Accidents in CTE and STEM Labs: A National Safety Study

By: Tyler S. Love, Philip Sirinides & Kenneth R. Roy
Presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA):
San Diego, CA – April 22, 2022
Paper Session: Leading and Administering Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programming


Safety continues to be one of the core components of career and technical education (CTE) and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Evidence of its importance can be found in many state statutes, approved state OSHA plans, federal OSHA regulations, national and state academic standards documents, and resources published by professional CTE and STEM educator associations such as ACTE, NSTA, and ITEEA. This paper presents safety findings from a study involving 718 educators from 42 states who taught lab based CTE or STEM courses. Correlational analyses revealed factors which were associated with accident occurrences. This study provides practical implications for state departments and school districts to improve the safety practices, protocols, and policies within CTE and STEM
education labs.


The overarching purpose of this research was to provide sound empirical evidence that identified safety factors, practices, and facility characteristics associated with accident occurrences in career and technical education (CTE) and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education labs. The lack of data from previous studies and implications for protecting students and teachers provided the rationale for this study, which resulted in the following research questions: 1) What factors are significantly associated with accident occurrences, and 2) What is the extent of these associations? 

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