Safety in the lab;Helpline

11th June 1999 at 01:00
We have a science teacher who has been diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis. Should we be concerned about safety in the laboratories?

Safety must be the constant concern of heads and all teachers who work in labs. The head has a duty to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to avoid health and safety hazards, which includes being satisfied that teachers are competent and capable of carrying out their work safely. A teacher has a duty to ensure that no procedure is undertaken that puts pupils at risk and that pupils fully understand and comply with rules relating to safety.

MS is an unpredictable disease and it may well be that this teacher will be able to continue working effectively for some time. He or she will be more aware than anyone else of the effects the symptoms have on performance and will require sympathetic support as well as monitoring from the head of department and others. Sensitive support from a laboratory technician may well overcome occasional difficulties.

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