Sustainability shares in the classroom

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Shallcross, David C.
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University College Cork
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Safety shares, safety moments or toolbox talks are a way to keep process and personal safety at the front of mind. Within many industries every meeting, no matter what the topic, begins with a safety share, safety moment or toolbox talk, a chance to reflect on the importance of safety. The safety discussion might last for only 2 to 4 minutes and might be drawn from personal observation or experience or from readings. This practice has been replicated in one subject in the chemical engineering program at the University of Melbourne for seven years. A safety share begins every lecture. Safety shares, when implemented in a careful manner, allow students to be introduced to concepts such as permit-to-work, confined spaces, the hazards of static electricity and the importance of maintaining situational awareness. If the use of safety shares has proved to be an effective way to raise the level of awareness of personal and process safety, then this technique can be expanded to promote the importance of sustainable development in the future. Lectures could begin with sustainability shares that introduce students to the key concepts. If safety shares can help promote a strong safety culture with a department or school, then the use of sustainability shares should be able to do the same. In this paper the concept of sustainability shares is developed with 11 shares being proposed for use in the chemical engineering classroom. These shares cover topics including issues around energy equity in less developed countries, to the amount of embodied water and energy in some everyday items. By presenting one sustainability share a lecture, three lectures a week for a semester, almost 40 shares will be delivered by each subject helping students to understand the role that chemical engineers can play in addressing the issues of sustainable development.
Toolbox talks , Safety discussions , Safety share , Engineering education , Sustainability , Sustainable development
Shallcross, D. C. (2021) ‘Sustainability Shares in the Classroom’, EESD2021: Proceedings of the 10th Engineering Education for Sustainable Development Conference, 'Building Flourishing Communities', University College Cork, Ireland, 14-16 June.