Follow the danger signs

10th February 1995 at 00:00
PRIMARY CLASSROOM, HAZARD CARDS, Pounds 40 with school copying permit. Extra sets of cards Pounds 15. Special rates for LEAs. Available from APEC Educational Consultancy, 71 Field Way, Chalfont St Peter, Gerrards Cross, Bucks SL9 9SQ

You are responsible for the management of health and safety within your own classroom." This is the sobering injunction in the London Borough of Richmond's model code of practice, which comes in this pack of some 60 illustrated cards designed by Andy Piggot in response to requests from primary heads.

From kilns, computers and chemicals to cutting wood, these coloured, A5 cards include the use of common as well as specialist materials and equipment glue as well as copper sulphate. They cover processes from heating water to pinning up pictures and are intended for use with class teachers.

Each card advises on hazards, first aid, levels of use, and techniques, referring where necessary to further advice from CLEAPSS School Services or the Association for Science Education publication Be Safe. Storage and disposal are added when appropriate.

Information on biological material other than micro-organisms, however, is limited to vertebrates. I would like to see a mention of the few invertebrates which might be hazardous to bring or keep in the classroom. Some hairy caterpillars can cause skin rashes.

Unfortunately, the cards are not numbered or indexed in a consistent alphabetical sequence and the colours do not seem to be coded as claimed. Once out out of the indexed order in which they arrive, it is difficult to find a particular one quickly especially if the index is mislaid. The card itself is very flimsy and will not stand much handling.

The accompanying two pages of general health and safety information contain useful advice on levels of competency, assessing risks, planning accident responses and training, with a reminder that people other than teachers and pupils should also follow safety codes when in the classroom.

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