Our LVI (Year 12) Chemists entered the European Systems Safety Society (ESSS) 2018 Schools Competition, based on the theme of 'Hazards' and we are delighted to report that one team won (the prize being two 3D printers) and the second team were runners-up.

The brief given to the girls for this competition, run in partnership with the Association for Science Education and open to Year 7 and Year 12 pupils, included the following statement: ‘Every day we are surrounded by things, and perform acts, that could harm us. These are known as hazards. However, the presence of a hazard does not automatically mean that we will be harmed.’ As a group, the girls had to identify a hazard and explain the consequences and risk assessments, as well as propose solutions to reduce risk.

To do this, the girls first brainstormed different everyday hazards that people tend to overlook. They discussed the different options and settled on the ‘dangers of laughing’. They divided the necessary workload into subgroups; some researched, some made trump cards, others narrated while a couple of the girls were the designated artists. They had made the decision to create a white board animation video using start-stop motion on iPads, so when all the components were completed, the different parts of the project were all incorporated into a final ‘Hazards’ video.

The printers were presented to the girls by consultant, Dr Rod Bayliss, who commented: ‘your winning entry was very good, it was visually well-presented and an amusing assessment about the hazards of laughing.’ Dr Bayliss studied Chemistry at university and has enjoyed a diverse career, including being a technical expert in the Cullen enquiry into the Piper Alpha disaster. Dr Bayliss also gave a presentation to the girls, which stressed the importance of evaluating and managing hazards and risks, assessing the likelihood/severity of a situation and, importantly, recognising when to challenge unreasonable decisions, apply logic and use common sense.

Iona, who led the winning team, said ‘the exercise was great fun and the whole team worked together very well; we particularly enjoyed creating ‘Top Trumps’ cards, featuring the ‘dangers of laughing’!'

Congratulations to the girls; the department is looking forward to using the new 3D printers.