As I follow the conversations about the most recent chemistry classroom accident in Manhattan (see my previous blog post), I see that many agree that we need to advocate for adequate required safety training of our present and pre-service teachers. A good starting point is to pursue training on our own. This past year I began watching the Flinn Safety videos. I know they are good ones. I haven’t seen other free training like this available, but I would love to hear of other opportunities to share here. Read this message from Dr. Irene Cesa, Senior Scientist and Technical Consultant for Flinn Scientific, Inc. If you are interested in seeing a video clip specific to the recent tragedy, she gives precise information so that you can easily find the correct video excerpt.
Several respondents have mentioned the need for improved laboratory and chemical safety training for science teachers to prevent tragic accidents such as the recent one in New York City. In 2010 Flinn Scientific developed a comprehensive, free, online laboratory safety course specifically for science teachers. This course can be easily accessed by any teacher at any time from any computer or mobile device.
The Flinn Scientific Laboratory Safety Course includes units on liability and the teacher's duty of care; chemical safety regulations; personal protective equipment; and safe laboratory practices. Chapter 30, Safety Guidelines for Chemical Demonstrations, reviews general principles for safely performing chemical demonstrations and specifically addresses in detail a checklist of safety rules for using methyl alcohol, including remove the alcohol container from the demonstration area and, most importantly, NEVER add more alcohol to a demonstration once it is underway. I encourage all science teachers to please view this 13-minute video to remind themselves of essential safety practices for working with flammable liquids. (The excerpt on methyl alcohol occurs at time code 4:30-7:57.)
The laboratory safety course consists of 45 individual video chapters organized into ten major safety content areas. Each video chapter is 5-20 minutes long, depending on content, and the entire viewing time is about 7-1/2 hours. The chapters may be viewed separately and in any order. A special certification course sequence is available for teachers who wish to document their safety training. The certification requires that teachers register, view all of the chapters in a unit, and complete a short, multiple-choice assessment for each unit. Handouts may be downloaded with additional practical information and tools to increase teachers' safety awareness, improve school safety, and prevent accidents.
Flinn Scientific is dedicated to providing the very best safety information and resources to facilitate your vital work. Please call or e-mail me if you have any questions or would like additional information. Thank you!
Irene G. Cesa, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist and Technical Consultant
Flinn Scientific, Inc.