Eyewashes should be designed to fully flush the eyes and must be operated at least weekly to eliminate bacteria that can live in the nozzles. Safety showers should be provided in appropriate spaces (this could be in all science teaching spaces, depending on curriculum). Both safety showers and eyewashes must be operable by the disabled, which means that the pull lever for the safety shower cannot be higher than 54″ above the floor, the eyewash nozzles cannot be more than 34″ above the floor, and a wheelchair must be able to roll beneath both safety shower and eyewash (premanufactured “safety centers” offered by many science equipment and casework manufacturers must be selected with knee space for wheelchair access). See ANSI standard Z358.1-1990 for more information on eyewashes and safety showers. If a floor drain is provided beneath the safety shower, the drain must be provided with a trap primer which slowly drips water into the trap to keep it from drying out.
Spill control kits should be provided in each lab/classroom. Safety shields should be available and used when demonstrations or investigations offer the possibility of explosion or other mishap that could eject particles or liquids at the student or teacher.
Chemicals should never be stored in the lab/classroom. Hazardous chemicals should never be stored in the prep room; a specially designed, lockable, separately ventilated chemical storage room should be provided. Light switches for chemical storage rooms should be located outside the store room and electrical outlets within the store room should be avoided. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) for all chemicals and other potentially hazardous materials should be located in accessible locations both within and outside chemical storage rooms. One possible approach is to mount a clear plastic holder on the door of the chemical storage room and keep the MSDS sheets in a binder in this holder so that they are readily available to anyone needing quick access. Appropriately constructed storage shelving and/or cabinets should be provided with no shelf above eye level; chemicals should be grouped according to type and all shelves, cabinets, drawers, etc. clearly labeled. In seismically active areas, storage shelving and cabinets should be designed to prevent overturning, inadvertent opening of cabinet doors (a positive latch should be provided rather than roller catches), and items falling off shelves. Often this could require lips on the edges of shelves; however, in the Northridge, CA earthquake, much of the seismic action was vertical, causing items to literally jump off the shelves. Flammable storage cabinets should not be vented (NFPA 30 4.3.4). Individual storage drawers or lockers for students should be avoided as they present the opportunity for student storage of items that might be hazardous.
An appropriate fire extinguisher should be mounted near the main means of egress in every science lab/classroom. Fire blankets should also be considered; selection of the appropriate type of fire blanket should take into account today’s new fibers that may melt when overheated. Many new school facilities are required to be equipped with a fire sprinkler system which will require analysis of the storage of water-reactive chemicals.