Setting student safety knowledge to practice

Elizabeth M. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In a senior-year unit operations laboratory, students study the fundamental principles and practical applications of Chemical Engineering through hands-on experiences. The injection of safety issues at multiple formative and summative evaluation points has been established to promote meaningful hands-on experiences with safety topics and is presented as a teaching technique for others to leverage. This paper describes how resources from the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE) and the University's EH&S program are interwoven into classroom discussions at the onset of the semester and revisited through rotating student groups acting as leaders for safety discussions during the first five to ten minutes of each laboratory period. It describes a culminating formative assignment, which provides students with the realistic scenario of needing to investigate weaknesses to safety layers of protection. Much like they will experience if they go into industry, students define the scope of a risk assessment project, undertake any necessary research to complete it and summarize results. Through preliminary investigation of a topic, the student must judge if the subject is worthy of a full risk assessment. After scope approval is granted, the topic is fully investigated and the student is encouraged to take corrective actions directly or present any agreed upon significant findings to the appropriate unit or person that has the authority to make changes. This open-ended student-designed risk assessment offers more realistic communication experiences; introduces the concept of project shaping; and requires the application of safety knowledge gained to be put into practice. Qualitative student and staff response to this teaching approach are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 26 2016
Event123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 29 2016


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