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What does a teacher do?Back to top
A teacher is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, prepares lesson plans, and educates students at all levels. Their general tasks may include to:
- Prepare lesson plans, teach students, assign homework, grade tests, and documents progress.
- Carry out the supervisory duties and instructional programs as assigned by the principal.
- Co-operate with the principal and other teachers to establish and maintain a safe environment in the classroom or at the workplace, as well as use consistent disciplinary practices.
- Assist the principal in maintaining co-operation with the community.
- Participate in meetings with students’ parents or guardians.
What are some health and safety issues for teachers?Back to top
There are several potential health and safety hazards associated with teacher's duties, including:
- Risk of exposure to blood and infection from others or items.
- Risk of biological hazards such as bacterial, fungi, viruses and other infectious agents such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, coronavirus, etc.
- Exposure to mould.
- Injuries from contact with laboratory chemicals, cleaning solutions, plants, or animals.
- Exposure to fumes (e.g., welding) in technical shops.
- Exposure to gases (e.g., carbon monoxide).
- Handling of flammable, reactive, explosive, or corrosive products, especially in the laboratory.
- Sitting for long hours.
- Standing, bending, stretching and lifting.
- Repetitive Motion injuries (RMIs), including carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Inadequate lighting (glare, low levels, etc.) which may cause workers to adopt awkward postures.
- Indoor air quality.
- Temperature (heat and cold stress).
- Exposure to materials such as asbestos in older buildings.
- Risk for workplace violence and bullying.
- Working with students who require accommodations or assistance.
- Internet harassment.
- Workplace stress.
- Exposure to moving parts in technical shops.
- Electrical hazards.
- Fire hazards.
- Working alone.
- Situations that require appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Slips, trips, and falls.
What are some preventive measures for a teacher?Back to top
- Treat all body substances such as blood and bodily fluids as potentially infectious – use safe work practices for infection control when cleaning these substances.
- During situations such as the covid-19 pandemic, follow the guidance from your employer, local public health authority, or government.
- Wash hands regularly, especially before and after working with students and other co-workers to prevent infection.
- Consider immunization against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, influenza, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and others as appropriate.
- Follow your training in WHMIS and safe handling of hazardous products.
- Read and understand the information on the safety data sheets.
- Follow safe work practices.
- Safely store and dispose of products.
- Use a less harmful product where possible.
- Report indoor air quality concerns to your employer, including if you suspect the ventilation system is not working properly.
- Report when there are issues with the lighting in your work area or classroom.
- Ask for assistance in reducing noise levels.
- Follow the workplace’s workplace violence prevention policy and program.
- Know how to recognize warning signs of workplace violence, and how to report incidents.
- Know and follow any student safety plans that are in place, as appropriate.
- Inspect tools and equipment and make sure they are in good condition. Clean all equipment after each use.
- Make sure all sharp equipment is disposed of in a safe manner.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Wear appropriate footwear and keep walking surfaces clean.
- When necessary, wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including appropriate respirators, masks, eye protection, and gloves.
- Follow electrical safety measures.
- Follow precautions for fire safety, including the use of fire extinguishers.
What are some good general safe work practices?Back to top
Teachers should consider the following safe work practices:
- Practice good hand washing techniques.
- Practice safe lifting techniques.
- Work safely with equipment, tools, and ladders.
- Follow SDS recommendations when working with products.
- Properly select, use, maintain and store PPE, where appropriate.
- Understand the risks of fatigue.
- Follow your school or organization’s prevention policies about violence (general).
- Know what to do when working alone (general information).
All workers should:
- follow the school’s or organization’s safety rules.
- know about WHMIS and SDSs.
- know your hazard reporting procedures.
- follow good housekeeping procedures.
- Fact sheet first published: 2021-02-15
- Fact sheet last revised: 2021-02-15