Art Safety Procedures for Art Schools and Art Departments  

(excerpt from full manual)

                       CHAPTER 10.  SAFETY

     This chapter discusses a number of safety areas that can be causes of
accidents.  Many of these areas are covered by OSHA regulations.



Walking and Working Surfaces

* Source: 29 CFR 1910.22

* All work areas, including passageways, storerooms, and service-rooms should
be kept neat, clean, sanitary, and dry. Spills must be cleaned up safely and

* The floors should be free of scraps, garbage, debris, oil or coolant spills,
chips, and other waste.   Likewise, floors, passageways, and working areas
should be kept free of loose boards, nails, splinters and other protrusions.

Machinery and excess equipment or storage shouldn't hazardously crowd the
floor space.

* There should be nonslip surfaces or mats on the walking and work areas in
wet spaces.

* Permanent aisles must be recognizable, and clear of obstruction.


Ladders and Scaffolding

* Source: 29 CFR 1910.24, 1910.25, 1910.26, 1910.27, 1910.28, 1910.29, 1910.

* A fixed ladder should be able to hold a 200 pound load.  There are OSHA
specifications for the size and type of rungs that are acceptable for ladders.
Ladders should be free of splinters and burrs.  Wood ladders should be made
with preserved wood where needed, since paint alone doesn't adequately
preserve wood.  

* The preferred angle for descent is 75 - 90 degrees.  Vertical ladders
require cages or safety devices if they are longer than 20 feet.

* All portable ladders should be maintained in good condition, and inspected
frequently.  Dangerous ladders should be repaired or discarded.  Metal ladders
should not be used near energized electrical equipment.  Ladders should be
placed on secure  nonslip surfaces or footing.  All ladders should meet OSHA
standards, and purchase orders should include this requirement.  

* A standard guardrail is required at every open-sided platform, catwalk, or
runway that is 4 or more feet above the floor.  Stairways floor openings
require standard guardrails on all sides except at the stair entrance.  There
are precise requirements for the construction of the standard guardrail.  

* Scaffolds should be able to support at least four times the maximum intended
load, while wire or rope should be able to support at least six times the
intended load.  The scaffold should solid enough to hold the intended load
without settling or shifting.  Unstable objects such as bricks, blocks, or
boxes should not be used to support scaffolds or planks.  

* Guardrails and toeboards must be used on all sides of scaffolds that are
more than 10 feet above the ground.  If the scaffold is less than 45 inches

wide, then guardrails are required for scaffolds from 4 to 10 feet high.
Planks must be secure from movement or be overlapped a minimum of 12 inches.   

* All scaffolds must be maintained and inspected. Dangerous scaffolds should
be removed.  

* The height of rolling scaffolds should not exceed four times the size of the
base.  There must be proper cross and horizontal bracing.  At least two out of
four casters or wheels must be swivel type on rolling scaffolds, and they
should all have locking capability.  People should not be allowed to ride on
manually propelled scaffolds.



* Source: 29 CFR 1910.36, 1910.37

* There must be an exit route that leads to a public way.  The area
surrounding the exit and exit route should be clear of any obstruction or
debris.  This exit route should not pass through high hazard areas unless
there is suitable shielding or barriers.  

* Doors leading to exit routes should be side-hinged and swinging.  If the
room to be exited holds more than 50 people, or is an area of high hazard
potential, then the door must swing in the outward (from the room) direction.
No locks or fasteners should prevent escape from the inside of the building.  

* If the exits aren't accessible at all times, then there must be two
available exit paths that lead directly to the exit.  

* "EXIT", written in clear, plain, legible letters must mark each egress.

This signs should not be obscured by any decoration, furnishings or other
signs.  Doors, passageways or stairways only resembling exits must be marked

"NOT AN EXIT", or if applicable "STORAGE ROOM" or "TO BASEMENT" thus
clarifying their usage.  

* Directional arrows must delineate egress pathways when actual exit signs are
not visible.  It there is any occupancy at night, or there is reduced lighting
during the day, exit signs must be lit with a reliable light source.



Manual Handling  

     According to the National Safety Council, nearly one in four disabling
injuries is directly related to materials handling activities.  Accidents
include slips, and falls, back injuries and hernias, chemical and heat injury,
as well as hand and foot injury.  

     The following are recommendations for manual handling of materials:

* People lifting heavy objects should be trained in safe lifting techniques.  

* If the object is large, have someone else guide the move.  For two person
lifting, make sure the individuals are as similar in height and strength as
possible to ensure an equal balance of weight.

* Use protective equipment if necessary.  For example use heat resistant
gloves for hot objects, and heavy work gloves for rough lumber to protect from


Powered Equipment

* Hazards of different types of fork trucks often depend on the type of fuel
used.  Only those trained and authorized in the safe operation of fork trucks
should be allowed to operate them. Unattended trucks should be parked in
neutral, with forks lowered completely.

* Trucks should be inspected before service each day.

* Trucks must have an overhead to protect against falling objects.  

* The view from the cabin should always be free.  Loads that obstruct clear
view must be hauled from behind.

* All loading boards and accessories must be securable.

* "No Smoking" signs are required with the use of battery powered operations.

* See 23 CFR 1910.178 for more detailed regulations.


Safe Storage

* Safe storage is characterized by the maintenance of a neat and orderly area
for both temporary and permanent storage.  Stored materials must not block any
safety equipment (i.e. fire extinguishers, alarm boxes, sprinkler system
controls, electric switches, lights or first aid supplies).  Clearance must be
maintained for exit routes, aisles, loading pathways, and doors.

* Proper drainage must be provided if necessary.

* Storage of hazardous chemicals and of flammable and combustible materials
must be in accordance with OSHA regulations.

* OSHA specifies floorload capacity, labeling of floorboard capacity, door
size, aisle width, stack clearance, loading facility and dock dimensions (29
CFR 1910.22).  

* Floors and stairways should be kept free of debris, spill or fire hazards.

* All drums should remain sealed.  Leaking drums should be removed.

* Store objects securely.  For example, cylinders that are stored horizontally

should be nested and blocked.

* Lack of adequate storage space often leads to unsafe conditions.  Each
classroom, workshop, studio, or lab should have adequate space for storage of
materials used.  

* Tool cribs, tool panels, wall cabinets, bench drawers, and tool racks should
be constructed in such a way that there is protection from injury from tools
falling from overhead and cuts arising from improperly stored sharp tools.




     Accidents involving machines, particularly woodworking machines, cause a
high percentage of injuries in art departments.  The following are some basic
safety rules for machine and tool safety:

* Everyone using tools and machines should be properly trained in their use
according to manufacturing specifications, and general safe and cautious
behavior in the woodshop.

* Everyone should wear safety goggles or safety glasses.  A face shield may be
worn over these but a face shield by itself does not adequately protect the
eyes.  Eye glasses are not sufficient protection.  

* NIOSH-approved toxic dust masks should be available and used when necessary.

* Loose clothing, work gloves, neckties and dangling jewelry should not be
worn around powered tools or machines.

* The work area should always be kept clean, swept, and well-lit. Floors
should be free of all debris, slippery materials, or water.  

* Never leave any machine that is running unattended.  Turn off the power, and
wait until the machine isn't moving before leaving the work area.

* When energized machines and equipment are being serviced or maintained, OSHA

requires a program to ensure the machines are equipped with lockout devices or tagout devices if guards are removed or bypassed, or other safety hazards
could exist during the servicing (29 CFR 1910.147).

Machine Guards

     Hazards to those working with machinery exist whenever machine parts
rotate, reciprocate, move in transverse, Cut, punch, nip, shear or bend.
Machinery action can occur at the site of the work-piece and elsewhere.  OSHA
requires machine guards on all machines with these safety hazards to protect
the operator and other employees (29 CFR 1910.211, 1910.213, 1910.215 - .219)

     Common methods of guarding against machine hazards include:

* enclosing the operation;

* interlocking devices;

* moving barriers;

* removal devices;

* remote control;

* two-hand tripping devices; and

* electronic safety devices.

Fixed enclosures:  Fixed enclosure is the preferred method of machine
guarding.  Access to dangerous parts is impossible.  Flying machine parts
would be restrained.  Sometimes they are adjustable to different types of
machine parts.  In this case, they should also be fixable.

Interlocking guards:  Interlocking guards provide the second best method of
machine guarding.  An interlocking enclosure is removable.  A mechanical or
electric interlocking connection prevents dangerous contact between machine
and operator.  

     Specifically, an interlocking enclosure guard should:

* disengage power preventing start-up of machine when
the guard is open.

* guard the danger point before the start of operation.

* maintain the closed guard until the machine is at rest,
and likewise stop power during a work cycle if the
guard is opened.

     Examples of interlocking guards include barrier bars or wires, or
electric eye-beams, or magnetic circuitry that activates a braking mechanism.

Automatic guards:  Automatic guards are the third best choice.  One type of
automatic guard operates while the machine is active, and protects by removing
the operator's hand or body from the danger zone.  Common examples are sweep
and pushaway devices.

     Remote control placement, feeding and ejecting can protect the operator
from contact at the dangerous point in machine operation.  Two-handed devices
can activate the machine.  Hand controls can also be linked with foot
controls.  The start-up controls should be positioned so that the operator
cannot reach the dangerous point of the machine, unless he or she de-activates
the machine by releasing the switch.

Woodworking Machines

     Woodworking machines requires special consideration because of they are
a major cause of accidents in arts programs.  This is covered by OSHA under 29
CFR 1910.213.

* Machines should be secured.  Belts, pulleys, chains, sprockets and gears
must be guarded.  V-belts and chain drives must be completely enclosed; if
belts, shafting, couplings, keys, collars and clutches are located seven or
less feet above the ground, these must be guarded from contact.

* Machine guards should be securely attached to machines, and conform to
existing standards, or be specifically designed for the particular machine.

(See discussion on machine guards below.)

* Every machine needs an accessible stop switch.

* Machines should have a master switch.  It should be possible to lock the
machine in the "off" position.

* Cutting blades must be maintained and sharp.

* Scraps and waste should be kept clear of the working surface of the machine.

* All woodworking machines that generate considerable quantities of wood dust
should be equipped with dust collectors that exhaust to the outside.  Portable
dust collectors are available that can be connected to several machines at

* Hearing protection may be necessary since noise levels from machinery can be

very high.  A good rule of thumb is that hearing protection is called for when
there is difficulty hearing someone one to two feet away.  

Powered Hand Tools

* Source: 29 CFR 1910.241 - .243.

* All electric cords must be in good condition, and inspected and maintained.

Special precautions must be taken if the work is damp, or contains flammables
or combustibles.  

* All guards, shields, and attachments should be in place and functioning.

* Hand held electrical power tools must have a quick-release (dead-man)
control that shuts off power when control switch is released.

* The frame of electrical tools must be grounded or double-insulated, and thus

* Pneumatic tools must be securely fastened to the hose.

Additionally, there must be a tool retainer that restrains the attachment.  

Hand Tools

* All hand tools must be maintained in good condition, and replaced if

* Tools should be stored safely and neatly.  There should be procedures for
the control of tools.

* Tools should only be used for their intended purpose.

     For further information on the hazards and precautions for woodworking
machines, powered hand tools and hand tools, see the data sheets prepared by
the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).  These are
available from the Center for Safety in the Arts.

Electrical Safety

     OSHA uses the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70-1971, and ANSI C1-1971)
for its standard on electrical safety (29 CFR 1910.301 - 1910.308).

Electrical fires are the number one cause of fire.  

     Basic requirements for electrical safety include:

* In every situation, permanent wires should be used.  Extension cords, cube
taps, and multiple jacks shouldn't be used.  If needed, more outlets should be

* Flexible cords should be inspected, maintained, and replaced if there are

any signs of damage, fraying or deterioration.  Cords should never be used as
a substitute for fixed wiring.  There should not be pull on joints or terminal
screws of cords.  

* It is forbidden to run flexible cords through holes in windows, doors,
ceilings, floors, or walls.  Cords may not be attached to building surfaces.

* Splices and repairs on flexible cord must be done by welding, brazing or
soldering, or splicing devices.  Do not tape wires.  Both splices and free
ends of conductors must be insulated.

* Circuit breakers and fuse boxes must either be recognizable or labeled.

Outlets, switches, and junction boxes must be covered.  All electrical boxes
should be secured to the wall.   

* The circuit breaker panel or fuse box should be easily accessible.  Each
switch should be labeled as to its function.  Ground fault interrupters, which
shut off the electrical current in the case of shorts should be installed.

* Electrical motor frames must be grounded. If there is any chance of

operation in a wet or damp location, electrical contact with metal, voltage
reached greater than 150, or operation in a hazardous location, then all
exposed metal parts must be grounded, even if noncurrent-carrying.  Likewise,
noncurrent metal parts of appliances and hand-held motor operated tools must
be grounded and labeled.   Use only grounded plugs in wet areas.

* Ground fault circuit interrupters, which shut off the electrical current in
case of shorts, should be installed whenever machinery or electrical outlets
are within 10 feet of the chance of contact with water.

* 220-volt and 110-volt wiring should be separate and identifiable.  Don't use
compatible plugs.  

* Don't let sawdust or other debris build up around motors since the debris
may ignite if the motor overheats.

* National Electrical Code requirements for electrical wiring and equipment
near flammable and combustible liquids was discussed in Chapter 8.



1. Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety. Infograms:

     Hand Tools (16 pp)

     Powered Hand Tools (17 pp)

     Woodworking (10 pp)

( These are a series of one-page data sheets on various topics that are useful

training tools.) *

2. Division of Training and Manpower Development.  (1981). Safety and Health

for Industrial/Vocational Education for Supervisors and Instructors.  DHHS

(NIOSH) and DOL (OSHA), Cincinnati, OH.

3. National Fire Protection Association. (1987). NFPA 70-1987. National

Electrical Code. NFPA, Quincy, MA.

4. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (1979). Occupational

Safety and Health in Vocational Education, DHHS (NIOSH), Cincinnati, OH.

5. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (1989). Occupational Safety

and Health Standards For General Industry, 29 CFR Part 1910.  OSHA, U.S.

Department of Labor, Washington, DC.