The Maryland Science Safety Manual K-12 was a joint project of the Maryland Science Supervisors Association (MSSA) and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). Funding for the project was provided through a grant from MSDE, and both organizations provided leadership. This project was an extension of an earlier three-year science safety project that issued a safety manual in 1985. That manual provided the basic direction and philosophy for the current document.
Development of the current Manual began in the spring of 1998 with the organization of a steering committee composed of representatives of the MSSA, MSDE, the Maryland Association of Science Teachers, the Chemical Educators of Maryland, and the Maryland Association of Biology Teachers. The committee outlined the purpose and essential structure for the Manual, compiled a writing team, and gathered the resources to support the project. Writing began in the summer of 1998, and a draft document was completed in the fall of 1998 and distributed to organizations for review. Many of the suggestions from the reviewing groups have been incorporated into the Manual.
The Science Safety Manual was written to be a comprehensive set of safety guidelines for use by local school systems and schools in providing safe classroom instruction in science. The Manual is designed to be used in its entirety. As much as possible, redundancies within and between chapters I through XI were eliminated. Chapter XII summarizes the earlier chapters for the elementary school teacher while eliminating areas that typically do not apply to the elementary school classroom.
Special effort was made to provide teachers and administrators with additional sources of both print and electronic resources. These resources are listed in Appendix H and indicated in margin notes throughout the document.
The document has been distributed to science supervisors in the 24 local school systems. The Manual also is available on the MSDE website, where it is readily accessible to teachers, administrators, and others interested in safety in the science classroom and laboratory. Online publication allows for regular revisions to ensure that the Manual presents the most current information in the most useful format possible.
We invite all users of this Manual to pass along ideas for its improvement to the Maryland Science Supervisors Association or the Science Specialist in the Maryland State Department of Education. Such sharing of ideas will go far to ensure that the Manual remains an effective, useful document to guide Maryland's teachers in providing their students with a safe learning environment in science.
Maryland schools and school systems are encouraged to reprint this publication for their use. Other educators may reprint the document with proper credit to the Maryland Science Safety Project of the Maryland Science Supervisors Association and Maryland State Department of Education.