Safety in Outreach Settings

Make chemistry outreach experiences safer for all to enjoy with this RAMP-based guide.

Safety in Outreach Settings adapts RAMP, the four-part risk management system used in academic labs, to public venues.

Facilitating hands-on activities or performing chemistry demonstrations in public outreach settings requires special safety considerations, beyond the established standard operating procedures of your lab. Places where public outreach takes place such as science museums, libraries, public parks, and schools are all unlikely to have fume hoods, splash shields, eye protection, or even easy access to running water. Add the need to transport chemicals to the site and back again, with the unknowns of bringing together groups of people, and the likelihood that someone gets hurt increases dramatically!

This guide will help you select low-risk activities and demonstrations for your program. It will also help you recognize and eliminate high-risk ones, before they become regrettable accidents. More powerfully, though, this guide will help you plan and implement specific strategies and safeguards to minimize the risks you take every time you engage the public with chemistry.

Safety in Outreach Settings will help you:

  1. Identify and select low-risk activities for your outreach program
  2. Recognize and eliminate high-risk activities and demos before they lead to accidents
  3. Make strategic changes to activities and demos to minimize the likelihood of injury and promote a culture of safety


  • Read Disclaimer for Safety in Outreach Settings Resources

    The American Chemical Society (“ACS”) is a federally chartered nonprofit organization with its principal office at 1155 Sixteenth St., NW, Washington, DC 20036. ACS advocates for the safe practice of chemistry across all disciplines, at every age, and in every organization. We engage with like-minded professionals, participants, students, and entities to provide tools to foster a culture of safety in your classroom, campus, or lab.

    Through the ACS Institute’s Center for Lab Safety, the Safety in Outreach Settings Resource (hereinafter ‘Resource’) seeks to facilitate hands-on activities or performing chemistry demonstrations in public outreach settings, which require special safety considerations beyond the established standard operating procedures of a chemistry lab.

    All information contained within the Resource—the Instruction Guide, RAMP Worksheet, Outreach Safety FAQs, Outreach Hazard Guides, RAMPed-Up Activities and Demos, Conversation Checklist, and any other future materials associated with this Resource (hereinafter collectively ‘Outreach Safety Materials’)—is provided by ACS for information
    purposes only, and not as part of any legal obligation, whether express or implied by law, whether real or imaginary, between ACS and any person or entity unless specifically undertaken otherwise in writing by the Society. As the owner of all Outreach Safety Materials, ACS reserves the right to change, modify, add, or delete materials relating to this Resource at any time and from time to time without prior notice of any kind whatsoever.

    ACS assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the Outreach Safety Materials. Further, ACS assumes no responsibility for any injury and/or damage to persons or property arising out of or relating to the use or implementation of the Outreach Safety Materials, including but not limited to any ideas, information, instructions, methods, products, or procedures contained in or disclosed by the Outreach Safety Materials. All Outreach Safety Materials and related online content are provided “as is” and without warranties or representations of any kind, whether express or implied. Your use of the Outreach Safety Materials is at your sole risk. Further, ACS shall not be liable to you or anyone else for any loss or injury caused in whole or in part by its negligence or contingencies beyond its control in utilizing or implementing the Outreach Safety Materials through the Resource. Consequently, ACS will not be liable to you or anyone else for any decision or action taken by you or anyone else in reliance on the accuracy, usefulness, and/or scientific basis described within the Outreach Safety Materials for any damages (including, without limitation, consequential, special, incidental, indirect, or similar loss or damage).

    Further, you acknowledge and accept that every time chemistry is taken out of the lab, on the road, and into public spaces, there are inherent risks to be assumed that ACS cannot guarantee against or prevent. Your diligence in using the Outreach Safety Materials is critical to help you, your audience, your volunteers, and the staff at the facility hosting an event have a positive, safe experience with chemistry. In any event, you assume all risks associated with these Outreach Safety Materials and the associated chemistry activities, experiments, and demonstrations.

Safety in Outreach Settings Instruction Guide

The Safety in Outreach Settings Instruction Guide walks through the basics of RAMP and the details of performing a RAMP analysis for hands-on activities and demonstrations in outreach settings.


Outreach Safety Checklists & Worksheets

Host Facility Q&A Checklist

Use this checklist when meeting with representatives from the host facility to ensure that safety concerns are addressed. Communication and careful planning with facility staff will help you design a successful outreach event.

RAMP Worksheet

The RAMP Worksheet will guide your thinking and document how you will minimize risk for each activity and demonstration you plan.


Sample RAMP Worksheet & Activity Example

Review a sample RAMP worksheet and corresponding outreach activity to help you calibrate your risk tolerance to an appropriate level for the organizations you represent when doing outreach.

Outreach Hazard Guide

This collection of Hazard Guides will help you recognize the hazards that may be present in outreach settings and minimize risks during outreach. Practicing hazard identification, following proper procedures for handling chemicals and other hazards, and planning for emergencies are necessary steps when planning and implementing outreach.

More RAMP and safety resources

The Safety in Outreach Settings RAMP Analysis Guide and Worksheet were developed by a joint-task force consisting of members from the Committee on Community Activities, the Society Committee on Education, and the Committee on Chemical Safety.

Stay Informed

Keep up to date with ACS Outreach announcements.

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Contact the ACS Office of Science Outreach