Inspired by several of the great lab safety activities on VIPEr, I modified Karen McFarland's activity (linked below) to specifically adapt to the ACS RAMP (Recognize hazards, Assess risks, Minimize risks, Prepare for emergencies) approach.
The assignment asks each student to identify three potential hazards from the first experiment they will be performing in inorganic lab: one chemical, one equipment, and one procedural hazard. For each hazard, they then complete a RAMP risk assessment.
After completion of this assignment, a student should be able to:
- Identify potential hazards in laboratory procedures
- Explain the risks associated with a particular hazard
- Describe measures that can be used to mitigate the risks
- Describe what to do in case of a serious safety emergency
Students need access to Safety Data Sheets (link for searchable database is below).
After going through an example RAMP hazard assessment in our first lab meeting in Week 1, students are given the assignment to complete individually and submit prior to the next lab period (when we begin the first experiment). I would estimate that I spent around 15 minutes in class discussing RAMP and going through an example risk assessment. I coupled this with a safety data sheet in-class assignment so they would be comfortable using the SDS to help in their risk assessment. Students probably spent 30-45 minutes on the assignment out of class.
The assignment was worth 20 points. I gave 6 points for each of the hazards they identified (approximately 1.5 pts per RAMP category) and the final 2 points to answer the question "which of the three hazards would they identify as the greatest risk and why".
Students performed well on the assignment, scoring between 18-20 points. A few students left off "standard mitigation procedures" (use of gloves, goggles, etc.) likely because they assumed their use, but I wanted to emphasize they should always be thinking about that as well. One student failed to answer the last question ranking the hazards.