Working with Glass

Great care should always be taken when working with glass to avoid injury or risks from ingestion. Pupils should never eat, drink or apply cosmetics when in the studio or workshop and particularly after handling glass. Hands should always be washed thoroughly and nails should be scrubbed after activities and specifically after handling ground glass or broken shards and pieces. Such handling should always be carried out using scoops rather than hands. Suitable PPE equipment must be worn i.e. eye protection should be worn when cutting, shaping or grinding glass, protective gloves when handling broken glass.

CLEAPSS guidance - MRAT - 164 - Working with glass

Batch Mixing and Loading - 

In batch mixing and loading in which silicaceous and toxic dusts are likely to be created, a batch must always be mixed in a sealed container and all appropriate safety measures must be observed.

Hot Glass

When working with hot glass, eye protection, protective clothing, safety spectacles and other appropriate personal protection precautions must be used. Glass kilns are subject to the same regulations and safety procedures as for ceramics kilns.

Glass fusing and slumping in a ceramic kiln

Glass kilns are subject to the same regulations and safety procedures as for ceramics kiln

It is possible to fuse, slump and melt glass in a ceramics kiln, but not usually as part of a ceramics firing as the temperatures are different. Such activities can control either a 'tack fuse', 'contour fuse' or a 'full fuse' glass process. 

Teachers must be suitably trained in managing such activities, in kiln controller programming and carry out a full risk assessment to ensure their kiln and procedures are accurate, safe and will not lead to damage of their kiln. Care must also be taken to ensure the glass used is from a recognised source and will not generate toxic gases during firing.  In any activities where pupils might work with high temperature glass, then safety goggles or face shields with infra-red filters should be worn.


Handling lead can result in particles being trapped under fingernails or accidentally ingested. Hands should be thoroughly washed and fingernails scrubbed, and care taken to keep hands away from the mouth when working.

Acid Etching and Polishing

Etching and polishing with hydrofluoric acid or with ammonium bifluoride (ammonium hydrogen difluoride) must not be attempted in schools.