Tips for Teaching and Practicing Safety
Safety, as a subject and as a way of thinking, is probably the most important thing we teach. WIth a rabidly aggressive legal system and a society that seeks to assign blame to teachers and schools for every conceivable problem, how can we not make safety our first priority? But beyond being a priority, how do we teach safety so that it is learned as a behavior and not just a regurgitated set of rules? Below are some methods I use in my high school class.
Safety seek and find problems in the shop. I set up several safety problems in the shop and have teams of students go looking and documenting the problems. Examples of problems include blocked fire extinguishers
, faulty electrical cords
, a damaged or missing guard
, and equipment where it shouldn't be
We do safety demonstrations, such as how to use fire extinguishers, why loose clothing
is such a bad idea, and how wearing jewelry can lead to serious problems. I have a collection of old metal watches, rings, and other pieces of jewelry that we use to demonstrate electrical conductivity
, like in the video.
Students make a safety map of the shops. Similar to the safety seek and find, students locate and label the locations of all safety-related items in the shops. At a later point, students are quizzed on remembering the locations of various safety items.
Students have to pass the safety test with 100%. This rarely happens on the first attempt, so the second and third versions of the test are different though the content is the same.
Student generated safety videos are a great way to have them apply what they've learned into what are typically entertaining and funny videos. Be sure to provide parameters for what is acceptable and what is not; left on their own, students may take things too far and create safety problems instead.
Case studies from real life examples. Students do some searching for real examples of auto shop situations, such as this. We then examine what factors may have or did contribute to the accident and discuss ways of preventing such an accident from occurring.
While not an educational approach, these two items help alleviate the problem of equipment being used inappropriately or without permission.
Mike Rowe's Safety Third
message is something I like to include when discussing shop safety. He is correct when saying it's easy to get complacent about safety and to assume that being in compliance equals being safe.
Similar to lock-out/tag-out, I use plug locks on pieces of equipment that I don't want anyone to use without permission. An example of this is shown in the picture of the bench grinder referenced above. And Extra Safety Zones
are marked to limit the number of students in the area and/or to reinforce the zones requires additional PPE or other safety precautions.
If you have anything you'd like to contribute to the safety discussion, send me the info, and we'll continue this topic.
More to come next month.