Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

First Advisor

E. Scott Dunlap

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Second Advisor

Ronald Dotson

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Third Advisor

Bill Sullivan

Department Affiliation

Safety, Security, and Emergency Management

Abstract

This project is construed as a follow-up of the study conducted by Dr. Jack Gerlovich and his team to assess the status of science safety in Kentucky high schools in 2003-2004. The current study gathered online responses to an expanded survey from 57 high school chemistry teachers in Kentucky. The survey was developed to find answers to four main questions: What is the current status of safety in high school chemical laboratory in Kentucky? To what extent has this status improved or deteriorated since the creation and publication of the Total Science Safety-The Kentucky Edition CD in 2003? What are the main causes and relative frequency of accidents in the chemistry laboratories? And, what aspects of laboratory safety still need improvements in these laboratories and why? Our results indicated that a considerable number of classrooms and laboratories in Kentucky still did not meet the safety laws and standards especially with respect to area, size, and the existence of proper equipment. Chemistry teachers in Kentucky high schools communicate to their students the importance of safety practices and responsible conduct at the beginning of each chemistry course. The majority of the teachers, however, are not familiar with many applicable science safety regulation and regulatory agencies other than OSHA. Most accidents in chemistry laboratories resulted from dealing with broken glassware or heat source and there has been a relatively high incidence of "serious" laboratory accidents in the past five years. Altogether, these results call for putting in place a continuous safety education system to store and share data about science safety and accidents among educators and possibly students in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The results also suggest requiring teachers to have proper safety training before being allowed to teach any science class.

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