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Lab and Shop Safety in Schools | Sécurité des laboratoires et ateliers dans les écoles


[TITLE: Lab and Shop Safety in Schools] My name is Steve Watts. I’m an industrial
inspector with the Ministry of Labour from Central Region. Today we’re at Central Technical
High School in downtown Toronto and I’m going to show you some of the things that an inspector
would look for doing an inspection in shops and labs in the school. The Occupational Health and Safety Act and
the Education Act work together to ensure the safety of both students and staff at the
school. Usually, Ministry of Labour Inspections are
not scheduled and unannounced. “Hi, my name’s Steve Watts. I’m with the Ministry
of Labour. I’m here to speak to whoever’s in charge of health and safety.” To Principal: “It’s nice to meet you. I’m
here today to conduct a proactive inspection of your school, focusing on the shops and
the chemistry rooms or chemistry labs.” When I arrive at a school, I ask to speak
to the Principal and Worker Health and Safety Representative. Together, I review with them,
Joint Health & Safety Committee minutes, meetings, inspection records and that appropriate postings
are on the Health and Safety Board that is posted where staff have access to it. Steve: “Required to be posted as per the Act would
be a copy of the Occupational Health & Safety Act, a current Occupational Health & Safety
Policy…” When I’m conducting an inspection, I usually
take an employer representative and a worker representative with me on the inspection. When inspecting areas where chemicals are
stored we look for things being stored properly, safely. Acids and bases, for example, not
being stored together in the same cabinet, proper first aid equipment, eye wash stations
nearby, fire equipment, extinguishers, fire blankets, at close at hand as well. Steve: “I see you have a fume hood in operation
here. A primary concern would be that, when you are using the fume hood, that you have
the sash at a safe level. How often do you inspect your fume hood?”
Teacher: “We get ours checked every year.” Steve: “Great.”
Steve: “When you’re transporting chemicals to a class, how do you do that?”
Teacher: “When a teacher puts in a requisition, what I’ll do is I’ll put the chemicals that
have been requested in bins and then I’ll put those bins on these carts and then they’ll
roll it to their classrooms.” Chemical mixing rooms need to have proper
ventilation. If chemicals are being prepared and transported to classrooms, they need
to be properly transported in a method that will not make it possible for them to tip.
Spill kits need to be made available as well and also sharps containers for broken glass
in the lab need to be provided as well. Material Safety Data Sheets are required for
any WHIMIS-controlled product and can exist both in paper form and/or electronic form. Teacher: “So, good morning everyone. Today,
I’m going to demonstrate for you a really spectacular reaction. I’m going to oxidize
sugar. So, as the potassium chlorate is melting, it’s decomposing into potassium chloride and
oxygen. This is water gas and carbon dioxide and a bit of carbon. So, not harmful gases
at all.” If a teacher’s conducting an experiment, the
expectation is that the teacher will be properly prepared with personal protective equipment
for both themself and for the students involved in the experiment and to properly ensure that
their methods, or procedure that they’re using in the experiment have considered all aspects
of both health and safety for themselves and for the students in the class. Personal protective equipment can include
things such as goggles, a face shield, gloves or aprons. Things that I look for when doing an inspection
of machinery in a school would be training, lock out, guards preventing access to a moving
part and the units, devices being maintained in good condition. Auto Shop teachers are required to carry Certificate
of Qualifications when working on any licensed vehicles in their shop class. Hot work, in a school setting, can include
things such as cutting, brazing, welding, and/or grinding. When doing hot work, precautions must be taken
to ensure the item, for example, being cut has been properly purged and no hazardous
atmosphere exists that could become ignited. Reasonable precautions with the storage of
flammable goods and liquids are to have these stored in a flammable cabinet that is well-ventilated
and adequate grounding and bonding should be ensured. The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires
monthly inspections of a workplace. At the conclusion of my field visit, my inspection
findings are summarized in a Field Visit Report and if there are any items to be corrected
under the Occupational Health & Safety Act, orders may be issued to the employer for contraventions to be corrected. In a school environment, teachers have the
opportunity to provide a model workplace and example to the students of today and the future
workers of the province of Ontario. Please visit the following websites for more
information. Ministry of Labour – www.labour.gov.on.ca
Live Safe Work Smart – www.livesafeworksmart.net Public Services Health & Safety Association
– www.healthandsafetyontario.ca/PSHSA/Home.aspx Special Thanks:
[Central Technical School logo] [Toronto District School Board logo]

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