Category Archives: safety education

ACS CHAS Workshop: Empowering academic researchers to strengthen safety culture

This 4-hour workshop is primarily directed at frontline researchers in academic institutions: graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and undergraduate students. Faculty and safety staff are also very much encouraged to participate.

Workshop goals are to:

  • Educate participants about the value of risk assessment
  • Guide participants towards gaining awareness of safety culture messages from the leadership at their institutions
  • Empower participants to expand their safety networks and develop laboratory safety teams.

The next workshop is scheduled for Saturday, June 5, 2021 from 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM Eastern Time. The workshop is $25 per participant. To register for this workshop date, please follow this link to our Eventbrite registration page. If you have any questions about the workshop, please email 

For more information:

To see our Zotero list of Lab Safety Team resources. visit this page.

For information about the history of the workshop, visit this page.

Free On Line Chemical Safety Course from ACS!

A new on-line chemical safety course has just gone live at the ACS Learning Center entitled “Foundations of Chemical Safety and Risk Management for Chemistry Students.” The intended audience is students who have completed at least two semesters of General Chemistry with lab and one semester of Organic Chemistry with lab. The course is being offered at no charge to the community. 

The course can be found at

Some usage notes about the course:

1. What is the approximate length of time needed to complete the course?

The time to complete the course is estimated to be about 15 hours. Each of the 17 units are designed to be completed in under an hour. If a student chooses to access the advanced enrichment material, the time to complete the unit may be a bit longer 

2. Can I assign specific units to a class?

No. Each unit builds on the previous unit. A student must successfully complete the unit material and a unit assessment before proceeding to the next one.

3. Do I have to have an ACS log in ID?

Yes, registration on the ACS web site is necessary to access the course. However, you do not need to be an ACS member in order to create a log in ID at this site.

The Topics Covered are:

  • Introduction
  • UNIT 1: From Rules to Risk
  • UNIT 2: OSHA and EPA Regulations for Laboratories
  • UNIT 3: Communicating Hazards – GHS and the SDS
  • UNIT 4: Communicating Hazards – NFPA
  • UNIT 5: Recognizing Hazards – Toxicity
  • UNIT 6: Recognizing Hazards – Flammability
  • UNIT 7: Recognizing Hazards – Corrosivity
  • UNIT 8: Recognizing Hazards – Reactivity
  • UNIT 9: Recognizing Hazards – Physical and Biological Hazards
  • UNIT 10: Assessing Risk – Laboratory Operations
  • UNIT 11: Assessing risk – Hazard and Risk Assessments
  • UNIT 12: Minimizing risk – Chemical Storage
  • UNIT 13: Minimizing risk – Hazardous waste
  • UNIT 14: Minimizing risk – Elimination, Administrative, and Engineering Controls
  • UNIT 15: Minimizing risk – Personal Protective Equipment
  • UNIT 16: Preparing for and Responding to Emergencies
  • UNIT 17: Risk Management – Capstone RAMP Assessment
Questions and Comments about the course can be submitted to

Key Chemical Safety Education Resources

About this list

In March, 2019 the ACS held its second “Safety Summit” on the topic chemical safety education. These links provide more information about the summit’s structure, participants, exploratory questions and outcomes. Questions about the summit can be directed to Ralph Stuart, the chair of the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety at

As part of the preparations for this meeting, a list of chemical safety education resources was compiled. These resources cover different chemical use scenarios, primarily in teaching and research laboratories. This list is provided here as a service to the chemistry safety education community (you can download it below). If you know of a resource that you think should be on this list, please let us know inthe comments section below or via e-mail at

Guidance Documents from ACS Committees

Guidelines for Chemical Laboratory Safety in Secondary Schools

audience: high school educators
authors: ACS Committee on Chemical Safety
last update: 2016

This publication includes 53 learning outcomes for students and clear, concise explanations for teachers on select safety topics including basic safety information, RAMP, GHS, Fire Safety, NFPA, hazardous waste, and SDSs.

ACS Guidelines and Recommendations for Teaching Middle and High School Chemistry

middle and high school educators SOCED 2018
Laboratory safety is included in these Guidelines with information on safety equipment and references as well as a discussion of “RAMP” principles. Revised in 2018.

ChemMatters Online

high school educators ACS staff online

In addition to articles related to high school chemistry education, this page includes links to key safety education resources for this audience.

Better Rainbow Demonstration
high school students and educators ACS Education and Scientific Advancement Divisions 2016; forthcoming
The videos introduce chemical safety to the high school students and provide additional overview of some issues related to the safe use of chemicals in the high school environment.

ACS Guidelines for Chemistry in Two-Year College Programs

two-year colleges educators SOCED 2015
In addition to sections on Safety Culture and Laboratory Safety, the development of a safety culture in the institution is woven throughout the Guidelines.

Guidelines for Chemical Laboratory Safety in Academic Institutions

undergraduate-graduate educators CCS 2016
This publication presents 104 chemical safety learning objectives for undergraduate curriculum designers and instructors and outlines how learning should progress into graduate education based on RAMP. Published in 2016.

ACS Approval Program for Bachelor’s Degree Programs includes the Guidelines and supplements to the Guidelines.

undergraduate educators CPT 2015 and 2017
The Guidelines represent the requirements for a department to offer an approved bachelor’s degree program, and the characteristics of that program, including a mandatory safety skills requirement for the department to follow, and the students to learn about. The Safety Supplement to ACS Guidelines: describes in further detail the aspects of safety development that a program must implement, and for the students to understand as part of their education in chemistry.

Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories

first- and second-year undergraduate students CCS 2018
This 8th Edition of the CCS flagship publication Introduces RAMP and communicates practical laboratory safety information to first- and second-year undergraduate students. Includes Arabic translation.

ACS Exams Institute Draft Safety Exam

undergraduate educators ACS Exams Institute Forthcoming
Currently (spring 2019) in trial testing, this 60 item multiple choice exam is designed to address safety topics typically addressed during the first two years of undergraduate chemistry coursework.

Teaching Chemical Safety and Information Skills Using Risk Assessment

undergraduate educators ACS Symposium Series 2016
Part of in Integrating Information Literacy into the Chemistry Curriculum, this chapter demonstrates how risk assessment (JHAs) can be used to teach information skills and safety competencies by providing rationale and examples (including assessment data) which can be incorporated into undergraduate learning..

Identifying and Evaluating Hazards in Research Laboratories publication and website

undergraduate and graduate researchers CCS 2014
This online reference presents a detailed introduction to the academic research community on risk assessment and provides practical examples using five techniques: Control Banding, Job Hazard Analysis, What-if, Checklists, and SOPs.

Laboratory Risk Assessment video

research laboratories CHAS 2018
Emphasizes importance of conducting a risk assessment of laboratory work and maintaining situational awareness as laboratory work proceeds.

Graduate Student Workshops

graduate students and faculty CHAS ongoing
A three-hour workshop for graduate students and faculty about developing and maintaining laboratory safety programs in the research setting. Offered at the ACS National Meeting. Started in 2018 and ongoing.

Accessibility in the Laboratory

all levels of education ACS Symposium Series 2018
A valuable update to the 2001 edition of “Teaching Chemistry to Students with Disabilities: A Manual for High Schools, Colleges, and Graduate Programs”, this symposium book integrates safety into broader best practice discussions for students with a range of accessibility issues, including topics such as visual and hearing impairments, invisible and physical disabilities, service dogs, and more.

ACS Style Guide Safety Chapter

Forthcoming. authors and reviewers ACS Pubs
The 2019 Edition of the ACS Style Guide will include, for the first time, a chapter designed to provide guidance for authors and reviewers on how to prepare and include publication appropriate safety summaries in manuscripts.

CHED Demonstration Guidelines

educators and students. All levels. CHED 2016
A concise set of guidelines to aid experienced chemical practitioners in considering all components of demonstrations, including special notes for transportation and communication as well as best practices before and during a chemical demonstration.

Journal of Chemical Health and Safety

safety professionals CHAS ongoing
JCHAS is a peer-reviewed journal that addresses chemical safety education topics among other topics chemical safety professionals are involved

The DCHAS-L e-mail list

CHAS members CHAS ongoing
The list is available to members of the Division and provides an active discussion of technical and cultural issues faced in improving safety practices in all workplaces, with an emphasis on labs

CHAS Professional Development Workshops

safety professionals CHAS ongoing
Daylong workshops for chemical safety professionals at national and regional meetings covering regulatory and technical topics.

C&EN SafetyZone blog and safety articles

Chemistry community ACS Publications ongoing
Ongoing coverage of chemical safety related news items

ACS Education Resources with Safety Guidance


(overarching frameworks for organizations to use to build a safety foundation and culture)


(activities to prepare educators and learners to use tools and practice safety, building a safety foundation)


(resources for demos, classroom activities, and events that develop safety awareness and knowledge)


(introduction to safety concepts, tools, skills, and careers that develop safety awareness and knowledge)

Chemical Safety Education Resources from outside the ACS

Laboratory Safety for Chemistry Students; Hill and Finster, 2016 edition

Laboratory and chemical hazards, routes of exposure, ways to manage these hazards, and handling common laboratory emergencies are covered. Emphasis on the ability to safely use hazardous chemicals in the laboratory by applying safety principles that prevent and minimize exposures.

Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, National Academies Press, 2011

An authoritative reference on the handling and disposal of chemicals at the laboratory level. The revised edition has an expanded chapter on chemical management includes nanotechnology, laboratory security, and emergency planning.

Safe Science
Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research
, National Academies Press, 2014

Examines the culture of safety in research institutions and makes recommendations for university leadership, laboratory researchers, and environmental health and safety professionals to support safety as a core value of their institutions.

A Guide to Implementing Safety Culture, APLU, 2016

Roadmap for a university-wide effort to strengthen a culture of research safety. The guide has action steps, resources, and recommendations to help navigate the challenge of changing the culture of the institution. Includes reading lists, tools, strategies, illustrative examples, and/or best practices.

Inquiring Safely series, NSTA, 2003

Introduction of General Safety in the classroom for varying levels of education. Encourages safety within a climate of inquiry incorporates inclusion adjustments. Responsibility guidelines included.

Flinn High School Safety products, Flinn Scientific

A variety of products and resources related to chemical safety for teachers. Product site that may be filtered by education level.

Safety Videos library, Dow Chemicals, 2014

Videos that cover industrial safety culture and practices for laboratory safety. Each module covers information that has worked successfully at Dow. It includes basic explanations of the topics and relates them to safety. Dow’s granted ACS an opportunity to use the videos in its upcoming e-learning safety course.

Green Chemistry education web page,
ACS Green Chemistry Institute

Resources and programs give students and educators the opportunity to learn the chemistry concepts and skills that embrace life cycle thinking and provide a foundation for contributing to a sustainable future through chemistry.

US Chemical Safety Board case studies and videos

Videos describing lessons from significant safety incidents, including academic and high school laboratories.

Practical Guide To Chemical Safety in the UK

The web page outlines the practical aspects of chemical safety programs in the UK, where the regulatory context is different than from the US setting.

ACS Provides Resource to Assess Safety of Chemical Demonstrations and Videos

The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) advises that an important obligation of science teachers is to provide appropriate modeling of science safety. Media posted for public viewing is no exception. The purpose of this Safety Rubric for Assessing Chemical Demonstration Videos is to provide a template for educators to review the safety and pedagogy of chemical demonstration videos in order to determine whether they should be used in the classroom.

To support science teachers and public demonstrators in assessing chemical safety videos and demonstrations, the ACS now provides a Safety Rubric for Assessing Chemical Demonstration Videos. You can download this rubric from:

JCHAS Editor’s Spotlight: Engaging senior management to improve safety culture

The JCHAS Editor’s Spotlight for the July / October 2019 issue of the Journal of Chemical Health and Safety is shining on:

Engaging senior management to improve the safety culture of a chemical development organization thru the SPYDR (Safety as Part of Your Daily Routine) lab visit program

By Victor Rosso, Jeffery Simon, Matthew Hickey, Christina Risatti, Chris Sfouggatakis, Lydia Breckenridge, Sha Lou, Robert Forest, Grace Chiou, Jonathan Marshall, Jean Tom

All authors are affiliated with Chemical & Synthetic Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company,

You can download the article here:

  • Failure to educate — Failure to train; Harry J. Elston
  • Strategic opportunities in chemical safety education: A report on the 2019 ACS Safety Summit; Ralph Stuart
  • Lessons learned – Mercury thermometer incident; Elizabeth Czornyj, Imke Schroeder, Nancy L. Wayne, Craig A. Merlic
  • An immediate onsite chlorine leakage disaster management plan; Yehya Elsayed, Abdel-Qader Al-Ameri, Taj El-Sir Ahmed, Mohamed Idreese, Sofian Kanan
  • Evaluation of the implementation of occupational health, safety, and environment management systems in higher education laboratories; Fatma Lestari, Anom Bowolaksono, Sri Yuniautami, Tia Retno Wulandari, Saraswati Andani
  • Elements of experiment safety in the laboratory; Lee C. Cadwallader, Robert J. Pawelko
  • Looking at the bigger picture: Evaluating responder risk in a tritium spill; Harry J. Elston, Daren Perrero
  • A storage cabinet design for research chemicals for developing nations; Abdullah Hussein Kshash
  • Efficacy of existing transient models for spill area forecasting; Raja S., Reddy T.L.P., Tauseef S.M., Tasneem Abbasi, S.A. Abbasi

CHAS members can access this issue at

Organic Class Lab Safety Topics Survey results

With the support of an ACS Innovative Project Grant, the ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety is partnering with the Division of Chemical Information and ACS Safety Advisory Panel to develop teaching resources to help students in undergraduate organic teaching labs develop hazard identification and risk assessment skills appropriate to their work in the lab. To help us with this work, we developed a survey about organic chemistry laboratory courses taught at the undergraduate level.

With the help of the DCHAS-L e-mail list, we were able to get thoughts from 63 people about the most important organic teaching laboratory exercises to consider in our work as well as some general information about safety practices they employ in this setting.

You can review the detailed results of this survey here:

We’d also appreciate it if you would share with us information about a question we forgot to ask in the first survey: What are your requirements for PPE in the organic teaching lab?

If you would like to share any thoughts on this work, please send them to Ralph Stuart at