13/12/2019 edited to update information and links
It is important to follow the policies of your particular school regarding the management of risk. For example the following jurisdictions have information on their policies and procedures:
- The Victorian Department of Education and Training: 'Chemical Management Procedure'1 see section 3.6.3 Risk Assessment for science experiments
- The Queensland Department of Education: 'Guideline for managing risks with chemicals in DoE workplaces', see Chapter 5: chemical risk management
In the Model Code of Practice on “How to manage the risks associated with hazardous chemicals in the workplace”, Section 3 'The risk management process' includes the topic 3.1: ‘Decide who should do the assessment'. This speaks of a collaborative approach, depending upon the expertise of the people involved. For complex cases, a number of people may need to be involved.
Generally, the risk assessment for a practical activity in the laboratory/classroom environment would be conducted by the classroom teacher. They will need to assess the activity in view of their students' skills, abilities, behaviour, any medical conditions and the room facilities. The risk assessment for processes in the preparation room, generally would be conducted by the science technician. However, there may be times when a technician may have more knowledge of a chemical/process/technical skill than the teacher or vice versa. At these times a collaborative approach is most appropriate.
1 Victorian Department of Education and Training. 2018. 'Chemical Management Procedure', Victorian Department of Education and Training website, http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/management/Pages/chemica...
2 Queensland Department of Education and Training. 2019. 'Guideline for managing risks with chemicals in DoE workplaces' ,Queensland Department of Education website, https://education.qld.gov.au/initiativesstrategies/Documents/guideline-m...(If this link does not work then go to the link in the document ‘Managing risks with chemicals in Department of Education workplaces’, Queensland Department of Education website, http://ppr.det.qld.gov.au/corp/hr/workplace/Procedure%20Attachments/Mana... February 2020])
3 Safe Work Australia. 2018. 'Model Code of Practice: Managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace', Safe Work Australia website. https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/model-code-practice-managing-ri...