A Guide to Safe Practice in Art & Design


Although some local authorities provide guidelines to the schools they maintain on health and safety in art and design activities, not all do so. There are few readily accessible, up-to-date publications for teachers that deal exclusively with the subject.

The purpose of this guide is to draw together the range of health and safety issues affecting art and design activities and, more specifically, to highlight the legal duties arising from health and safety legislation. This places various responsibilities on local authorities, schools and teachers designed generally to ensure the safety and well being of employees and those in their care. This guide draws attention to particular areas where accidents commonly occur and provides examples of good practice to help avoid such incidents.

The guide is not intended to inhibit the teaching of art and design. Teachers may feel that their freedom to carry out some activities is constrained by some safety legislation. However, the purpose of such legislation is rarely to ban activities but rather to ensure that they are carried out in a safe and efficient manner. This guide aims to set out the position on what is permitted and encourage good, safe practice in art and design.

This booklet cannot provide a complete guide to all the potentially specific hazards and safety procedures relating to materials, equipment and methods, which might be used in art and design. Its main purpose is to help teachers be more aware of the inherent risks, and to encourage the seeking of further specialist advice if the information available in this publication is insufficient - for example by following the website links provided.

The booklet A Guide to Safe Practice in Art & Design was first published in 1995 by the then Department of Education (HMSO, London ISBN 0 11 270896 X). It was researched by the National Society for Education in Art & Design with the assistance of the Health and Safety Executive.
This up-dated on-line 2004 version of the guide was made possible with the aid of a grant from the Department for Education and Skills

The information on this site is updated and checked for accuracy and completeness from time to time. However it is important to note that the information on this site must be used with a degree of caution: it is not guaranteed to be error free or to serve a specific purpose and its use is entirely at the user's own risk. To the extent permitted by the law, neither the DCSF nor the NSEAD are liable for any loss, injury, damage claim or expenses resulting from any use of this information.