The Association for Science Education

Revised Topics in Safety

The 3rd (2001) print edition of Topics in Safety is no longer available from the ASE bookshop. There is a rolling programme to gradually revise each Topic. Those so far completed are available free of charge to ASE members and are available to download here.

Revised Topics in Safety

Topic 1: Managing health and safety

This Topic concentrates on the significant management principles such as the need to make arrangements for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of preventative and protective measures. 

Topic 2: Teaching health and safety through science

Though students have always been taught to work safely, this topic covers the general requirement that they will be taught about health and safety and how it should be implemented. 

Topic 3: Science Technicians

This topic covers the induction of new technicians, risk assessment, lone working, health and safety in the prep room and other issues.

Topic 4: Manual handling

This topic looks at what the law requires and suggestions for inclusion into the departmental health and safety policy.

Topic 5: Eye protection and other personal protective equipment

Although the duty rests with the employer, in practice the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) in science is delegated to the head of science.

Topic 7: Fume Cupboards

This Topic is a summary of important issues and the key points.

Topic 8: Fire precautions

This topic should help inform any risk assessment and offers guidance on how to ensure that the science department are adequately informed of hazards and safe techniques.

Topic 9: Signs and labels

A range of safety signs may be used in and around buildings to give safety information. This topic outlines the five categories.

Topic 10: Using chemicals

This Topic is written for anyone who uses chemicals, not just chemists. It eschews extensive tables of chemicals and their hazards, concentrating instead on the principles, as other publications are available with more extensive information.

Topic 11: Disposal of waste and unwanted materials

If you dispose of waste, you have a legal duty of care to make sure it is managed safely and disposed of lawfully. This topic covers minimising and disposing of different types of waste materials.

Topic 12: Assessing carcinogenic hazards

The purpose of this article is to present the known facts about those chemicals with carcinogenic potential which are likely to be found in schools and to suggest precautions in their use. 

Please also see the Topic 12: Appendix Selection of carcinogens

Topic 14: Living Organisms

In this topic we ask what are the health and safety fears that have contributed to the limited use of living organisms in biology teaching and how many of these fears are justified?

Topic 16: Working with DNA

DNA technologies feature in every UK course specification in biology or science. A limited but increasing range of practical work is possible, but it is essential that the relevant legal and safety regulations, particularly those governing genetic modification, are adhered to.  

Topic 18: Optical radiation: infrared, ultraviolet and visible light

This topic gives advice on assessing risks of optical radiation and what you need to consider if purchasing equipment such as lasers.

New! Topic 17: Electricity

This topic gives an overview of electrical risks and working with batteries, electrostatic machines, and different power supplies. Information is also provided on PAT testing, special notes for science demonstrations and repairs to equipment.

New! Topic 20: Working with Enzymes

This Topic is new and was not avaiable in the previous edition. It has been added because of the greater range of enzymes now available to schools and the current lack of straightforward, relevant publications for schools.