Does your school have a mercury policy?
To keep your school safe from the dangers of mercury, it’s important to have a policy in place that covers mercury in your school district.
Keep in mind that your school district may already have a policy for dealing with chemicals or other environmental dangers. But a policy specifically designed for handling mercury will go beyond these general safety steps — and help you protect your staff and students from mercury exposure and poisoning.
Make sure your school has a policy that includes:
- Identifying sources of mercury
- Labeling sources of mercury clearly and consistently
- Disposing of mercury safely
- Responding to a mercury spill
- Purchasing mercury-free products
When you are developing your school’s policy, there are many important questions that you may want to consider. For example:
- Is your staff educated about the dangers of mercury?
- Do you understand how to store mercury safely before disposal?
- Does the policy identify how to dispose of mercury?
- Are there local resources (like a hazmat team or environmental consultants) available to help with cleanup?
- What disciplinary action will be taken if a person brings mercury to school?
And if there’s a spill at your school:
- Are roles and responsibilities of staff clearly defined?
- Are there mercury spill kits available at your school?
- Does the policy identify the right professionals to contact?
- How will you notify parents about the potential dangers of the spill?
- Do staff members understand how to protect children’s health?
Check out a sample mercury school policy [PDF] to help you get started.