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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.
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.
- 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.
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:
- Fact sheet first published: 2021-02-15
- Fact sheet last revised: 2021-02-15