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Safety Tests for M.S. with limited time Options
chevy8935
Posted: Monday, November 15, 2010 10:44:28 AM
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Joined: 11/15/2010
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Location: Turbotville PA
Im in my 6th year now and find myself with less time with students than I would prefer. (28 days)I teach 7th and 8th grade. Now ive got a scroll saw, band saw, drill press, jointer, belt/disk sander, bench oscillating spindle sander, router table, table saw, drum sander, miter saw, and sometimes the lathe to cover and test. Now figure in my drafting unit and my days are spent. Here in PA we have a state safety guide we are supposed to use to train the students to safety operate machinery. Most kids can pass the test without me even going over it because they are so watered down. I talked with a fellow teacher at our conference and he says he hasnt given a safety test in 20 years! What do you all do with safety quizzes in the middle school environment? I think im gonna give up on the added stress of having kids using the miter saw. (stinks i cant rough crosscut anything longer than 19" on my band saw) I let the table saw open as an optional machine for the students, but they have to use it with me off bearing the board. I talk them through the cut and take time making sure they fully understand what needs to happen to make a safe cut. What do you think? I was thinking about having 8th grade kids this marking period test out of the machine tests that they took last year in 7th grade and then give a quick demo when I demo their project.
klandin
Posted: Monday, November 15, 2010 4:44:53 PM
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Joined: 6/1/2006
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Location: Connecticut
I appreciate your dilemma. Twenty eight days is clearly not enough time in which to thoroughly cover all that, but I think that you may be misinterpreting the true purpose of those written safety tests. The written safety tests that we all dutifully give, and then carefully archive have absolutely nothing to do with any meaningful assessment of which machines our students know how to safely operate. But they do have everything to do with prudent CYA. You are risking your career, and everything that you have spent a lifetime accumulating if you ever allow a student to operate a power machine without first obtaining documented proof that they can mindlessly regurgitate certain basic facts about the machine in question. In the absence of a written safety test some student’s bottom feeding lawyer will have you for lunch. My advice: Find or make a set of safety tests that you can live with, and then just suck it up. They may be a hassle, but they are for your protection, not the student’s.

When I taught at the middle school level, and the most dangerous tool that I let my students use was a band saw, I made up a series of True/False safety tests that were very easy to grade and almost as easy to pass.


Keith Landin
Woodshop instructor, Woodstock Academy
"Mens tua sit implementum acerrium in fabrica"
Mike Walsh
Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 11:04:09 AM
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Joined: 9/13/2006
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Location: Allegan MI
I agree with Keith. But I think I should re-stress a point he made. Take your PA tests, add any material you can find from your text, workbook, manufacturers manuals and / or the VA safety tests ( often quoted on this site ). Standardize your tests and make the kids pass them -- at the 100% level. Then file the tests and plan to keep them for a LONG time.

In middle school you will often see the kids next year - so having the tests on file allows you do a review and then let the kid start the class at a higher level.

For each class generate a little Excel "checklist" with student names / machine test passed grid. Post it where you can glance at it easily. Unless the test is passed, filed and checked off - the kid does not go near the machine.

A final comment. You will be better off to limit the machines you introduce to the kids. Plan your projects so you are only introducing a new machine every couple of weeks. In the meantime there are hand tools, materials,finishes for the kids learn.

Part of tool mastery is repetition. Kids need time to learn proper habits through experience. Give them some time on each machine to develop that mastery.
klandin
Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 5:32:32 PM
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Location: Connecticut
Yep. What he said.

Keith Landin
Woodshop instructor, Woodstock Academy
"Mens tua sit implementum acerrium in fabrica"
dsnellen
Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 10:45:09 PM
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Joined: 10/25/2010
Posts: 0
Location: Belleview, MO
klandin wrote:
I appreciate your dilemma. Twenty eight days is clearly not enough time in which to thoroughly cover all that, but I think that you may be misinterpreting the true purpose of those written safety tests. The written safety tests that we all dutifully give, and then carefully archive have absolutely nothing to do with any meaningful assessment of which machines our students know how to safely operate. But they do have everything to do with prudent CYA. <snip>

I agree that safety tests are basically a CYA exercise. I have safety exams from table saws to hand sanders. Any thing with electric motor has a safety exam. The tests are pretty much standard stuff and the 2nd section is a demo section where I observe the student as he uses the machine. The most important part is the 3rd section on a seperate page called "Safety and Operations Certification" which contains the paragraph

"This is to certify that I have received instruction on safety precautions in the Industrial Technology laboratory. The instructor has demonstrated to me how to use tools and operate machines correctly and safely. I promise to observe all precautions, including the use of eye safety devices. If ever in doubt regarding any operations, I will ask the instructor to assist me. I understand that I am responsible for my actions and consequences of my actions when using this piece of equipment."

And the student signs and dates this statement. I then sign and date that the student was given safety instruction etc on that specific piece of equipment.

This may not hold up in court with a slimmy lawyer, but it allows me to put the fear of god in the student and lets me sleep better at night.

Dave
MrsN
Posted: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 1:40:51 PM
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Joined: 4/2/2008
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Location: Wisconsin
I have 21 days with my middle school students. The FCE teacher and I share a quarter, each taking half the kids for half the quarter.
I limit the number of machines that the kids get to use in class. I have a table saw in the lab, and I use it. I will explain what the machine does, and demo how it is used when I need to cut something for their projects. The same goes for the miter saw.
MattM3
Posted: Saturday, December 04, 2010 4:33:51 PM
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Location: Maryland
I have even less time with my middle school kids (about 12 76min classes). I do a general safety test (mostly hand tools) for 6th grade, general safety plus drill press/disc & belt sander for 7th and general plus drill/disc & belt, and band/scroll saw for 8th. I can't see middle school kids using a table saw. I require a 100% pass or they retake it. The test is not that hard, fill in the blank, safe/unsafe (instead of true/false). Most usually pass the first time but there's always one or two who need to retake it once. I usually spend half a class going over the rules, then test the next class. If they took the general test in 6th grade, I make them go through the whole thing again in 7th. Even if I have a student for two periods (regular tech ed and building trades for example), I still make that student take the safety tests for both classes. It's all about CYA. I base my safety program on a safety class I took where they showed us a program adopted by a school that had been sued after an accident. It was designed by lawyers and basically involves documenting that you taught safety and students were tested on safety. I definitely wouldn't drop safety tests but you might want to consider reducing the number of machines you cover/use.
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