In the past years, the Australian government has been promulgating a policy focus on getting kids to enroll to STEM. With this policy focus, educational institutes have been evidently collaborating with scientists, mathematicians, and tech experts. Recent studies have identified good results from this type of phenomenon. The partnership impacts school curriculum and programs, and it might just increase demands for science laboratories and lab supervisors. Necessarily, safety measures such as safety shower testing must be practiced by lab supervisors.
How do you ensure safe and effective lab experience for kids? Freshen up your knowledge about safety management in the lab:
Know about your state’s safety policies in the lab
In Queensland, there are policies that need to be followed in order to implement safety precautions in a school laboratory. If you’re a recently appointed science lab supervisor from a Brisbane educational institute, you can look for the document containing the mandated maintenance and operation measures for a school laboratory in the Dept. of Education’s Absorb Enviro website. The document is divided into sections from managing activity-specific equipment to suggested control measures in chemicals.
Laboratory supervisors are strongly advised to acquire the necessary knowledge in a low-risk activity and they must have previous experience in an activity if it’s medium to high risk. It is also highly suggested for supervisors to refer to Cert IV Environmental Management and Sustainability for enquiries about safety shower testing and acquiring emergency shower and eyewash.
Facilities and equipment
For managing a sustainable laboratory environment, lab supervisors are advised to:
- Label all chemical containers appropriately.
- Make a safety sheet for each chemical with accurate material data with relevant information for any activity. It must also be easily accessed by the supervisor or personnel.
- Safely store chemicals in a secure area.
- Ensure proper ventilation for practical areas.
Preventive measures and risk management
- There is always a possibility of spillage and accidental contact with chemicals. However, preventive measures are better than accident management. The Queensland state government suggests school lab supervisors implement control processes to reduce the possibility of spillage and accidents such as:
- Limiting chemical amounts used:
- The containers should be labeled properly
- Limit usage in small quantities
- Teach proper holding of containers and rinsing
- Restricting the kids’ movement in the benches
- Frequent reminding of safety procedures before and after an activity
- Proper disposing of dangerous chemical waste
- Using sand baths and safety trays
- Securing an eye wash station Australian standards require and get trained in safety shower testing. Safety shower testing is making sure that potable water is readily available and working in order.
- Familiarizing handling, distribution, use, and disposal of chemicals. The Electrical Safety Guidelines is also a recommended read for lab supervisors
- Giving the students an orientation about the accessible exits for emergency evacuations at the beginning of the course.
- Preparing first aid kits should inside the lab. This should always be present.
Even masters continuously learn every now and then. Make sure to learn more about safety inside a school lab in your career as a lab supervisor. Visit us at https://absorbenviro.com.au/.