Science K-12 Safety

In implementing the Science Standards of Learning, teachers must be certain that students know how to follow safety guidelines, demonstrate appropriate laboratory safety techniques, and use equipment safely while working individually and in groups.

Safety must be given the highest priority in implementing the K-12 instructional program for science. Correct and safe techniques, as well as a wise selection of experiments, resources, materials, and field experiences appropriate to age levels, must be carefully considered with regard to the safety precautions for every instructional activity. Safe science classrooms require thorough planning, careful management, and constant monitoring of student activities. Class enrollment should not exceed the designed capacity of the room.

Teachers must be knowledgeable of the properties, use, and proper disposal of all chemicals that may be judged as hazardous before their use in an instructional activity. Such information is referenced through Safety Data Sheets (SDS), which conform to the requirements of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), effective May 2012. The identified precautions involving the use of goggles, gloves, aprons, and fume hoods must be followed as prescribed.

Science Lab Safety Image

Occupational Safety and Health Administration;
International Science and Engineering Fair rules;
Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Science Safety Handbook on the VDOE Science Instruction webpage;
American Chemical Society (ACS) resources: Safety in the Elementary Science Classroom, Chemical Safety for Teachers and their Supervisors, and Guidelines for Chemical Laboratory Safety on the ACS webpage; andpublic health departments’ and school divisions’ protocols and chemical hygiene plans.