Safety in Student Laboratory

Posted by Michal Wozniakiewicz, Iwona Maciejowska, Bartosz Trzewik, on Oct. 3, 2022, 5:21 p.m.

Bartosz Trzewik, Aleksandra Lis, Iwona Maciejowska, Michał Woźniakiewicz, Katarzyna Zięba 

Faculty of Chemistry, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland

Students starting laboratory classes are often not aware of threats presented in laboratories during conducting laboratory work. From the other hand accidents in a laboratory of experimental type may lead to severe negative health effects. Proper behaviour and applying appropriate safety rules could reduce significantly the risk of an accident in the laboratory. Therefore teaching students safe behavior in the laboratury is an important part of their chemical education. The problem arises when the rules of safe work and behavior in the laboratory are taught inconsistently - in different ways by different teachers. This leads to unnecessary repetition of the same occupational health and safety issues during subsequent laboratory courses, which consumes the time and effort of the lecturers - without the guarantee of transferring knowledge to students in a complete way and ensuring proper conduct in the event of an accident.

Topic of the user case
This User Case deals with providing the teachers consistent set of means and ways of teaching their students safety behaviour and work in student labolatories where experimental work is conducted.

Local context (specific)
At the faculty of Chemistry at Jagiellonian University in Kraków each students of chemistry and related study programs spend several hundreds of hours in student laboratories, where they do laboratory work. The laboratory courses are led by different teachers, each (or at least most of them) teach the (same) safety rules in different ways, underlining various aspects and neglecting other – often randomly. Moreover the extracts from rules collected in the written form differ among courses. 

Local CPD Goals

  • To develop an ability of the academic teachers to prepare students of chemistry – and students of other faculties, who have chemistry laboratory classes – to behave and work safely in student chemical laboratory in a consistent way. A preliminary questionnaire will be sent to the teacher, that conduct laboratory classes – the questionnaire could hepl to devise the differencies in the safety rules that are teach by various teachers: it would describe the teachers' attitude towards teaching the safety rules.
    It could be underlined – in the introductory part of the questionnaire – that completing the User Case will allow to economise time and effort used for teaching the safety rules. 
  • To develop an ability of the academic teachers to prepare the students for proper behavior in a state of emergency in a chemical laboratory.
  • Designing a µMOOC that will teach aforementioned competences.
  • To raise awareness of the importance of safe behavior in the chemistry lab among students.


Needs defined in STEM-CPD Roadmap

13 teach about lab safety using digital tools/platform (where appropriate)
11 stimulate discussion
28 organize (online) collaborative learning
5 following online courses / MOOC about teaching and learning.

CPD activities at the local university
Preliminary questionnaire, carrying-on a µMOOC, follow-up meeting.

Teaching and learning materials
Preliminary questionnaire and a µMOOC.

Sustainable implementation

  • The µMOOC will allow the teachers to teach the students safety rules in a consistent way (this also means no unnecessary repetitions in higher years of study).
  • Moreover guidelines for the preparation of safety instructions for students will be created; the instructions will be disseminated among teaching assistants – these guidelines could include tests for the studends checking the awareness of the safety rules in the laboratory.   
  • A session during the Quality Teaching Week at JU will be organized to promote the µMOOC and present their developments.


Expected impact of the CPD User Case

  • Raising awareness of the importance of student work safety in a chemical laboratory among the teaching assistants.
  • Raising awareness of the importance of applying the safety rules during work in a chemical laboratory among the students.
  • Minimizing the risk of an accident during laboratory class.

Plans for eventual continuation of the CPD within the same topic
To be decided after executing the current user-case.


Engagement and motivation, facilitation discipline specific learning, Deep learning, Organize peer-feedback, collaborative learning (type P1-3b, P1-3c, P1-3d)

This CPD scenario describes a User case in which lecturers develop their competence in how to engage and motivate students and how to facilitate discipline specific thinking and how to facilitate student’s deep learning and development of higher cognitive skills and organizing peer-feedback and collaborative learning.
The approximate duration of a User case that follows this scenario is several days.
In this CPD scenario the participants are using a very short open online course, a micro mooc (μmooc) and professionalize in a close connection to their own teaching practice (at their workplace).

Learning environment
Several days

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