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Safety Overview

In our places of work, we are all responsible for working in a safe manner. We are responsible for our own safety as well as providing a safe environment for students.

In school science there are many potential hazards we should be aware of. Many of these potential hazards can be avoided through using common sense, while training courses offer specific advice on a range of topics, including safety management.

CLEAPSS offer unrivalled safety support for school science. Their training courses cover a range of different areas and their publications are commonplace in preprooms across the country for good reason - they are essential for giving technicians and science teachers crucial safety advice on specific practicals, experiments, demonstrations and equipment.

The ASE also offer a range of training courses and safety publications.

Together these two organisations offer you a comprehensive array of safety advice, to a much greater extent than we ever could. We also feel that it would not be beneficial to offer specific content and advice that is readily available to you.

The practicals included on this website are conducted many times per year in many schools without any problem. Many of which will be well known to you, others may be new. If conducting one of our practicals for the first time, you must first check with CLEAPSS or ASE for the relevant safety advice. If specific chemicals are being used, check CLEAPSS Hazcards® or student safety sheets for advice.

The same goes for the information contained within our equipment and info library sections. It is your responsibility to ensure safety advice is sought and obeyed. The information we host is for information only. is not affiliated with CLEAPSS, ASE or any other company or organisation.

We will not be liable for any loss, damage, injury or inconvenience arising as a consequence of any use of or the inability to use any information on this site.

Equipment acquisition

Equipment purchased for school use must be suitable and safe for the intended purpose and is subject to the Provision and Use of Work Related Equipment Regulations 1998.

Equipment which is purchased from educational suppliers should be covered by these regulations and will be suitable for school use but care should be taken when purchasing from other sources or if equipment is donated by third parties.

Speak to your school's health and safety officer about any electrical equipment brought into school. It may well have to be PAT tested before it can be used, depending on your school or local authority policies.

Speak to CLEAPSS or the SSERC (in Scotland) if in any doubt over any safety aspects of new equipment and be aware that certain items may require staff training in order for them to use the item safely.

Eye Protection

Safety goggles must conform to BSEN1663 standard.

Safety spectacles must conform to BSEN166 standard. When purchasing eye protection, ensure that these standards are met.

Eye protection should be disinfected regularly and should be checked for damage or wear and tear which may hinder their operation.

Safety Books

The following books contain safety advice covering many different areas of school science. They are all essential reading and are a very useful selection to have in your prep room.

DfEE Safety in Science -This book is currently out of print but may be purchased through the booksales section of the ASE website:

COSHH Essentials is published by the Health and Safety Executive. ISBN: 07176 2421 8

Safeguards in the School Laboratory – 11th Edition – is published by the ASE Laboratory Safeguards Committee. ISBN: 978 0 86357 408 5

Topics in Safety – 3rd Edition – is published by the ASE. ISBN: 978 0 86357 316 3

Safety Reprints is published by the ASE. ISBN: 978 0 86357 409 2

First Aid Kits

Your school Health and Safety officer will advise on what should go into a first aid kit and may well prepare and maintain the kits themselves. There is no standard list of items to put in a first-aid box. It depends on what you assess the needs are. However, as a guide, and where there is no special risk in the workplace, a minimum stock of first-aid items, according to HSE recommendations, would be:

  • a leaflet giving general guidance on first aid, eg HSE leaflet Basic advice on first aid at work.
  • 20 individually wrapped sterile adhesive dressings (assorted sizes).
  • two sterile eye pads.
  • four individually wrapped triangular bandages (preferably sterile).
  • six safety pins.
  • six medium-sized (approximately 12 cm x 12 cm) individually wrapped sterile unmedicated wound dressings.
  • two large (approximately 18 cm x 18 cm) sterile individually wrapped unmedicated wound dressings.
  • one pair of disposable gloves.

You should not keep tablets or medicines in the first-aid box.

Lists of first aid training organisations are available from HSE's Infoline - 0845 345 0055

The free leaflet Basic advice on first aid at work (INDG347(rev1), 2006) is published by HSE Books. It is also available in priced packs of 20, ISBN 978 0 7176 6193 0.

More detailed practical guidance on complying with your first aid at work duties has been published by the Health and Safety Commission First aid at work. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981. Approved Code of Practice and guidance.

L74 HSE Books 1997 ISBN 978 0 7176 1050 1.

HSE Books publishes two first aid posters: Basic advice on first aid at work - HSE Books 2006 ISBN 978 0 7176 6195 4 and Electric shock: First aid procedures - HSE Books 2006 ISBN 978 0 7176 6203 6.

Information on all aspects of first aid at work is available on the first aid web pages of HSE's website at