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AN INVESTIGATION ON SAFETY PROCEDURE IN SCIENCE LABORATORY IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOL
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Science can be defined as an attempt by human beings to organize their experience about nature into meaningful system of explanation. It can also be regarded as organization of reasonable variable sense experiences of man about natural and artificial occurrences in his environment, it is through science that regularities of nature are predicted, described and explained. Science cannot be said to be broad-based, unless it is postulated on the important pillars of experimentation, out-door work and above all, development of project. Apart from creating opportunities of probing the theoretical concepts taught in the classroom, practical work also inculcates scientific skills, ethics and regulatory principal of science.
Science is activity, and effective science learning is by doing. For a child to master the art of writing for example, he must be given opportunities to write as often as possible. Similarly, science learning demands that a teacher should create varied opportunities for students to engage in “doing” activities that enable them to make sense of the world around them, make new discoveries, solve interesting problems, and develop skills.
A laboratory is an environment for acquisition of skills and other scientific learning; it could be comprehensive where more than a trade is taught, it may be a building room or outside room designed for scientific research or for the teaching of practical science. Bajah (1975) sees a laboratory as an activity area in which role learning gives way to a combination of complex mix of cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains in learning with the sense of sight, feeling, smelling and doing playing dormant roles.
A pure science laboratory are classified based on the act of sciencing to be learnt. Generally, laboratory are infrastructure whose goal are to promote human learning and efficiency for a definite goal therefore an expert must oversee the construction, sitting and equipping of these building to enhance safety.
Safety simple means a state of being secure, protected, uninjured, out of danger and not involved in risk. All hazardous condition could not be eliminated, but safe living demands the ability to function at optimum level in the presence of hazards. The prevention of accident in laboratories is the duty of every individual using or entering them. Clearly, it is the duty of every teacher to organize his classes in a way which reflects both his responsibility for their welfare and his commitment teaching his pupils appropriate safety – conscious attitudes and behaviour. Pupils do not have the instinctive feeling for experimental work which a teacher will have acquired as a result of many years of experience. As a result, what is common sense to the teacher may well be totally outside the range of experience of a pupil and therefore be far from obvious to him. Many students see science as a forum to seek answers to their numerous questions and seek satisfaction to their unending curiosities. But curiosity killed the cat and these students are apt to get themselves and others including the teacher into a great deal of trouble and make science not exciting but dangerous, not wonderful but dreadful if care is thrown to the wind (Aiyegbayo, 1996). One of the objectives of adequate practical training in science, even at school, is to teach pupil how to handle safety materials which are potentially or actually dangerous. Even so, every teacher should make it his or her task to become familiar with any special instructions issued for dealing with emergencies peculiar to school in which she or he is working. He/she should get to know the layout of the school.
The location of fire-fighting equipment and how it works ways of getting out of the building in an emergency, where telephones are sited and first aid arrangement. Mohammed (1993) state that many accidents are caused by carelessness in laboratories. It is easier sensible to develop safe work habits when conducting practicals than suffer the consequences of an accident.
Safety policy is in no way a complete and absolute statement of safety to be followed in science laboratories. Science teachers and students must not be ignorant of the use of first aid treatment which may save them from a lot of damages.
1.2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Safety education is an avoidance of dangerous circumstance related to an individual activity. This project makes science teachers to be aware of the prevention of accidents in laboratories through effective architectural design. In addition, there is need to make sure that laboratory attendants take cognizance of the equipment available. As a science student, one has to be familiar with the safety precautions in a science laboratory and should be able to explain some basic safety rules and necessary aids to take care of accident victims, as teaching of science subjects, (Physics, Chemistry and Biology) entails demonstration and guidance as a result of this, there is need for provision of adequate safety of lives and properties within the laboratories. Also science teachers have to be equipped with up-to-date precautionary measures against immediate hazards.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Every research work is stirred up as a result of problem situation. In other words, research is a product or an off-shoot of a problem situation. This project is aimed at finding answers to the following questions:
1. Are the science laboratories in schools safe enough for the users?
2. What are the areas of neglect that are inimical to the safety of human and material resources in these laboratories?
3. Are all equipment up to the necessary standard with respect to safety and risk to health?
4. Are adequate arrangement made for storage, maintenance, cleaning and renewal of the available equipment?
5. Have emergency procedures been formulated to cover for example, spillage of toxic or dangerous material, fire escape of gases etc.
6. Is there provision by regular inspection, examination and where necessary, testing to ensure that equipment and its safety devices have not deteriorated?
1.4 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is limited to safety precaution of science laboratory in selected secondary schools in Abeokuta only.
1.5 DEFINITION OF TERMS
(i) Safety - Safety simple means a state of being secure, protected, uninjured, out of danger and not involved in risk. Is a co-efficient of common sense, knowledge of physical, chemical and physiological effects of substances and knowledge of behaviour of human beings.
(ii) Precaution - Care taken before an event or accidents in order to prevent it happening or in order to cause it to happen without doing harm.
(iii) Chemical - Substance used in or obtained by chemistry.
(iv) Procedure - The order or regular way of doing things
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