Teaching a laboratory class poses additional risk as compared to conventional instruction in a classroom. The following guidelines are reviewed during orientation for all new graduate student teaching assistants but should also be read by any other individuals who may be called upon to give laboratory instruction to undergraduates.
|Primary Safety Responsibilities of Laboratory Instructors|
1. Eye Protection
You must wear accepted eye protection yourself and it is your responsibility to make sure that the students do too. "Acceptable eye protection" are goggles with indirect venting (Chem Stores, Gilbert 154). Wearing of contact lenses is not encouraged in the laboratory. However, if no alternative exists, goggles must be marked with colored dots of paint on each side and a form acknowledging cautions when wearing contacts must be filed with supervisor.
The entire body must be covered continuously from the shoulders to below the knees. Shoes must cover the toes. No sandals.
Attend to injuries immediately. Summon help if necessary: instructor in charge of course; Kristi Edwards (GBAD 006); or Dr. Chris Pastorek (Gilb 247).
Student Health Services - instructor or staff member must accompany victim - not another student.
Telephones are in issue rooms (GBAD 010, 210, 410, or 311).
Student Health Services: 7-9355. Corvallis emergency medical team, ambulance and fire: 9-911.
4. Accident reports
Both you and the victim must file a report on any accident requiring medical attention within 24 hours. Don't let the victim disappear without filing the report. Accident report forms are available here.
5. Safety Equipment
Make sure that you and your students know the location of the nearest: safety shower, eyewash, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, fire blanket, evacuation route, fire alarm and telephone.
Make sure that at least one instructor is in the laboratory at all times. Never work alone in the laboratory and never leave your students unattended.
Make sure that the laboratory is cleaned up at the end of each period and all gas and water valves are turned off. Report all utility problems, such as gas leaks, hoods off, or plumbing leaks, etc to Kristi Edwards.
8. Safety Consciousness
Give your safety orientation talk to your students before they do any lab work. Warn them of particular hazards before each experiment. Do not allow any unscheduled experiments (these often have unexpected hazards). Be firm on safety from the very first day. Inform the professor in charge if you consider any procedures unsafe. Your feedback is very important.
In advance, check the chemicals for your course and make sure they are correct for the current experiment. Follow specific directions for waste disposal that are given at the weekly staff meetings. Log in waste amounts when required to do so. When your lab is over, make sure that all the bottle caps are back on reagent bottles, the bottles are back on the reagent shelf and check that the caps and tops of waste bottles for your section are on and are closed before you leave. All eco-funnel lids must be in the down position (closed).
|Common Accidents in the Teaching Laboratory|
What are the most common accidents and how can they be avoided?
1. Corrosive chemicals (strong acids and bases) are spilled on hands from common-use reagent bottles and dispensers, or on clothes from the stainless steel flange in front of the hood or lab bench.
2. Fume hoods turn off inadvertently, due to bad fan belts or for repairs, etc.
3. Natural gas stopcocks not completely turned off; sinks dripping.
4. Skin is cut by working with chipped glassware or during breakage of cracked glassware.
5. Mercury thermometers break and spill mercury on the bench or floor.
6. Hot plates not turned off.
7. Flammable liquids ingnite when using in the vacinity of hot plates or heating mantles, even when working in the fume hood.
8. Hot metal or glass objects don't appear hot!
What to do if an accident occurs in the laboratory under your supervision?
|Enforcement of Safety Regulations in Chemistry Teaching Laboratories|
As a laboratory Teaching Assistant your first objective should be to see that no student of yours suffers an accident. If an accident does occur, it is not a question of who is sorry, but who is responsible. The State of Oregon, the faculty member in charge and the teaching assistant may be liable in any legal action that arises from an accident. If you meet these requirements in a manner that could reasonably be expected from a group of persons in your capacity, you are doing what is legally required. Your professional position requires that you:
Specific OSU safety regulations that apply to your position as a laboratory teaching assitant include:
Assume that your student have no experience in recognizing hazards in a chemical laboratory. Understand that it is your job to inform them of any and all hazards in the lab and how to take the appropriate precautions in order to avoid personal injury to themselves and to others. Prior to your laboratory class meeting, meet with the faculty member in charge, who will explain and demonstrate as appropriate, the safety procedures to be followed in the laboratory.
Fully explain the safety procedures to all of your students. Go over the written rules provided for them in full detail and allow adequate time for explanations and answers to their questions.
Require that each student sign and date the last page of Safety Regulations and that you initial it. Ask each student in each of your sections to sign the Safety Rule Verification form. You initial and date this form and return it to the issue room on your lab floor. The students should fasten the Safety Regulations into their manuals, if not already printed in the manual and instruct them to refer to these throughout the term. Enforce these rules at all times. If a student will not comply, tell him/her to leave the laboratory and report this to the faculty member in charge of the course.
As the term proceeds, explain all potential hazards and safety procedures that may arise in the course of the experiment. These should be mentioned in writing in the manual and duscussed at the weekly course staff meeting.
Whenever a situation arises in the laboratory that you believe to be unsafe, report it at once to the faculty member in charge. Stop work if, in your judgement, such action is necessary. Overcrowding of space can be hazardous and it is recommended that no more than six students per bench side, and no more than twenty-five students per instructor be permitted in a laboratory.