4.2 The student made decisions to direct the project, taking account of ethical and safety issues

4.2 The student made decisions to direct the project, taking account of ethical and safety issues


Risk assessments are a good form of evidence that health and safety have been considered at Silver and Gold level.

Award level
Criteria breakdown
The student made decisions about how the project would progress with ongoing support from their educator/mentor. 

They followed educator/mentor instructions to work in a safe and ethical way.
I spoke to Mr Rodriguez about the way I wanted to run my project and he had a couple suggestions including using Benedicts solution to test for sugars in the rehydration treatments.

He helped us plan the experiments so that we were working in a safe way. We wore lab coats and goggles to avoid getting anything in our eyes. We also made sure to wash our hands after the experiments just in case.

There weren’t really any ethical or safety issues, other than the fact that I couldn’t do any tests on a dehydrated person for obvious reasons.
The student lead the project and had regular access to an educator or mentor to discuss their ideas.

The students took the lead on working safely – with input from their educator/mentor.

They followed educator/mentor instructions to work in an ethical way.
We had regular check-ins as a group which our mentor came along to. The meeting notes are in appendix 2.

Our lab supervisor helped us to make a risk assessment and checked it over when we were finished this is in appendix 3.
We included things like:
  1. wear eye protection – some fibers store a lot of energy and whip dangerously when they break (medium chance, high impact)
  2. Use a safety screen – that way we won’t be hit by the fibres

We tried to reduce the amount of waste that we created, as most of the fibres were non-recyclable. We knew that we needed three results per fibre type to ensure our results were reliable. We tried to keep the number of tests to a minimum and make the most of the sample that we did have, to try and reduce waste.

The project was largely self-directed by the student. Educators/mentors were consulted on technical or subject knowledge matters.

The student consciously worked in a safe manner, with input from educators/mentors when necessary.

The student consciously worked in an ethical manner, with input from educators/mentors when necessary.
Based on my background research and the data needed to prove or nullify my hypothesis, I provisionally chose method X. I spoke to my mentor about the method to confirm it was appropriate and to get their advice on best practice and things to look out for.

I completed a risk assessment (appendix c) for the experiment, using a template risk assessment my mentor gave me. This outlined all the risks, their likelihood of occurring (1-5), their impact if they did happen (1-5) and the precautions I put in place to mitigate the risks.

Because of my method, I needed to consider the ethics of collecting and processing people’s data. I did further background research – this time into the relevant legislation and best practice for research involving people’s data.
The most important piece of legislation was the Data Protection Act (2018), which specifies (amongst other things) that people must give consent for their data to be gathered and used, and that it must be clear what they are consenting to.
I also followed the guidance of the Medical Research Council, particularly their ‘Good research practices: principles and guidelines’ (MRC, 2011). Unfortunately, MRC’s guidance on, ‘Using information about people in health research’ isn’t available yet, as it’s being updated at the time of this project. Therefore, I followed their publication, “Personal Information in Medical Research” (MRC, 2001) and modified my practice where necessary to be compliant with the Data protection act.

For my method, I drew up a consent form for users to fill out. The purpose of this form was to specify what data I was collecting, what the data would be used for and for participants to give their consent. 
My mentor checked my consent form to make sure it was accurate and clear and compliant with the Data protection act.