Classroom Safety

The following guidelines are meant to enhance your safety awareness and improve overall safety in the classroom setting: 

Avoiding Slips, Trips and Falls

In educational facilities, slips, trips and falls account for almost 30% of all employee accidents. Falls from the same level account for as much as 60% of all falls, while falls from heights make up the remaining 40%. (Statistics from the Education Safety Association of Ontario).

By taking the following measures, you can help to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls:

  • keep floor surfaces and aisle ways free of clutter
  • report damaged floor surfaces (e.g. loose or torn carpet, damaged or missing floor tiles, damaged stair treads) to the Facilities Management work order line (ext. 4444) for repair 
  • phone lines, computer cables and power cords should be positioned in such a manner that they do not become a tripping hazard
  • be aware of walking surfaces and their condition
  • wear footwear appropriate for the area in which you are working
  • walk slowly and cautiously up and down steps and use a  handrail whenever possible
  • avoid carrying large objects that obstruct your view
  • use a stepstool or stepladder if you must reach materials on a high shelf, bulletin board or other elevated surface - do not use a chair or other convenient object for this purpose

Think Safety when Lifting or Carrying

To reduce the risk of strains, sprains and back injuries, remember to follow these safe lifting and carrying techniques:

  • take a moment to size up the load; do not attempt to lift a load alone if you have any doubt of your ability to do so safely 
  • if it is possible to divide the load into smaller portions, it may be advisable to make more trips with smaller loads
  • always have a firm footing
  • stand close to the object with your feet spread about shoulder width apart
  • lift with your leg muscles, not your back
  • keep the load close to your body when lifting or carrying
  • avoid twisting your body – turn with your feet instead
  • get help when items are too large or awkward for individual lifting
  • in team lifting, co-operate with your partner when carrying a long object; with a two person carry, both should carry the object from the same side
  • when putting down a load, take care and reverse the lifting procedures 
  • use a trolley or push cart to move objects, whenever possible, rather than carrying them yourself  
  • use a ladder or a stepstool to reach overhead - do not use a chair or other convenient object for this purpose

Storage Cabinets and Shelving

To prevent unwanted mishaps from occurring around storage cabinets and shelving units:  

  • do not overload storage cabinets or shelving units; whenever feasible, shelving units should be bolted to the wall or floor, to prevent from tipping
  • store heavy or breakable items on lower shelves
  • use caution when storing objects on top of filing cabinets or upper shelves - if they can slide or be jarred from such surfaces, these falling objects have the potential to cause head injuries
  • keep filing cabinets properly weighted by opening only one drawer at a time; some newer cabinets have this safety feature built in
  • keep filing cabinet drawers closed when not actively filing or retrieving materials
  • use the drawer handle when closing a drawer to avoid pinching fingers

Housekeeping

Efforts should be taken to maintain a tidy and clutter-free environment.

  • keep everything in its place  
  • keep floor surfaces and aisle ways free of clutter
  • contact the Facilities Management work order line (ext. 4444) for the prompt clean-up of broken glass, coffee, juice and other spills

Electrical and Equipment Safety

A variety of electrical equipment may be present in the classroom setting. Therefore, it is important for you to be aware of possible sources of electrical hazards such as overloaded outlets, frayed wires and improper grounding. Know how to reduce the risk:

  • do not use electrical equipment with frayed cords or damaged plugs; report these defects to your supervisor so that proper repairs can be arranged
  • turn off and unplug machines before making any adjustments and leave repairs for qualified personnel or service persons
  • all electrical equipment should be turned off when not in use
  • keep cords away from heat and water; these conditions may damage cord insulation and create a shock hazard
  • do not attempt to do any electrical work yourself - building electrical repairs and installations are to be done by a qualified electrician arranged through Facilities Management
  • if you have to use a specialized piece of equipment, take the time to learn how to operate it safely; ask your supervisor for training and read the operating instructions carefully

                                                                         

Fire Safety

It is important to:

  • know emergency procedures
  • advise your students of fire evacuation procedures 
  • make note of the emergency exit closest to the classroom in which you are teaching
  • turn off small appliances when not in use
  • ensure that stored materials do not block emergency exits or prevent access to fire pull stations, portable fire extinguishers or fire hose cabinets
  • follow the guidelines for electrical safety outlined above to prevent electrical fires