Minimum Safety Guidelines





    The Michigan Science Teachers Association, an organization of science education professionals dedicated to the stimulation, improvement, and coordination of science teaching and learning, supports prudent safety and regulations at all levels.  Presenters, workshop leaders, contestants, and authors at MSTA-sponsored activities serve as roll models for other science educators.  As role models, these individuals must develop, encourage, and display prudent safety practices at all times.  A model safety role promotes positive safety in actions, words, behavior, and deeds.  Science safety is an integral part of science education and serves as a preparation for life.  Accordingly, MSTA encourages teachers to offer meaningful and safe science experiences in both inside and outside the classroom.  MSTA requires that all presentations, workshops, and related science-education activities, be conducted in accordance with legal health and safety standards/regulations and professional prudent safety practices.  The intent of the following safety guidelines is to promote safe science practices at all MSTA-sponsored activities.





1.  Parts of the body are not to be placed in danger, such as placing dry ice in the mouth, dipping hands or

    fingers into liquid nitrogen or molten lead, or exposing the hands and fact to microorganisms.     

    Demonstrations such as the following shall not be conducted:

  • walking on broken glass or hot coals of fire with bare feet
  • passing an electric current through the body
  • lying on a bed of nails and having a concrete block broken over the chest.

2.  Live vertebrate animals may not be used in demonstrations or for experimental purposes.  Such

    animals may be used for observational purposes, provided the animals have been lawfully

    acquired, are housed in proper containers, and are handled in a humane way following the NSTA’s

    “Guidelines for Responsible Use of Animals in the Classroom” (NSTA Position Statement).

    Any certification papers or vaccination documents shall be made available upon request.

3.  Animals are to be used for educational purposes and not for the explortation of the animal for  

   advertisement, commercial purpose, or for sensationalism. This includes use of animals in the Exhibit Hall.
    The Conference Hotel reserves the right to limit housekeeping services in sleeping rooms.

4.  Live ammunition, firearms, or acutely dangerous explosives, such as benzoyl peroxide, diethyl ether,

    perchloric acid, and sodium azide, may not be used.  Commercially available firecrackers and blasting

    caps shall never be employed.

5.  Plants with poisonous oils (e.g., poison ivy), saps (e.g., oleander) or other plants known to be generally

    toxic to humans are not to be used.  (Resource: Human Poisoning from Native and Cultivated Plants,

    by James W. Hardin and Jay M. Arena.  The publisher is Duke University Press, Durham, NC 27708).

6.  Experiments or demonstrations with human or animal blood/body fluid (other potentially infections

    Materials {OPMIs}) may not be conducted.

7.  Radioactive powders, liquids, or solution are not to be used in a non-laboratory facility.

8.  Scientific equipment such as bunson burners, hot plates, etc. must meet with approval of the

    Conference facility engineers (this is your responsibility).GUIDELINES FOR PREPARING YOUR PRESENTATION:

1.  Practice all demonstrations or workshops procedures BEFORE presenting them to an audience or having

    participants try them.  If participants take part in experiments or demonstrations, be sure to require

    appropriate personal protective equipment.

2.  Research and understand the properties, chemical reactions, and dangers involved in all demonstrations.

    Access and review the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for ALL chemicals prior to using them.

    Plan to use correct handling procedures for all chemicals biohazards used.  Arrange to have a fire  

    extinguisher available whenever the slightest possibility of fire exists.

3.  Prepare a handout that gives participants detailed instructions about the procedures, safety precautions,

    hazards and disposal methods for each demonstration.

4.  Prepare photographs, slides, videotapes, and so on that show safe science practices.  When preparing

    these materials, safety goggles and equipment shall not be removed for aesthetic considerations.

5.  In planning demonstrations and/or workshops, keep quantities of hazardous materials to a minimum.  

    Use only those quantities that can be adequately handled by the available ventilation system.  Do not

    carry out demonstrations that will result in the release of harmful quantities of noxious gases into the

    local air supply in the demonstration or other rooms.  The following gases shall not be produced without

    using a fume hood:

  • nitrogen dioxide
  • sulfur dioxide
  • hydrogen sulfide

Volatile, toxic substances such as:

  • benzene
  • carbon tetrachloride
  • formaldehyde shall not be used unless a fume hood is available.

6.  Wear appropriate eye protection, an apron, and similar protective gear for all chemical demonstrations or

    when appropriate for other demonstrations.  Provide eye protection, aprons, and safety equipment for

    participants who will be handling chemicals, hazardous substances, or working with flames.

7.  Do not select “volunteers” from the audience.  Assistants used in demonstrations shall be recruited and

    given the proper instructions beforehand.

8.  Warn participants to cover their ears whenever a loud explosion is anticipated.

9.  Use a safety shield for all demonstrations that involve the launching of projectiles, or whenever there is

    the slightest possibility that a container, its fragments, or its contents could be propelled with sufficient

    force to cause injury.  Shield moving belts attached to motors.  Use caution when motor-driven discs are

    revolved at moderate or high speeds.  Shield or move participants to a safe distance from the plane of

    the rotating disc.

10. Follow proper procedures for working with pressurized gases.

11. Use appropriate gloves and shield when working with hazardous chemicals, cryogenic materials, hot

    materials, radioactive substances, vacuums, electromagnetic radiation, and when presenting animals

    for observation.

12. Do not taste or encourage participants to taste any non-food substance.  A food subjected to possible

    contamination or unsafe conditions shall never be tasted.

13. Note clearly at the beginning of the program the presence or production of allergenic materials such as

    “theater” smoke, lycopodium powder, or live animals.

14. Maintain clear egress during the demonstration or workshop.

15. Emphasize and demonstrate appropriate safety precautions throughout the presentation or workshop.

16. Distribute a handout that will give participants detailed instructions about the procedure, safety precautions, hazards, and disposal for each demonstration.

17. Make sure any lasers to be used in demonstrations are helium-neon lasers with a maximum output

     power rating not exceeding 1.0 milliwatts.  At all times, avoid direct propagation of the laser beam

     from the laser into the eye o an observer or from a reflected surface.

18. Obtain in advance the necessary state and/or local permits needed for firing of model rockets. Activities

     involving the firing of rockets MUST be well planned and follow Federal Aviation Agency (FAA)

     regulations, state and local rules and regulations, and the National Association of Rocketry’s (NAR)

     Solid Propellant Model Rocketry Safety Code.


 Minimum Safety Guidelines Form