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What does a teacher do?

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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?

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There are several potential health and safety hazards associated with teacher's duties, including:

Biological hazards

  • 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.

Chemical hazards

  • 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.

Ergonomic risks

Physical hazards

Psychosocial hazards

Safety hazards

What are some preventive measures for a teacher?

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Biological hazards

  • 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.

Chemical Hazards

  • 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.

Physical hazards

  • 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.

Psychosocial hazards

  • 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.


What are some good general safe work practices?

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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