Introducing students to lab safety in chemical engineering: The safety scavenger hunt

Kathryn A. Hollar, Kevin Dahm, Marvin L. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Faculty who teach laboratories or supervise undergraduate students in research projects understand the importance of adherence to safety guidelines in the laboratory. Safety training, however, often consists only of watching a few videos or relating safety rules with cautionary anecdotes. While these exercises provide valuable background and general guidelines for safe practices, each laboratory has particular hazards that must be addressed. The Chemical Engineering Department at Rowan University has developed an interactive exercise to introduce students to lab safety. Rather than deliver a lecture, we have devised a "safety scavenger hunt" to be completed in a laboratory period at the beginning of the semester. Safety violations, such as unlabeled containers or lack of personal protective equipment, are staged for this activity. Student teams compete against each other to identify these staged and other potential safety hazards associated with equipment, as well as the location of Materials Safety Data Sheets and safety and first aid equipment. This activity serves as an introduction to safety for a course or curriculum, and sets the stage for developing a culture in which lab safety is observed at all times. At Rowan, throughout the courses for which this activity was designed, Junior/Senior Clinic (a research project course for undergraduates) and Unit Operations Laboratory, safe practices are tied to the students' grades. In addition to requiring students to prepare HazOp reports for each laboratory experiment or project, random safety checks are performed throughout the semester. This paper provides details for delivering this introductory exercise, as well as student responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13323-13326
Number of pages4
JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Event2002 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Vive L'ingenieur - Montreal, Que., Canada
Duration: Jun 16 2002Jun 19 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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