Using Solvents Safely Describes safe work methods, health concerns, solvent management approaches and gives references.
Agriculture and industry rely on clean water, soil, air and an ongoing supply
of natural resources. Teaching labs can produce the same wastes as their counterparts
in industry and production agriculture. Preventing pollution before it happens
reduces waste, conserves energy, saves money and improves lab and workshop safety.
Understanding the philosophy of pollution prevention makes it easier to implement
P2 practices and achieve the benefits.
Practicing Pollution Prevention in the classroom and teaching laboratory is
important because it:
makes an immediate contribution by reducing wastes and conserving energy
enhances personal safety for students and instructors reducing school liability
teaches students values and practices they will take with them into their
Teaching Area Considerations:
Many of the chemicals, compounds, and substances in teaching areas are not
used on a daily basis and often are not used at all during the summer months.
This leaves long periods of storage time increasing the potential for leakage,
mishandling, spills, etc. In addition, most school districts require teachers
to buy supplies for an entire academic year, often a cause for over-purchasing.
An accurate and current inventory will give a comprehensive picture of the possible
hazards involved and encourage careful and continuous monitoring.
Teaching laboratories have a multitude of users, including teachers, students
in the program, custodians, and others. This diminishes the feeling of "one
person in charge." The teacher is generally responsible for the facility,
but it is difficult for a teacher to know everything that happens therein. Without
training and careful supervision of all laboratory users, the person in charge
may be unaware of a problem until complications develop.
The majority of users are in the lab for short time periods. Typically students
are in a facility for only an hour per day, and facilities are rarely occupied
more than 8 hours per day leaving large blocks of time for a problem to worsen
unmonitored. Agricultural teaching laboratories tend to be fairly large, open
facilities that make monitoring each specific area in the lab difficult.
Because of these differences between a teaching area and the common work situation,
extra vigilance is necessary to prevent pollution and waste. By involving students,
faculty, maintenance and administrative personnel in a team approach, facilities
can maintain a clean and safe environment for learning and teach students principles
they can carry into their careers.