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ASE 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.
  • We don’t do that -  it’s not safe anymore  (SSR 332) Investigates how over-cautiousness can inhibit good science teaching. 
  • Yes you can! Workshop (2015) These notes from ASE Annual Conference offer details of practical activities that are exciting and often innovative while being safe to carry out in spite of misconceptions to the contrary.

Contact ASE Health and Safety Group 

Key resources for health and safety


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


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
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

Flashpoints and autoignition temperatures 

The Chemicals List table

More sodium and water 

Reacting Sodium with water 

Magnesium powder accident 

Safety fillers for pipettes





Oxidation of ethanol  

Carbon block fire 

Solid oxidising agents 

How toxic is it? 

Accident with bromine   

Explosion in a drying oven

Dangers of smelling gases 

Alcohol fires 

Explosion with lithium  

Picric acid

The preparation of chlorine

Magnesium powder 

Suspected danger in the preparation of chlorine 

Ion exchange resins: explosion risk

Anti-bumping granules 

Cleaning combustion tubes 

Accidents caused by blocked apparatus 

The’ Thermit’ Reaction 


Precautions in the use of mercury

Sulphuric acid burns 

Explosions with natural gas 

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 hazards in biology teaching

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