Producing artwork has long been thought to be a safe activity.  However, many of the materials and machines being used to make art can come with potential risks. Lacquers, thinners, aerosol sprays and inks can have volatile organic compounds. Ceramic clays contain silica dust and glazes can contain toxic metals. Since each of these materials come with their own unique hazard, artists need to be more trained and aware of best safety practices so they can create artwork and sculptures safely. UVM has a responsibility to educate students about best safety practices and the requirements that go along with using both chemicals and machines safely in the various artistic mediums.

The Basic Safety Rules listed below have been added to all UVM studio art course syllabuses.


  1. If you have an accident during regular business hours, notify your instructor/supervisor or the main Art office, room # 304, immediately. After hours or weekends, call (802) 656-3473 or 911.
  2. Only approved materials may be used on art projects. All paints, sealants, adhesives and any other art supplies must be supplied by or approved by your instructor or qualified technical staff. Solvents and aerosol spray cans are NOT permitted IN OR AROUND THE BUILDING.
  3. Never work alone. Accidents are more likely to happen when working alone. Use the buddy system to be safe.
  4. Never work when you are tired, stressed, in a hurry or impaired. Accidents are much more likely to happen at these times.
  5. When using tools, moving heavy objects or using chemicals, always wear closed-toe shoes in the studio (no sandals or crocs). No open toed shoes are permitted for these activities.
  6. Eye protection is essential. Safety glasses or goggles are required when working with chemicals, solvents, soldering or when working with or cleaning, hand and power tools. Ask your Supervisor about appropriate protection.
  7. When using power tools, remove all rings, necklaces, friendship bracelets and loose clothing or anything loose that might get caught in a moving or rotating piece of machinery. Long hair must be secured so that it will not shake loose. If you are unable or unwilling to secure or remove loose clothing, jewelry or hair, you may be excluded from some activities.
  8. When using a blade, such as a boxcutter, X-actoknife, utility knife,matte knife or carving tool, always point the blade's cutting edge away from your body and hands. Think about what will happen should the blade slip. If your hand or body is in the path of a cutting edge, rethink your procedure.
  9. Dust, chemicals and fumes can be dangerous - work in well-ventilated areas, minimize contamination. Ask your Supervisor for the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). If you have questions about proper protection or monitoring services are needed, contact
  10. Do not operate any tool or piece of equipment unless you have been fully trained by your instructor and/or studio supervisor. If after training you are still unsure about the safe operation of a tool or any aspect of a procedure - ask for help from a trained instructor or studio supervisor.
  11. Clean up after yourself. Wipe down your work area and sweep the floor. Always leave 10-15 minutes for cleanup.
  12. No liquid chemicals, dyes or paints should ever go down the drain. Any waste liquids, like leftover paints or inks, must be collected and disposed of through UVM’s laboratory waste disposal procedure. Ask your Supervisor about proper disposal. Even some rags and paper towels that are contaminated need to be collected as hazardous debris.
  13. Use the UVM Sink Disposal Procedure to get approval before pouring any chemical, paint or dye solutions down the drain.
  14. Stay OFF of the Williams Fire Escape. The fire escape is for emergency exit purposes only.
  15. No other uses or activities are permitted by the University on this fire escape. Hallways and exits must always be clear. Project work or stored items must never block pathways or exits.
  16. Smoking is PROHIBITED within 25 feet from every UVM building. Never smoke near any office windows or fresh air intakes.
  17. Never hang art projects on building sprinkler pipes or electrical tracks. Always use an appropriate size/type ladder for hanging projects. Never stand on stools or chairs, especially chairs that have wheels.
  18. No food or drinks allowed in art studios. Other studios, work areas or processes may have additional rules that apply.

I have read and understand the Art Studio Safety Rules. I understand practices with hand and power tools and chemicals and materials can be dangerous and can pose a serious risk of injury. These rules have been established as a guideline to insure the safety of all who use the Art Department Studios. Failure to complete all required safety trainings and follow these rules or subsequent instructions by instructors or staff will result in the loss of some or all studio privileges.

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