Contains the full lesson along with a supporting
toolkit, including teachers’ notes.
To develop an understanding of science it is necessary to explore science by learning through investigation and discovery. Learning by doing motivates and develops curiosity about the world around us. Practical work in science may involve exposure to something that may have the potential to cause harm or injury i.e. a hazard. In particular, it may involve exposure to any of the following hazards:
Chemical e.g. solvents, paints, solvent vapours, waste
Biological e.g. medical waste or samples of a micro-organism, virus or toxin (from a biological source)
Physical e.g. slips, trips or falls or sources of energy (noise, extremes in temperature or pressure)
It is important to know the hazards, to understand the risks (the likelihood of causing harm and the severity of that harm if it occurs) and apply controls/manage the risks, for example by wearing eyeprotection in a laboratory in which corrosive chemicals are used.
General safety control measures in the laboratory
Safety in the school laboratory is everyone’s concern and the aim is to ensure that no one gets hurt or becomes ill. The following control measures briefly outline ways of preventing accidents:
Do not enter the laboratory or use equipment without permission.
Do not eat or drink in the laboratory.
Be aware of safety signs and adhere to them.
In the event of an accident, inform the teacher immediately.
Be aware of the location of fire extinguishers/fire blankets; first aid box and eye wash station.
Wear eye protection when instructed.
Long hair should be tied back and dangling jewellery, baggy clothing etc. secured.
Hands should be washed after laboratory practical work.
Do not run; pay attention to where you are going.
True or False?
Do not wear safety goggles when working with chemicals.
If you do not understand an experiment you should try several methods until something works.
Horseplay or practical jokes in the laboratory can lead to serious accidents.
If you are injured in the laboratory (cut, burn etc.) you should tell the teacher immediately.
When you finish working always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Eating and drinking in the laboratory is allowed.
Dispose of waste material as instructed by the teacher.
Long hair must be tied back while working in the laboratory.
Always read the hazard label before working with chemicals.
Some chemicals used in the school laboratory are hazardous.
An SDS is supplied with each hazardous chemical.
Disinfect bench before and after working with micro-organisms.
Science and Technology in Action (STA) is designed to support the teaching and learning of science and related subjects.
Each annual edition of STA contains a set of lessons that are industry led to be used by all teachers in second level schools. These lessons are available on this website and can be downloaded in a pdf format along with their supporting materials.
A hard copy is usually sent out for free to all second level schools each school year.
Science and Technology in Action (STA) is proudly supported and partnered by some of Ireland’s leading organisations and is produced in close cooperation with the support services of the Department of Education and Skills and the Irish Science Teachers Association (ISTA).