Safety in the Classroom
Some art materials and equipment have potential hazards, and teachers must develop student attitudes that support safe practices in the classroom. The following recommendations for art teachers encompass ways to keep the classroom free of accidents and injuries:
- Implement a comprehensive program of safety, especially with complicated materials, tools, or equipment.
- Label, date, and store all materials and chemicals properly.
- Familiarize yourself with the U.S. Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act, which requires manufacturers to provide the following information:
Know the legal responsibilities for using inappropriate materials. A good resource for questions and concerns regarding art safety is the non-profit organization, Art and Creative Materials Institute, Inc. They identify products that are certified to be safe and to contain no materials in sufficient quantity to be dangerous to children.
Take extra precautions to ensure safety during highly specialized work, such as firing, dyeing, casting, and welding.
Dispose of waste materials properly.
- a signal word such as CAUTION or WARNING
- a list of ingredients
- a telephone number for assistance
- instructions on how to use the product
- a statement of the product’s intended use by children.
The following recommendations for school administrators include ways to support a safe art classroom environment:
- Provide protective equipment, such as eye goggles, face shields, gloves, aprons, and safety belts.
- Provide working fire extinguishers, and place them in art labs according to fire code regulations.
- Provide for proper exhaust and ventilation of dust, chemicals, and fumes.