

4. Duty to "maintain equipment" in their lab facility.

Lab Checklists, Maintenance Logs

TALK:  Reflection & Discussion

■    What is the biggest safety concern we have as a school or district?

■    Is the administration, the staff and the students on the same page when it comes to developing and maintaining safe classrooms?

■    Is annual safety training taking place for all science staff.

■    Are parents aware of the safety rules?

DO:  Action Steps

●    Assess your current situation use the General Science Safety Checklist [   or

○    on page 3 of the CSSS Elementary Safety Guide ..

○    on page 3 of the CSSSS Science and Safety - Making the Connection 

●    Inventory your chemicals and arrange the storage according to a recognized safe storage system, for example, the Flinn Storage System [link]

●    Plan how you will instruct your students concerning safety procedures and a safety contract with your students and parents [link}

●    Plan how you will incorporate annual safety training of teachers.  One option is the plan for a brief safety training at each science department meeting offered by Flinn Science [link]

In Appendix 4 you will find a set of recommendation published by CSSS

See also "Safety and School Science Instruction"  a NSTA position statement.

References & Resources 

National Science Teachers Association. NSTA (2007, February). The integral role of laboratory investigations in science instruction (position paper). Retrieved from

National Science Teachers Association. NSTA (2007, September). Liability of science educators for laboratory safety. (position paper). Retrieved from

Appendix 1  Facilities Checklist

 At the end of this section you will find a document that can be download containing a checklist of general science safety considerations for your laboratory. It is entitled "2007 Science Safety Checklist Schools".


1. SUPERVISION OF STUDENTS.  Students must be under the direct supervision of a faculty member or an assistant at all times.  In most cases it is recommended that direct supervision means direct eye contact.  It is recommended that no more than two students be assigned to a lab station.
NFPA 45, (2000)
2. ELECTRICITY & SPILLS.  Electrical receptacles, switches, and controls must be located so as not to be subject to liquid spills.
NFPA 45 (2000)
4. GAS PIPING SYSTEMS.  Piping systems must comply with nationally recognized standards.
MSFC (03) 2703.2.2.2
5. EYE PROTECTION.  Enough eye protection devices (goggles) must be provided for every student in the room, visitors, and the teacher whenever potentially hazardous activities are taking place.
MN Public Law, section 126.20
6. USE OF REFRIGERATORS.  Refrigerators, freezers and other cooling equipment used to store or cool flammable liquids must be of explosion-proof construction.
NFPA 45 (2000)
7. USE OF REFRIGERATORS.  Each refrigerator, freezer or cooler must be prominently labeled to indicate whether it is or is not suitable for storing flammable liquids.
NFPA 45 (2000)
8. EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS NOT ALLOWED.  It is recommended that due to the serious explosion hazard present, the following chemicals not be used in an instructional setting:
Benzoyl Peroxide
Carbon Disulfide
Ethyl Ether
Perchloric Acid
Picric Acid
Potassium metal
Magnesium powdered metal
9. PERSONAL SAFETY.  Loose clothing (e.g. sleeves, full cut blouses, neckties, etc.) and long hair should be properly restrained.  Also, some laboratory activities could be dangerous to persons wearing contact lenses.
10. HEAT SOURCES.  Heat sources should never be left unattended (e.g. gas burners, hot plates, heating mantles, etc.)
11. DANGEROUS RISK CHEMICALS. See lists of chemical where risk exceeds the educational value or the chemicals should be used in limited quantities.
Chemical Storage Facilities means any area or room where chemicals are stored.  Usually this refers to the chemistry storage area, but these rules apply to all areas where chemicals are stored.


Does Not Meet


1. FLAMMABLE/COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID QUANTITIES IN USE.  Quantities of flammable and combustible liquids shall not exceed the amounts necessary for demonstration, treatment, laboratory work, maintenance purposes or operation of equipment.  See limits in "Use" column of Table 1 below (adapted from MSFC Table 2703.1.1)


MSFC (03) 3404.3.4.1





2. FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS CABINET.  Quantities of flammable and combustible liquid in excess of 10 gallons must be stored in a flammable liquids cabinet.  Quantities not exceeding ten gallons must be stored in an approved location.

MSFC (03) 2703.1.1




3. FLAMMABLE/COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID QUANTITIES IN STORAGE.  The maximum quantity of flammable and combustible liquids in storage and use in a lab must not exceed 60 gallons.

Note: These quantities may be doubled if stored in approved storage cabinets or in sprinklered buildings.  (Both increases apply)


MSFC (03) 2703.1.1




4. HAZARDOUS MATERIALS - QUANTITIES IN STORAGE & USE. Quantities of hazardous materials being stored or used shall not exceed the amounts shown in Table 1 (adapted from MSFC Table 2703.1.1).

MSFC (03) 2703.1.1




5. FLAMMABLE/COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID CONTAINERS.  Class I and II liquids must be stored in metal containers when exceeding one gallon.


MSFC (03) 3404.3.6.1




6. REACTIVE MATERIALS.  Materials which will react with water or other liquids to produce a hazard must not be stored in the same room with flammable or combustible liquids.


MSFC (03) 2703.9.8




7. GAS CYLINDERS. Stored gas cylinders shall have all protective devices on (caps collars and similar devices)

MSFC (03) 3003.4.1




8. GAS CYLINDERS.  All gas cylinders must be secured in a place to prevent falling.

MSFC (03) 3003.3.3




9. MSDS AVAILABLE.  Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) must be readily available on the premises for all hazardous chemicals.


MSFC (03) 2703.4




10. APPROVED CONTAINERS.  All chemicals must be stored in approved containers (if possible, chemicals should be stored in the original shipping package).


MSFC (03) 2703.11.3.5




11. INCOMPATIBLE MATERIALS.  Incompatible materials shall be segregated to prevent accidental contact with one another.  (Storage of materials which are incompatible shall not be allowed in the same cabinet or exhausted enclosure).


MSFC (03) 2703.9.8




12. SHELVING FOR STORAGE.  All shelving must be of substantial construction and properly secured to prevent falling over.  (Shelving above work areas should be kept free of chemicals.  Storage above eye level should be avoided). Shelving shall be provided with a lip or guard when storing individual containers.


MSFC (03) 2703.9.9




13. DEFECTIVE CONTAINERS.  Defective containers must be removed and disposed of in a proper manner

MSFC (03) 2703.2.6.2




14. CHEMICAL RELEASE. Hazardous Materials shall not be released into a sewer, storm drain, ditch, drainage canal, lake, river or tidal waterway, or upon the ground, street, sidewalk, street or highway or into the atmosphere.

MSFC (03) 2703.3




15. SECURITY FOR CABINETS & ROOMS.  All storage cabinets and storage rooms must be locked or otherwise secured against unauthorized entry.


MSFC (03) 2703.9.2




16. CONTAINER LABELING.  All containers must be properly labeled to identify the contents.

MSFC (03) 3403.5




17. TRANSFER OF FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS.  When transferring flammable liquids between metal containers, the containers must be properly bonded together.  The practice of purchasing large containers and dispensing into smaller ones is discouraged.


MSFC (03) 3405.3.2





Seagren, Alice, Commissioner,Minnesota Department of Education letter to Superintendents Attachment 5  June 10, 2010



Appendix 2

OSHA Training Requirement


1910.1450 - Occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories

•Standard Number: 1910.1450

•Standard Title: Occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories

•SubPart Number: Z

•SubPart Title: Toxic and Hazardous Substances

(f) Employee information and training.

(f)(1) The employer shall provide employees with information and training to ensure that they are apprised of the hazards of chemicals present in their work area.

(f)(2)Such information shall be provided at the time of an employee's initial assignment to a work area where hazardous chemicals are present and prior to assignments involving new exposure situations. The frequency of refresher information and training shall be determined by the employer.

(f)(3)Information. Employees shall be informed of:

(f)(3)(i)The contents of this standard and its appendices which shall be made available to employees;

(f)(3)(ii) the location and availability of the employer's Chemical Hygiene Plan;


(f)(3)(iii) The permissible exposure limits for OSHA regulated substances or recommended exposure limits for other hazardous chemicals where there is no applicable OSHA standard;

(f)(3)(iv) Signs and symptoms associated with exposures to hazardous chemicals used in the laboratory; and

(f)(3)(v) The location and availability of known reference material on the hazards, safe handling, storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals found in the laboratory including, but not limited to, Material Safety Data Sheets received from the chemical supplier.

(f)(4) Training.

(f)(4)(i) Employee training shall include:

(f)(4)(i)(A) Methods and observations that may be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical (such as monitoring conducted by the employer, continuous monitoring devices, visual appearance or odor of hazardous chemicals when being released, etc.);

(f)(4)(i)(B) The physical and health hazards of chemicals in the work area; and

(f)(4)(i)(C) The measures employees can take to protect themselves from these hazards, including specific procedures the employer has implemented to protect employees from exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as appropriate work practices, emergency procedures, and personal protective equipment to be used.


(f)(4)(ii) The employee shall be trained on the applicable details of the employer's written Chemical Hygiene Plan.




Appendix 3

CDC Regulations


 Microbiology Lab Safety


The key to safe microbiological work in the classroom is the knowledge and practice of aseptic technique. Microbiology experiments should not be undertaken without proper training and a thorough understanding of basic microbiological transfer techniques. Controlled microbiological experiments are not possible without the availability of an autoclave or pressure cooker for sterilization.

 Microbiology Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have outlines general safety standards for microbiological work in their publication "Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories." Four Biosafety levels for microbiology laboratory practices are outlines and referred to as Biosafety Level 1 (BSL1), BSL2, BSL3, BSL4.

 Biosafety Level 1 practices, safety equipment, and facility design are appropriate for all secondary educational training and teaching laboratories. BSL1 work is characterized as only using strains of viable microorganisms not known to consistently cause disease in healthy adult humans and of minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the environment. BSL1 represents a basic level of containment that relies on standard microbiological practices with no special primary or secondary barriers recommended, other than a sink for hand washing. The laboratory is not necessarily separated from the general traffic patterns in the building. Work is generally conducted on open bench tops using standard microbiological practices. Special containment equipment or facility design is neither required nor generally used. Laboratory personnel and instructors have specific training from a trained scientist in the procedures utilized in the laboratory.

 The aforementioned publication outlines standard microbiological practices required for safety in BSL1 facilities. These guidelines would apply to all school teaching settings:

1. Access to the laboratory should be limited or restricted when experiments or work with cultures are in progress.

2.      Persons must wash their hands after they handle viable materials, after removing gloves, and before leaving the laboratory.

3.      Eating, drinking, smoking, handling of contact lenses, applying cosmetics, and storing food for human use are not permitted in laboratory work areas. Persons who wear contact lenses should also wear goggles or a face shield.

4.      Mouth pipetting is prohibited; only mechanical pipetting devices are used.

5.      Facilities for safe disposal of sharps should be instituted.

6.      All procedures should be performed carefully to minimize splashes.

7.      Work surfaces should be decontaminated at least once a day and after any spill of viable material.

8.      All cultures, stocks, and other regulated wastes should be decontaminated before disposal by an approved decontamination method such as autoclaving.

9.      A biohazard sign may be posted at the entrance to the laboratory whenever infectious agents are present.

10.  An insect and rodent control program should be in effect.

11.  It is recommended that laboratory coats, gowns, or uniforms be worn to prevent contamination or soiling of street clothes.

12.  Gloves should be worn if the skin on the hands is broken or if a rash is present. Alternatives to powdered latex gloves should be available.

13.  Protective eyewear should be worn for conducting microbiological experiments.

14.  Laboratories should have at a minimum:

a.       Doors for access control

b.      Sink for hand washing.

c.       Hard, easy-to-clean surfaces (carpeting not appropriate).

d.      Bench tops impervious to water and resistant to basic chemical deterioration.

e.       Well-constructed furniture capable of supporting loads and adequate cleaning space between all benches, cabinets and equipment.

f.       Windows that open to the exterior that are fitted with fly screens.

In addition to the general guidelines outlines in "Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories", certain other obvious guidelines always apply to microbiology activities in the classroom.

1.      Known pathogens should never be used.

2.      Cultures should be obtained from reliable biological suppliers and in pure culture form.

3.      All microorganisms should be handled as if they are pathogens.

4.      Microorganisms from the surrounding environment should only be cultured by the most experienced students and teachers.

5.      Cultures of unknown species should be taped shut and sterilized before disposal.

6.      Humans and/or human products should not be used as a source of culture material in nearly all cases.

7.      Blood agars and serum agars should not be used in the normal, basic biology laboratory.

8.      Most Petri dish cultures produced in classroom activities should be taped shut and not opened even after being sterilized for disposal.

9.      All work areas should be disinfected before and after microbiological work.

10.  Students should wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after microbiological transfers and observations.

11.  All microbiological materials must be sterilized prior to disposal.

 Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC 1999, 4th Edition.

 Reprinted from Flinn Scientific Bulletin 3/24/2003

Appendix 4

General Safety Checklist


In Appendix 4 you will find a general safety checklist and a set of recommendation published by CSSS


General Science Safety Checklist

The following is a suggested checklist of safety concerns in K-12 science laboratories.

1.    Appropriated protective equipment for the science laboratory

2.    Enforcement of safety procedures

3.    All students and teachers know the local of all protective equipment

4.    All students read and sign a lab safety contract.

5.    Sufficient, accessible lab stations per number of students in each laboratory

6.    All students must wear proper safety goggles whenever chemicals, glassware, or heat is used

7.    Equipment and chemical inventory maintained

8.    Chemicals properly arranged by compatibility and securely stored

9.    Restricted amounts of chemicals

10.  Adequate labeling on equipment, chemicals and hazards

11.  Material Safety Data Sheets

12.  Unobstructed exits from laboratory

13.  Uncluttered laboratories

14.  Master shut-off switches for gas, water and electricity

15.  Safety Rules and charts posted

16.  Records kept on safety training and lab incidents

17.  Emergency exit/escape plan posted

18.  Live animals and students are protected from one another


General Lab Safety Recommendations

1.    Always perform an experiment or demonstration prior to allowing students to replicate the activity. Look for possible hazards. Alert students to potential dangers.

2.    Safety instructions should be given orally and be posted each time an experiment is begun.

3.    Constant surveillance and supervision of student activities are essential.

4.    Never eat or drink in the laboratory or from laboratory equipment. Keep personal items off the lab tables.

5.    Never use mouth suction in filling pipettes with chemical reagents. Use a suction bulb.

6.    Never force glass tubing into rubber stoppers.

7.    A bucket of 90% sand and 10% vermiculite, or kitty litter (dried bentonite particles) should be kept in all rooms in which chemicals are either handled or stored. The bucket must be properly labeled and have a lid that prevents other debris     from  contaminating the contents.

8.    Smoke, carbon monoxide, and heat detectors are recommended in every laboratory. Units should be placed in the laboratory and related areas (storerooms, preparation rooms, closets, and offices).

9.    Use heat-safety items such as safety tongs, mittens, aprons, and rubber gloves for both cryogenic and very hot materials

10.  A positive student attitude toward safety is imperative. Students should not fear doing experiments, using reagents, or equipment, but should respect them for potential hazards. Students should read the lab materials in advance noting all cautions (written and oral).

11.  Teachers must set good safety examples when conducting demonstrations and experiments. They should model good lab safety techniques such as wearing aprons and goggles.

12.  Rough play or mischief should not be permitted in science classrooms or labs.

13.  Never assume that an experiment is free from safety hazards just because it is in print.

14.  Closed-toed shoes are required for labs involving liquids, heated or heavy items that may injure the feet.

15.  Confine long hair and loose clothing. Laboratory aprons should be worn.

16.  Students should avoid transferring chemicals they have handled to their faces.

17.  Never conduct experiments in the laboratory alone or perform unauthorized experiments.

18.  Use safety shields or screens whenever there is potential danger that an explosion or implosion of an apparatus might occur.

19.  Proper eye protection devices must be worn by all persons engaged in supervising, or observing science activities involving potential hazards to the eye.

20.  Make certain all hot plates and burners are turned off when leaving the laboratory.

21.  Frequent inspection of the laboratory's electrical, gas, and water systems should be conducted by school staff.

22.  Install ground fault circuit interrupters at all electrical outlets in science laboratories

23.  A single shut-off for gas, electricity, and water should be installed in the science laboratory. It is especially important that schools in the earthquake zones to have such a switch.

24.  MSDS sheets must be maintained on all school chemicals. Schools should maintain an inventory of all science equipment.

25.  Laboratories should contain safety equipment appropriate to their use such as emergency shower, eye-wash station (15 minutes of potable water that operates hands free), fume hood, protective aprons, fire blankets, fire extinguisher, and safety goggles for all students and teacher(s).

26.  Protective (rubber or latex) gloves should be provided when students dissect laboratory specimens.

27.  New laboratories should have two unobstructed exits. Consider adding another to old labs if only one exit exists.

28.  There should be frequent laboratory inspections and an annual, verified safety check of each laboratory should be conducted by school staff.

29.  Give consideration to the National Science Teachers Association's recommendation to limit science classes to 24 students or less for safety.

30.  All work surfaces and equipment in the chemical or biological laboratory should be thoroughly cleaned after each use.

31.  Students should properly note odors or fumes with a wafting motion of the hand.

32.  Chemistry laboratories should be equipped with functional fume hoods. Fume hoods should be available for activities involving flammable and/or toxic substances.

33.  The several chemical authorities believe that contact lenses do not pose additional hazards to the wearer and that contact lenses are allowed when appropriate eye and face protection are used. The wearing of contact lenses in the science laboratory has been a concern because of possibility of chemicals becoming trapped between the lenses and the eye in the event of a chemical splash.  Check with your state science supervisor for your state's recommendation.

34.  All laboratory animals should be protected and treated humanely.

35.  Students should understand that many plants, both domestic and wild, have poisonous parts and should be handled with care.

Criteria for scheduling special needs students into laboratory classes should be established by a team of counselors, science teachers, special education teachers, and school administrators. Aides or special equipment should be made available to the science teacher.












8710.4750 Minnesota Rule for Teaching Standards Excerpts