In 2006, our firm represented two sixteen-year-old female honor students who were seriously injured during a chemistry lab demonstration performed by their teacher on January 23, 2006. The young women sustained second and third degree burns to their face, neck, hands, legs and torso (46% TBSA). The fire and horrific injuries sustained by these young women could have been avoided if their teacher would have followed some very elementary safety precautions.
Tragically, we discovered that lab safety is assumed and sometimes ignored. In that regard, our firm was compelled to contribute to educating and informing our state’s teachers about the importance of science safety in the classroom.
This year, our firm, together with a nationally recognized safety expert, Jack Gerlovich and a team of distinguished advisory board with representatives developed a statewide Science Safety Program. Jack Gerlovich is an independent school science safety consultant. He is a Professor of Science at Drake University and a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science.
Our firm contributed over $136,000 to underwrite the Ohio Science Safety Project. The program is designed to provide a comprehensive safety tool to aid all pre-service and inservice science educators in locating and applying the necessary standards; performing and documenting safety audits; and electronic options for establishing and managing chemical storerooms. The end result of the collaboration is the development of the Ohio Total Science Safety System CD-ROM. 1700 CD-ROMS will be distributed to each and every Ohio public middle school, high school, regional education center, teacher preparation institution and community college.
These interactive CD-ROMS are the most comprehensive, interactive and customizable safety tools available to educators. The Ohio Science Safety Project will include workshops and training programs designed to help educators meet the increasingly complex challenges of teaching science by making participants aware of professional standards and ethical issues. They are valuable resources for science educators and administrators to assimilate and put into practice the recommended safety measures which help avoid student injury and complications.
The project was funded by our firm in dedication to the two young honor students and their families, whose courage in facing adversity did not spoil their dreams. The project became a reality because these two young women had a purpose in life beyond themselves.
Read more on the case Students Burned in Lab Fire Settle