Freestanding benches and bunsen burners

Discussion in 'Science Technicians - General Discussion' started by LouiseS, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Good afternoon all

    I started in a new role a few weeks ago and some of the labs are quite old and are made up of rows of freestanding benches. In the middle of each row is a fixed section where the gas taps come out from.

    Yesterday I walked into a lab to see two boys jostling, the bunsen was lit on the bench in front of them.

    The jostling caused the table to be pushed, and the burner started to slide towards the edge. Thankfully the table righted itself but I had visions of the bunsen falling off the edge of the bench.

    I know there was some guidance on Cleapss a while ago for benches that were loose, but that was concerns regards damaging the piping, my concern in this case is bunsens sliding off the bench. (I'm aware its a behaviour issue and they shouldn't be messing about in labs)

    I mentioned it to the class teacher at the time and again after her lesson, but what else should I do? I will of course mention it to the HOD but I feel it'll go in one ear out the other and will resent me causing him more work (I can imagine he'll say they've never had a problem before..)

    I'm not overreacting am I?
  2. Dod


    No, everybody has a responsibility for H&S be it directly or indirectly and you have done what would be expected of you, I would do the same but we,as Technicians are not responsible for class discipline so you have done your part correctly and can do no more.
    ClaireS likes this.
  3. Are the freestanding benches ever moved? Or could they be bolted to the floor
  4. I think they could be bolted and thats what i'll suggest to HOD, just get the impression it'll be met with rolleyes and sighs all round because of the extra work/paperwork
  5. I would report it to your Health and Safety officer as a 'near miss' too.
  6. The issue is the jostling, play fighting etc in the lab.

    was this a blue flame? They could still have been seriously injured even if the benches were fixed.

    I would have hit the gas shut off, stopped the practical work.

    The teacher needs to follow school behaviour policy with regards to these students, if not then the HoD needs to deal with it.
    ClaireS likes this.
  7. I wouldn't have thought twice to yell at the kids to stop their behaviour, even pointing out the danger of the situation they created. It would be up to the teacher to decide if follow up measures would need to happen. As a 'responsible adult in the building' we are all responsible for keeping an eye out for misbehaviour like that. ESPECIALLY where health and safety are concerned.
  8. I agree, the problem is one of behaviour not equipment. Most of our labs have islands for utilities and free standing benches for flexibility. It has never been a problem.
  9. I did of course do this - stands to reason. I'm not backwards in coming forwards at all with regards safety and kids.
    Mike_N likes this.
  10. Indeed - the teacher in question is first year qualified and is struggling with behaviour in the school - some classes more than others.