A Guide to Safe Practice in Art & Design


As with any practical activity, there is an element of risk in art and design activities. However, this can be kept to an acceptable minimum if those involved are aware of the potential hazards and take appropriate steps to avoid accidents. It is particularly important that teachers are aware of their responsibilities regarding health and safety and ensure that pupils act safely, within acceptable bounds, at all times. This guide is intended primarily for secondary school teachers who are responsible for practical activities in art and design. General class teachers in primary schools, lecturers in further, higher and adult education, and those training to be teachers may also find it helpful.

2. Relevant Legislation

Employers and staff have legal responsibilities concerning health and safety under both common and statute law. There is information here on the main regulations and requirements that have implications for the management and organisation of practical activities in schools.


4. Management and Organisation

This section includes information on matters including school and class management, group sizes, fire precautions, first aid,protective clothing, cleaning, and outside visits and work away from school.


6. Equipment and Processes

This section covers siting, safety guards and devices, safe working practices including
ceramics machinery, equipment and working methods; cutting equipment; printing, textiles, photography and computers.


8. Additional Information

This section provides additional references, sources of general information and useful addresses .



3. Safety Education

This section discusses normal classroom practice in art and design and recognises that this need not be unduly restricted because of fears about health and safety. Advice is also provided about working with students with special educational needs.


5. Accommodation

This section covers physical requirements, such as design and layout of art rooms, storage areas, fixed equipment, fixtures and fittings, services, emergency apparatus, floors and furnishing, and deal with spaces dedicated to specialised use.


7. Materials

This section deals with materials that are not usually associated with one specific activity. For example, sculpture or experimental three-dimensional work may involve a considerable range of materials which may be duplicated in different activities. The most obvious danger is in the unorthodox or 'creative' use of processes and materials which, in other circumstances, may be prescribed by 'named' activities such as modelling, welding, casting, and so on.