Solid Science Practical Solutions


Back To School...Are You Ready?

It's amazing how fast the summer goes by!  We know you are in the middle of many projects to get ready for the new school year.  August is a good time to be sure some key programs are covered including:
Scheduling mandated employee training is always a difficult task given the demands on staff and limited schedules.  New employees with potential for hazardous material exposures must be trained prior to performing their job activities, and existing employees must be trained on an annual or biennial basis, depending on the program. GSE is available to assist with last minute training needs or for routine training throughout the year. Please click on this LINK to see our handy summary of training requirements for the most common Public School Compliance Programs.  
Hazardous chemicals present potential physical and/or health threats to teachers, students and other district staff. While school laboratories typically use small quantities of hazardous chemicals, the wide range of chemicals includes acutely toxic, carcinogenic (cancer causing) and reproductive hazards, as well as chemicals that are reactive, corrosive, flammable or have other hazardous properties. The teachers and students who directly handle these chemicals will be back at school soon.
Unfortunately, the OSHA Chemical Hygiene/Laboratory Standard (29 CFR 1910.1450) is often overlooked or not updated since it is frequently out of the direct control of many Facility Managers.  We recommend you get the answers to these questions as soon as possible:
  1. Who is in charge of your Lab Safety Program? 
  2. Has the program recently been reviewed and updated? 
  3. Have science teachers been trained in the program?
  4. Is there an active Chemical Hygiene Committee?
  5. Have safety equipment and environmental controls been checked for proper operation?
For more information, click on this LINK to read our full Lab Safety Article.
We can all breath a sign of relief that the first lead in drinking water deadline is behind us, but according to the Department of Education (DOE) Regulations, districts must continue to test drinking water outlets...within six years following the initial testing...and every six years thereafter. Districts can test a few schools per year or wait until the six year deadline to conduct a full re-testing of all drinking water outlets.  For smaller sized districts with fewer buildings, it may make sense to wait to re-sample your drinking water outlets until just before the six year deadline.  Larger districts, with many buildings, may find that testing a few buildings each year during the six year cycle offers these substantial benefits:
  1. Spreads out the cost of testing
  2. Minimizes disruption to district operations
  3. Simplifies planning for testing and program administration
  4. Alerts the district of any related problems sooner to allow correction and avoid exposures
Whenever you decide to re-sample, GSE will be here to guide you through the process and conduct sampling.