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Health & Safety Manual


Artists, artisans, designers, and students in general are exposed to a number of potentially hazardous materials and processes in our studios. Knowledge of hazards and proper studio procedures, coupled with an attitude of respect and mental alertness, will help ensure that our workspaces are safe and healthy.

The recommendations contained in this manual are based on information obtained from safety and health publications, experts in the field, discussions with artists, and our own experience as artists, teachers, and managers of studio activity. These recommendations are presented as written standards of practice,and should be regarded as firm guidelines for safe and healthy activity in all of our studios at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

As students you have a responsibility to be physically and mentally alert, aware of safety and health issues, follow policies and procedures designed to protect you, and report all incidents or accidents so that steps may be taken to prevent recurrence.

As faculty and administration we have the responsibility for providing as safe working conditions as is possible, educating students about potential hazards and proper procedures, and enforcing policies for safe practice.

Policies & Procedures

  1. It is the policy of the college to enforce all safety regulations within the studio and classroom setting.
  2. Students who fail to follow these regulations shall be penalized according to the safety violation procedures established by their department.
  3. All personnel and students connected to the college shall review, discuss, and follow the policies and procedures outlined in this manual.
  4. Faculty will brief all students on health and safety standards and practices in each studio at the beginning of the semester.
  5. Personal protective equipment will be explained and demonstrated at the beginning of the semester and as necessary.
  6. After discussion of any questions or concerns, please sign the Consent Form (available in the program studio policy PDF download) and submit it to your instructor. By signing this form you acknowledge your obligation to provide a safe studio working area for yourself and others.

General Studio Rules & Procedures

Materials: Labeling, introduction of new materials, storage, handling/use, waste.

Labeling: Labeling of art materials is often inadequate. The absence of a warning label does not mean a substance is harmless. Know what you are working with.Warnings and precautions, when available, should be adhered to strictly.

  1. Students should read all labels carefully before using any material for the first time.
  2. Warnings and precautions, when available, should be adhered to strictly.
  3. If a label is non-specific, confusing, or absent, seek further information before using.
  4. If no information is available from the manufacturer consult other resources such as material data sheets on file in department offices, Art Hazards News, Artist Beware, by Michael McCann, Health Hazards Manual for Artists, also by McCann, Artists Materials, by Ralph Mayer, etc.
  5. If necessary, write the manufacturer requesting health and safety information on their product in the form of a Material Safety Data Sheet.
  6. All artists should become familiar with the hazardous materials common to their form of artwork and watch for these substances when reading labels.

Introduction of New Materials

  1. New products and/or practices which faculty or students wish to introduce into their studios must be researched before doing so. Again, use the Material Safety Data Sheets, and request manufacturer information if necessary.

Storage of Materials

  1. All hazardous materials must be stored in containers that are labeled clearly with all contents listed.
  2. Containers should be tightly covered when not in use.
  3. Flammable and combustible liquids should be stored in an approved flammable liquid storage cabinet.
  4. Acids should be stored separate from flammable and combustible liquids.

Handling, Use, Disposal of Materials

  1. All students must be given detailed instructions on the handling, use, and disposal of all materials that pose potential health hazards
  2. Paper towels and rags used in cleanup must be disposed of in metal non-combustible waste disposal cans.
  3. Waste disposal cans should be labeled as such, and be taken to designated pickup areas in compliance with department rules and schedules. For a complete review of waste issues and procedures go to Waste Management.
  4. Report spills immediately to faculty, building coordinator, administration, safety office, or campus security officer.

Studio Operational Procedures and Rules

  1. Smoking, eating, drug or alcohol use is not allowed in studios. Eating is allowed only in student lounges.
  2. Students should not work alone in the studios at night, and students should not operate machinery at any time unless one other trained person is present in the studio.
  3. Work clothing:
    • Any loose clothing that could become trapped in machinery or accidentally dipped in chemicals must not be worn.
    • Hair must be tied back or a headband worn so that it cannot become caught in machinery. Similar precautions must be taken with beards, personal dress, and adornments.
    • Protective clothing worn during the use of hazardous material should be removed after work and carefully stored so as to avoid contamination.
    • Shoes must be worn at all times in the studios.
  4. There shall be no unauthorized visitors in the studios. Friends, family, pets, etc. can see you or talk with you outside the studio.
  5. Aisles and exit routes must not be obstructed in any way, (no equipment, chairs, personal materials or trash permitted in exit area). Exit doors, shall not be locked, bolted or obstructed in any way to block egress. Emergency Fire Exit doors are "exit only" in compliance with Fire Department regulations.
  6. Electrical and mechanical hazards: Report any missing or malfunctioning equipment or supplies immediately. Do not attempt to repair or alter equipment yourself.
  7. A general program must be initiated and enforced by faculty within each studio space which outlines procedures for housekeeping, and which sets standards for cleanliness, equipment use and storage of all materials and gear.
  8. Faculty are responsible for establishing within their studios specific safety codes for their areas, and a policy for violations of these procedures. Students must be made aware of the consequences of health and safety violations at the beginning of the semester.

Fire Prevention

  1. Be aware of ignition sources: open flames, heating elements, spark gaps (motors, light switches, friction, static, etc.)
  2. Do not use flammable liquids in the presence of ignition sources, and vice versa.
  3. Flammable liquids give off vapors which may burn or explode. Be sure they are properly stored and labeled. Do not store flammables in direct sunlight. Report spills immediately.
  4. Good housekeeping is a key element in fire prevention, and proper standards must be enforced in each studio. Go to Industrial Hygiene for more info.
  5. Do not overload electrical circuits, and report ANY electrical malfunctions, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, immediately to faculty, building coordinator, administration, safety office, or campus security officer.

Safety and Health Procedures and Policies

  1. All studios shall keep appropriate First Aid equipment and supplies on hand, and replenish such supplies at the beginning of each semester.
  2. Students shall wear hearing, eye, face, and personal protective equipment whenever deemed appropriate by the department.
    • Housekeeping: procedures for cleaning of all studio spaces, storage of chemicals, waste and equipment will be established by faculty, and must be carried out on a regular basis to ensure a safe environment.
  3. Emergency and Fire procedures and phone numbers for both emergency and non-emergency situations:
    • In the event of an emergency, a responsible individual should seek help by picking up any red emergency telephone located throughout the New Bedford Campus building. Red emergency phones, when picked up, will automatically ring at the Security desk of the New Bedford Campus at the Star Store. After 3 rings, the call will be directed to UMass Dartmouth Campus Police. Another individual should stay with the victim.
      • To reach UMass Dartmouth Campus Police directly from all studio phones dial 8907.
      • To reach Star Store security desk directly from all studio phones dial 8905.
    • For local Police, Fire, and Emergency medical response, dial 7-911 from studio and office telephones.
    • In the event of fire: sound the alarm, contain or fight the fire only if possible and practical to do so, evacuate yourself and others from the building.
    • In the event that a non-emergency situation arises which nevertheless requires First Aid, call the Health Office at ext. 8983 for assistance. First aid boxes are available in every department for immediate treatment of minor injuries.
    • All accidents, including those which result in injuries requiring only First Aid or those which only involve property damage shall be reported to faculty members in each studio using the Accident/Incident Form.
    • Any illness or physical impairment which may be related to your artwork (e.g. skin problem, headaches, nausea, etc.) shall be reported to your studio faculty member immediately, and be checked out by the Health Office.
    • Post Fire and Accident Procedures in a prominent place in each studio.
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