Investigating the Impact of RAMP-Based Safety Instruction on Student Learning in an Organic Chemistry Lab Course

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The American Chemical Society advocates a shift from rule-based to risk-based safety education for chemistry graduates, emphasizing meaningful student engagement in the risk assessment process for laboratory work. To implement this paradigm shift, we introduced RAMP (Recognize Hazards, Assess Risk, Minimize Risk, and Prevent Emergencies)-based safety instruction, fostering interactive and constructive student engagement, within an undergraduate organic chemistry lab course. We evaluated the impact of this RAMP-based safety education through prepost treatment quizzes and semistructured interviews. Students received training on RAMP principles and conducted risk assessments using an adapted Job Hazard Analysis format for their prelab quiz for each experiment throughout the semester. Our quantitative analysis of the pre- and post-treatment quizzes revealed statistically significant differences, with the experimental group showing improved cognitive outcomes, compared to the control group. Additionally, analysis of the semistructured interviews conducted to explore student perspectives on the RAMP-based safety instruction revealed the positive effects of the RAMP-based safety instruction on students’ learning, supported by the quantitative findings. Students exhibited increased cognitive and behavioral engagement, reflecting the potential benefits of this approach.

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Journal of Chemical Education