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Health and Safety Resources

Practical science – it’s still safe and it hasn’t been banned! 

Practical work is at the heart of science learning, yet there is a popular misconception that many practical activities in science can’t be carried out in schools because of the limitations imposed by health and safety legislation. The publications and links below offer guidance on how to plan safe and exciting practical work in science, engaging pupils without compromising health and safety standards.

  • Oh yes you can! (EiS 224) This article debunks myths around supposed bans of school science experiments.
  • New! Yes you can! Workshop (2016) These notes from ASE Annual Conference encourage practical science by helping teachers and technicians identify safe ways of working, and also to help develop new, exciting, and safe practical activities.

Contact ASE Health and Safety Group 

Key resources for health and safety

Secondary

Safeguards in the School Lab Essential reading for all new teachers and new heads of science.
Safe & Exciting Science Pack of INSET activities for use in science departments 
Topics in Safety Detailed discussion of issues, gradually being updated. See Revised Topics in Safety
Implications of REACH regulations for the teaching of practical chemistry – Joint advice for 11-19 teachers from ASE, RSC, CLEAPSS and SSERC

Primary

Be Safe! 4th edition Essential reading for all primary teachers 
Be Safe! Welsh edition Argraffiad Cymraeg Gofal Piau Hi! (available in digital format only)
Be Safe! INSET Pack Training materials for use in primary schools

Cross Phase Health and Safety Guidance

Health and safety in good practical science – ASE Policy Statement
Health and Safety Guidance for Governors and Head Teachers

Best Practice for Heads of Science

Managing health and safety in science departments Ideas about policies, training and monitoring 
How Safe is your Science Department? A manager's checklist 
Science leaders' survival guide How to ensure that practical science flourishes in the department by appropriate use of risk assessments 

Further guidance for ASE members

This guidance reprints various health & safety articles which have appeared over the years in ASE journals. Some date back a number of years but they are all checked to ensure that they still offer advice which is valid and useful. Most will show the date on which they were checked and in some cases there is a footnote to indicate any significant changes since the original article was written.

Physics Chemistry Biology General

Explosions in lead/acid batteries

Radford labpack: The end of an era

Electrical safety

Hazardous electrical sockets

Transmission line demonstration

Use of unsleeved 13A mains plugs

Cells and batteries 

Modified television receivers

Teaching electrical safety

Exploding capacitors

Model steam engines

Hazards in Physics laboratories

Evacuated bell jars 

12V immersion heaters: an explosion

Evacuated bell jars: implosion risk

Safeguard your sources

Flash-point data (also see Topics in Safety - Fire Precautions)

Sodium and water

Magnesium powder accident 

Safety fillers for pipettes

Potassium

Ethanal (Acetaldehyde) 

Oxidation of ethanol  

Carbon block fire 

Solid oxidising agents 

How toxic is it? 

Drying ovens explosion

Smelling gases

Alcohol fires 

Lithium explosion  

Picric acid

Preparation of chlorine 

Ion exchange resins

Accident with anti-bumping granules 

Accidents caused by blocked apparatus 

The’ Thermit’ Reaction 

Hydrogen

Sulphuric acid burns

Pressure vessels

Practical work with DNA

Biological myths and bans

Bovine eyeball dissection - letter

Ion-migration and electrophoresis

The dissection of bull’s eyes and BSE

Safety and the school pond

Dyes and stains used in biology 

Castor oil seeds

Chemicals for use in schools

Precautions in the use of mercury

Bunsen burner safety

Asthma and secondary science

Allergy and hyper-reactivity

The principles of electrical safety

Are laboratories with peripheral benching safe and fit for purpose?

Employment of pupils in school science laboratories

Class size in secondary schools

Teachers lacking experience of practical science

Health and safety training for teaching assistants

Managing health and safety in science departments

Safe science teaching for SEN

Teaching science for SEN

Security of chemicals

Safety and class size

Reducing eye injuries

Treatment of chemicals in the eye

Peanut allergy

Chemicals in the eye

Science Department safety policies 

Explosions caused by leaking gas fittings

Flammable jumpers

Gas cylinder regulators

Safety in out-of-school science

Hazards of modern hair styles

Incubators and ovens

Accidents in school labs: investigation reporting