Chemical Safety: Protecting Ourselves And Our Environment;
These suggested assignments are intended to accompany each topic of the course. You are NOT expected to do all of these assignemnts. The lists are provided as possible assignments by your instructor or as ideas for independent projects.
Introduction to the course and Introduction to safety (prior to September 19)
- Examine some of the links from the course website and write a brief description of what you found.
- Try several search engines to find information on a topic related to laboratory safety. Which search engines seemed to be the best at providing the requested information.
- Look up and summarize recent laboratory or industrial accidents at the Chemical Incident Report Center at http://www.chemsafety.gov/circ/, OSHA SIC 8221 for colleges and Universities, or OSHA SIC 8211 for K to 12. Suggest steps that could have prevented or minimized the incident?
- Make a list of some of the major things you know about laboratory safety. What questions do you have?
- Make a list of some things you would like to learn from this course and share it with your class and the other participants via OLCC-STU.
- Obtain a list of safety rules for your course and a copy of your school's Chemical Hygiene Plan (if available).
- Home Safety.
TOPIC I. How does a prudent person plan a laboratory experiment? (Sep 19-Oct 9)
- What is the availability of MSDS and other safety sources in your laboratory/school? How could this access be improved?
- Select a chemical and compare data from the label, MSDS, CLIPS, LCSS, NIOSH and other sources. What information is most significant to a researcher?
- What kind of eye protection is required and under what conditions? Are your school's requirements consistent with the recommendations found in the readings?
- How are chemicals stored at your school? Is there room for improvement?
- What policy should be implemented for pregnant women in the laboratory?
- What policy should be implemented for students allergic to certain chemicals? What substances are some of the likely suspects?
- Prepare a glossary of safety terms from the list provided.
- What is the chain of command at your institution? Revise Figure 1.1 or Prudent Practices to fit the organizational structure of your institution.
- Are there any disagreements in the information found in Prudent Practices, SACL and the safety rules adopted at your institution? Evaluate any differences.
- What does the cliché, "The dose makes the poison" mean? Give an example.
- How can I calculate a toxic dose of a substance?
- Compare multiple sources of safety information (1 should be a MSDS) and critique them. I assigned my students two chemicals and suggested sources like Merck, Bretherick's, RTEC, etc. and asked them to summarize the type of information provided, how user friendly it was (is this reference more for
lab employees or is it useful to "non-lab" personnel who may also come into contact with the chemicals), etc.
- Make a map of the commonly used undergraduate lab spaces and label such
items as:electrical shut-offs, water shut-offs, fire extinguishers, exits, safety showers, eyewashes, etc.
4. Visit your region's EPA site and find the articles published with
regards to citations against local universities. I had my students rank the
citations...what situation caused the most citations down to the least and
summarize the total $$ amounts.
TOPIC II. How does a prudent person manage chemicals and dispose of wastes to minimize risk from exposure to hazardous materials? (Oct 10-30)
- Conduct a critical evaluation of an experiment.
- Write a procedure for an experiment with an alternative to minimize waste.
- Discussion on local (state and sanitary district) methods of disposable (sewer, incineration, sanitary landfill, etc.)
- What does your local discharge ordinance for your local water system permit to be poured down the drain?
- Discussion of advantages and disadvantages of microscale, pollution prevention strategies (Green chemistry), and simulations.
TOPIC III. How does a prudent person prevent or respond to an emergency in the laboratory? (Oct 31-Nov 20)
- Prepare an emergency action plan for your school.
- Prepare a guide for use of laboratory hoods at your school.
- Write a critique of the chemical hygiene plan of your department.
- Weighing the risks and benefits of an experiment or chemical used in a lab at your school.
- Carry out an inspection of your school or local high school.
- Develop an appropriate dress code for students in a chemistry laboratory. Be sure to address such issues as long hair, jewelry, shorts, tank tops, sandals, etc.
- Thumbs up? George Wahl Jr. made the following quote in regard to safety videos. "Videos in general, are among the best and the worst teaching devices. If used as "complete coverage" of any topic, they are terrible…. If used as discussion stimulator, they can be among the most effective of teaching devices." If your school uses a safety video write a critique based on the information gained in this course.
- It has been claimed that many industrial firms have found that the chemists they hire are inadequately prepared in safety matters. Interview a manager at a local industry and learn what safety skills students should learn in college to better prepare them for an industrial career in science
This page is maintained by
Scott Van Bramer
Department of Chemistry
Chester, PA 19013
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times since 6/1 /2003 .
Last Updated 1/5/96