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.

Encouraging good practical science

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 (2017) 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.

Best Practice for Heads of Science and Headteachers

Managing health and safety in science departments Ideas about policies, training and monitoring 

How Safe is your Science Department? A manager's checklist 

Health and Safety Guidance for Governors and Head Teachers (Welsh translation)

ASE Science Leaders' Survival Guide How to ensure that practical science flourishes in the department by appropriate use of risk assessments (Teacher members only)

Further guidance

This guidance reprints various health and 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.





Accidents in school laboratories 

Biological myths and bans

Accidents caused by blocked apparatus 

12V Immersion heaters 

Bunsen burner safety 

Bovine eye dissection 

Alcohol fires

Cells and batteries 

Chemicals in the eye 

Castor oil seeds 

Anti bumping granules 

Electrical safety 

Class size safety

Dissection of bulls' eyes and BSE 

Carbon block fire 

Evacuated bell jars 

Employment of pupils 

Dyes and stains used in biology 

Chlorine preparation

Capacitor explosions 

Eye injuries, reducing

Ion-migration and electrophoresis 


Lead and acid batteries 

Eyes, Treatment for chemicals in the

Pressure vessels 

Ethanol oxidation

Radford Labpacks 

Flammable Jumpers 

Safety and the school pond 

Explosion is a drying oven

Safeguard of sources 

Gas cylinder regulators 


How toxic is it 

Transmission line demonstration 

Hazards of hairstyles 




Incubators and ovens 


Ion exchange resins 


Science department safety policies 


Lithium explosions


Security of chemicals 


Magnesium Powder Accident 


Teaching Assistants, Health and Safety Training 


Picric acid 




Pipettes, Safety fillers








Smelling gases




Sodium reasction with water 




Solid oxidising agents 




Sulphuric acid burns 




Thermit reaction, The 


Key resources and publications available from the bookshop

The purpose of these notes is to encourage practical science by helping teachers and technicians identify safe ways of working, and also to help...
ASE Health and Safety Group


An over-cautious approach to health and safety is inhibiting good science teaching. 
Peter Borrows


Safety Matters! Collection

Collected articles from the Health and Safety Specialist group.

Sat, 05/19/2018


Top resource
How to stay safe in the prep room and classroom. This resource offers detailed look at topics including working with DNA and the use of chemicals.


Top resource
A guide for survival in school science departments! This resource is handbook for managing a busy school science department and shares insights from...
Helen Harden