Chemical safety is an important component of science education for everyone, not just for chemistry majors. Developing a responsible and knowledgeable attitude towards chemical safety best starts at the early stages of a student's career. In many colleges and universities, safety education in undergraduate chemistry has been relegated primarily to a few regulatory documents at the beginning of a laboratory course, or an occasional warning in the description of a specific experiment in a prelaboratory lecture. Safety issues are seldom raised in general chemistry or organic chemistry lecture-based chemistry courses. At Iowa State University we have begun to implement a program, Chemical Hygiene and Safety in the Laboratory, into the undergraduate chemistry curriculum. This program is designed to increase the awareness and knowledge of proper chemical hygiene and laboratory safety issues among all students taking general chemistry and organic chemistry courses. Laboratory protocol, use of safety equipment, familiarity with MSD sheets, basics of first aid, some specific terminology surrounding chemical hygiene, EPA and OSHA requirements, and the use of the World Wide Web to search and locate chemical safety information are topics that are applied throughout the chemistry curriculum. The novelty of this approach is to incorporate MSD sheets and safety information that can be located on the World Wide Web in a series of safety problems and assignments, all related to the chemistry experiments students are about to perform. The fundamental idea of our approach is not only to teach students what is required for appropriate safety measures, but also to involve them in the enforcement of basic prudent practices.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gordon-miller/59/