Lab and Class Sizes
From Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations:
a. Laboratories shall be designed in accordance with the
1. Science laboratory:
- Size is at least 1300 square feet including
storage and teacher preparation area.
- Science laboratory design is consistent with
the requirements for proper hazardous materials management
specified in both the Science Facilities Design for
California Public Schools, published by the California
Department of Education, 1993, and the Science Safety
Handbook for California Public Schools, published by
the California State Department of Education, 1999.
- Accommodations are made for necessary safety equipment
and storage of supplies; e.g., fire extinguisher, first
aid kit, master disconnect valve for gas.
- Secured storage areas are provided for volatile, flammable,
and corrosive chemicals and cleaning agents.
- Properly designated areas are provided with appropriate
ventilation for hazardous materials that emit noxious fumes,
including a high volume purge system in the event of accidental
release of toxic substances which may become airborne.
- Exhaust fume hoods, eye washes, deluge showers are provided.
- Floor and ceiling ventilation is provided in areas where
chemicals are stored.
- Room is provided for movement of students around fixed-learning
- There is the capability for technology which complements
- Classrooms are flexibly designed to insure full student
access to laboratory stations and lecture areas.
From the Science Safety Handbook for California
Safety Science Monitor: http://www.general.monash.edu.au/MUARC/ipso/index.htm
Flinn Scientific safety materials and guidance:
Laboratory Safety Institute: http://www.labsafety.org
Online Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, from NIOSH:
OSHA home page: http://www.osha.gov/index.html
University of Virginia's extensive safety resources:
No current legal mandate prescribes special limits on class
size in science laboratories. The Uniform Fire Code
classifies science laboratory classes as "academic
subjects" and specifies 20 square feet per student
as a minimum standard, in contrast to a vocational education
class for which the requirement is 50 square feet per student.
In reality, more than 20 square feet per pupil are required
for hands-on laboratory science activities.
Because of these requirements [in Title 5], teachers and
administrators need to establish reasonable limits on the
number of students in a laboratory setting to ensure
maximum safety in the science laboratory. Factors to consider
- the space required for each student to perform experiments
- the safety features in the design of the facilities
- the level of maturity and safety knowledge that students
bring to the science
- the number of students that one teacher can supervise
during a potentially
- the nature and degree of increased hazard and liability
when the class size
exceeds 24 students.
It is recommended that schools take a practical approach
to safe science instruction in determining the number of
students in the laboratory classroom. Factors such as safety,
number of stations, and total classroom square footage should
The Science Safety Handbook for California
Public Schools, 2012 Edition, is available
for download at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ca/sc/documents/scisafebk2012.pdf.