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How to Establish Lab Safety Procedures in Your Middle or High School Classroom

Establishing lab safety procedures is essential to create a safe learning environment for middle and high school students. Whether you are testing the water quality in a local pond in your Environmental Science class, or using calorimeters to exemplify the concept of specific heat in your Earth and Space Science class, lab-specific policies and procedures must be followed to ensure everyone’s safety. Here are some steps that can help you establish lab safety procedures in your classroom:

1. Assess the hazards

Before starting any lab activity, identify the potential hazards and risks associated with the activity. This will help you create safety protocols and procedures that will help minimize or eliminate the risks.

2. Develop safety protocols

Develop safety protocols for each lab activity, including the use of safety equipment such as goggles, gloves, and lab coats. Make sure students understand the importance of following these protocols.

3. train students

Train your students on lab safety procedures, including the proper use of equipment and handling of chemicals. This can include both verbal instruction and written guidelines that you can share with your students.

4. Conduct safety drills

Conduct safety drills with your students to ensure they understand what to do in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or chemical spill.

5. post safety rules

Post safety rules in a prominent location in your classroom, and review them regularly with your students. This can include the use of visual aids like posters or infographics.

6. Create an emergency response plan

Create an emergency response plan and ensure your students understand what to do in the event of an emergency. This can include knowing the location of fire extinguishers and first aid kits.

7. Review and evaluate

Review and evaluate your lab safety procedures regularly to ensure they are up-to-date and effective in keeping your students safe.

Depending on which science you teach, your focus will shift to highlight certain aspects of lab safety. Some classes are heavily focused on chemicals, eye wash stations, deluge showers, fire extinguishers, fume hoods, and safety blankets. Others may not be as much. The common thread, though, is maintaining a safe and orderly environment. Setting clear expectations before your first hands-on lab is
imperative.

In my Earth and Space Science class, we typically review lab safety around the third week of school. The lab safety mini-unit comes after scientific method, unit conversions, scientific notation, and variables. You can check it out by clicking the image above or HERE, and don’t forget to join my email list! Subscribers get my lab procedures freebie.

Establishing lab procedures keeps everyone safe, and this is certainly a key part of learning. Comment below with how you establish lab procedures or share questions you may have.

Interested in learning more? Check out the resource linked above. Your kids will love it!

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