Hazards of the classroom

Written by william mccoy
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Hazards of the classroom
Every classroom can contain obvious and subtle hazards. (book in classroom image by Maya Kruchancova from Fotolia.com)

While every classroom is designed to be a place for learning, it may have any number of hazards that can make it dangerous. Classroom hazards vary greatly, depending on the class and the age of the students in the room. A chemistry lab, for example, has different hazards than a language arts room. Yet, both classrooms can be hazardous.

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Types of Hazards

Classroom hazards can be related to many different things, including the type of classroom, the age of the building and the quality of the room's construction. Because of chemicals, gas burners and glass beakers, chemistry classrooms can be seen as hazardous. But a seemingly less-hazardous classroom, such as a geography room, can be hazardous if it was constructed or set up poorly. Such an example is a bookshelf that is filled with heavy books and not properly anchored to the wall. Likewise, if a wall-mounted object, such as a television, has lost its sturdiness over time, students sitting below the TV could be at risk.

Minor Hazards

A minor classroom hazard is a danger that could cause a minor disturbance in the classroom, resulting in a close call or minor injury. This type of hazard is common in overcrowded rooms that contain many high shelves. If a teacher has a shortage of storage space, she may overload her shelf with heavy objects that are unsafe. Over time, the shelf's supports could weaken and a book or other object could fall and hit a student. Another minor hazard is having too many chairs and desks in a room. These obstructions could cause students to trip or bang their legs while walking through the classroom.

Major Hazards

Science labs are full of materials that are harmless if used correctly, but pose significant hazards in the event of an accident. Many containers in science labs are made of glass, which could cause cuts to students if broken. Labs also contain chemicals that can be hazardous if mistakenly consumed by a student and gas burners that can result in a major burn. Another major hazard is a second-story window lacking a proper lock. Younger students could accidentally fall out the window.

Identifying Hazards

A school board-designated safety inspector, joined by a school administrator or teacher, will often visit school classrooms to identify potential hazards during a safety audit. The inspector is trained in hazard identification and can analyse a classroom for potential dangers that may not be noticed by the teacher. The inspector will grade such areas as the slickness of the floors, whether cabinets are anchored to walls and whether aisles have obstructions. Once done, the inspector provides safety suggestions to the school. The school is then responsible for ensuring the findings of the safety audit are dealt with in a timely manner.

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