The TES Secondary Group is a great source of support, ideas and inspiration and is the place to share best practice and get your questions answered by your peers. This is also where you go to debate the latest issues in secondary education.
Firstly I wouldn't drink the tea (or coffee!) Do you have an H & S rep? Perhaps from one of the Unions? If so - inform them and get them to act...Or, if not, a Governor with H & S responsibility?
As regards the potential for mistakes in Science - that is your HoD's responsibilty - if they won't act, then inform the SLT .
Sounds like professional misconduct.
Also, you may discover that you are breaching H& S regulations by having (and using) tea & coffee making facilites in the prep room.
Best to go to the staff room for tea & coffee.
This could be reported on a RIDDOR form, to make it an official complaint. All schools should have RIDDOR forms. This is a form to report accidents and dangerous occurences including 'near miss' events. The lead manager of the department needs to sign this form to say what measures they have put in place to stop it happening again.
The member of staff should be formally warned about their behaviour, which by the looks of things is potentially very dangerous.
If they are ignorant about chemical safety, they should be re-trained. If they are arrogant about H&S, they should be dismissed.
Cleaning a teapot with KMnO4, how does that work? More likely to stain it a shade darker than the tea stains! Now, except for the fact that I don't understand the cleaning process I should think the KMnO4 (and therefore any residue) was rinsed out after 'cleaning', so should not actually cause a problem. However, what a wicked waste of an expensive chemical!
I do agree that if this technician is doing strange things like this that they may not understand the chemistry side of things and therefore may not be be able to make up correct solutions. Maybe a good idea to have a chat and a delve into the abilities of the technician?
Rather than go off the deep end reporting the technician, why not talk to him and ask him not to use chemicals in items used for consumption and suggest he goes on a safety or chemical course for technicians? (eg CLEAPSS or science centre courses.) It seems to me that training/ retraining is the solution to your dodgy solutions!
Finally, I assume the technician was employed on the basis of 'no formal qualifications required', term time only working and a really pathetic wage? If the school pays peanuts, what quality of staff do they expect to get? Next time you need a technician, why not insist the school asks for suitable science qualifications and offers a decent wage?
Report it or you will be also be walking down the green mile for not informing the school
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