A Guide to Safe Practice in Art & Design
Organisation of both general classrooms and specialised studios will vary according to the range of art activities that can be undertaken. In primary classrooms where a variety of activities can take place simultaneously, much of the equipment and materials will probably be portable and little fixed equipment will be used. The likely hazards would mainly arise through the complexity of the different activities and the use of scissors, knives and similar equipment. In such circumstances it is particularly important to maintain proper levels of supervision. Good organisation, arrangement of working areas, access to materials and equipment, and careful supervision are the main ways of ensuring safe working conditions.
A multiplicity of activities may also take place in secondary school art and design studios. Such rooms will often accommodate a range of activities, from drawing and painting to clay work and printmaking, and ICT. These are not necessarily compatible. Safe working practice depends upon the extent to which the art room is properly organised and the pupils are confident and competent to work in the variety of materials available. No pupil should be asked to attempt potentially hazardous tasks that are beyond their capabilities, and care should be taken to ensure that pupils do not use equipment for which they have not been trained.
Most secondary schools have some rooms dedicated to specialised activities such as ceramics and printmaking, and these require appropriate specific safety measures. Other sections of this web site deal with specialised activities in detail but the same principles of efficient organisation apply. In all cases adequate space is a prerequisite of safe practice.