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Science Safety

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Appendix E: Accident Investigation Report

This type of report should be written for every accident even if no injuries occur. It does not take the place of an official accident report of injury to a student. Its best use is as a data gathering device for accident prevention initiatives. School boards should have their own policy on student accident/injury reports (these reports are to be determined by teachers in collaboration with administrators).


  • Date of report
  • Submitted to
  • Time/Date of event
  • Place
  • Type of accident
  • Injury sustained by
  • Teacher in charge
  • Report submitted by witnesses
  • Size of group/class
  • Description of accident
  • Result of accident
  • Action taken
  • Contributing factors
  • Recommendations

These headings are the minimum suggested for inclusion in a contract.

Your school division policy may include other requirements.

Indicate probable causes or factors such as:

  • equipment failure
  • poor equipment
  • crowded classroom
  • unnecessary movement
  • faulty procedure by student or others (specify)
  • lack of protective clothing or equipment
  • carelessness (specify)
  • malicious actions (specify)

Recommendations for each type of hazard may be found in Chapter 7 Procedures of this manual

Also refer to each chemical's MSDS


Accident Investigation Report

Date of report: September 23, 1996

Report submitted to: A. Principal

Time/Date of event: 2:15 p.m. September 22, 1996

Place: Room 123 (Chem Lab)

Type of accident: Hot solution spill

Injury sustained by: A. Kidd

Teacher in charge: A. Chemist

Report submitted by: _______________________________

Names of two witnesses: ____________________________


Number of Students in Group: _______

Were other students or teachers injured at the same time? If so, attach a separate form for each individual injury.

Description of Accident: A student passing the lab bench caught the ring stand wing nut with a loose sleeve on his sweater. The entire stand, beaker, and its contents fell to the bench top. The beaker contained approximately 150 mL of a hot solution of sodium hydroxide (approximately 1.0 mol/L) which was being heated above a bunsen burner. When the solution spilled, A. Kidd was splashed from waist to knee on the left leg. The beaker did not break.

Result of Accident: A. Kidd's pants appear to be permanently stained. There was some heat and chemical damage to the skin on the student's thigh. Apparent extent of injury includes second-degree burns to a 10 cm by 20 cm area.

Action Taken: Students in the area were ordered away by the teacher. The main gas valve was turned off by a student on instruction from the teacher. At the same time, the teacher took the injured student to the side sink and used a shower spray attached to the faucet to flush the affected area for some time (approximately 15 minutes).

One student was sent to the office to report the accident and to ask administrators to arrange for transportation to the emergency ward. Another student was sent to get the help of the janitor in containing the considerable amount of water on the floor. The injured student was taken to emergency by the vice-principal. Clean-up involved neutralization of the sodium hydroxide with sodium carbonate.

Contributing factors include

  • positioning the heating set-up too close to the edge of the bench
  • building a heating set-up that is not sturdy enough because it is too high, and the components are too light to support the beaker and liquid safely
  • wearing loose clothing in a lab setting
  • crowding 35 students in an averaged-sized chemistry lab, leaving little room for movement
  • visiting friends who created unnecessary traffic (careless pushing and horseplay in the space near the supply station caused the student to return to the bench via the narrow space between two benches)
  • talking to a lab partner three benches away while passing near the heating set-up

Recommendations include

  • washing chemical off student with copious quantities of water (see MSDS)
  • removing affected clothing under the shower
  • previewing MSDS with students when hazardous chemicals are to be used
  • discussing the accident report with the students
  • controlling unnecessary student traffic and activity during the lab session
  • arranging the distribution of lab materials to minimize movement
  • reattaching the proper set-up of ring stands for heating
  • using hot plates for heating liquids whenever possible (increase the number of hot plates available)
  • requiring that loose clothing be restrained in the lab setting (use rubber bands or clips if necessary to secure clothing)
  • ensuring that a lab assistant or technician is present, if available, during lab work
  • warning students to wear appropriate clothing
  • ensuring that protective gear is available and in use


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