Outreach events conducted by members of our department serve a valuable function in the wider community by popularizing the chemical sciences and furthering our educational mission. However, such events may necessarily involve elements of risk (e.g. use of corrosive/flammable/poisonous chemicals, explosive/fire hazard etc.) and the safety of all those involved (public AND departmental personnel) must be carefully considered during the planning and execution phases of the activity.
Formal safety advisory group approval of all outreach activities involving any kind of chemical experiment/demonstration (to be interpreted in its loosest sense) is now required in advance of the proposed event. To seek approval, a proforma detailing the steps that will be taken to ensure the safe and smooth running of the activity must be completed and presented to the safety advisory group at least two weeks prior to the event. After approval, completed applications will be kept on file. Essentially identical repeats of previously approved events will be allowed to go ahead without the need of a new application but will be subject to periodic review (dates and particulars of repeat events to be logged in the file).
For off-campus events, a fire-extinguisher, spill-kit, and MSDS file must be carried along to the demonstration (see Kristi Edwards to arrange for the loan of equipment.)
In preparation for an event, and to complete the necessary outreach event approval form, consider the following:
- Are you aware of safe and proper handling procedures (including transportation, disposal, MSDS evaluation) for all of the chemical substances that you propose to use during your activity?
- How many participants will be involved and is the venue of sufficient size to ensure their safe enjoyment of the event?
- What is the age range of the target audience and how will they be supervised?
- If additional helpers are required to supervise the event, what training/instruction will they receive?
- Is there adequate provision for evacuation, spill and fire control?
- How will the venue be cleaned (decontaminated) following the event to allow for its reuse?
Upon receiving the event approval application, the safety advisory group will endeavor to return its decision within three working days. Discussion between members of the safety committee and individuals in the early stages of event planning is encouraged.