Science Safety

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Purpose of Document

This resource manual provides information to help educators ­- particularly classroom teachers ­- make sound decisions regarding science safety.

The teaching of science requires the active involvement of students in laboratory procedures. Safety guidelines support and encourage the investigative approach generally and laboratory instruction specifically, while at the same time assisting in the development of a safe teaching environment. These guidelines also promote environmentally responsible practices.

Under the Public Schools Act the Lieutenant Governor in Council has the responsibility to prescribe courses of study, adopt and prescribe textbooks, and authorize supplementary and other instructional materials for use in public schools. Manitoba Education, Training and Youth has developed this resource manual, in part, to aid schools and school districts to carry out their responsibilities under the Act.

In the final analysis, it is the science teacher in the classroom who is in the best position to decide which activities are to be performed by students, carried out as a demonstration, or omitted entirely. Please note the comments within this resource manual regarding the expectations of teachers.

Science Safety: A Resource Manual for Teachers, Schools and School Divisions contains nine chapters. To allow for future revisions of individual chapters, the handbook is paginated by chapter (for example, page 1.3 is the third page of Chapter 1; page 2.3 is the third page of Chapter 2). A brief description of each chapter follows.

Chapter 1: Actions Toward Science Safety describes actions at the classroom, school, and divisional levels which can serve as a starting point for the implementation of effective science safety procedures.

Chapter 2: Responsibilities describes duties to be carried out by each level of the school system which will ensure a safe science environment.

Chapter 3: Early Years provides Early Years science teachers with relevant safety-related information.

Chapter 4: Middle and Senior Years describes safety equipment and hazards specific to science classrooms at the Middle and Senior Years levels.

Chapter 5: Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) describes the various requirements and responsibilities flowing from this legislation.

Chapter 6: Storage and Disposal describes safe chemical storage and disposal practices for a variety of situations.

Chapter 7: Hazards provides information about common hazards encountered in science laboratories and describes appropriate control procedures.

Chapter 8: Accident Prevention and Safety Management lists the causes of many accidents, and describes how they can be prevented using safety management techniques.

Chapter 9: Guidelines and Standards for Construction and Renovation of Science Facilities in Manitoba Schools describes factors to be considered when planning science facilities.