E2: Art and Photography Department Safety

Responsibility for Maintenance: Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety

I. Policy Statement

Activities conducted within art studios and/or classrooms and photography studios have the potential to cause bodily injury or property damage if not performed in an appropriate manner. Onondaga Community College students and employees shall have a right to understand the potential hazards associated with these work areas, and to be informed of precautions that can minimize the potential for such hazards.

II. Reason For Policy

This policy is intended to ensure that the College’s students and employees are aware of the potential hazards presented by art supplies and art and photography activities, and are able to take appropriate precautions to ensure a safe and healthy environment is maintained.

III. Applicability of the Policy

The policy applies to students and employees who conduct or supervise activities in the College’s art studios and/or classrooms and photography studios.

IV. Related Documents

  • Art, Design, Media & Music Department Safety Rules
  • Applicable provisions of OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration Standards - 29 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1910 et seq.

V. Contacts


Office Name

Title or Position

Telephone Number


Purchase of Art and 
Photography Supplies

Management Services

Assistant Vice President,     Management Services 

(315) 498-2566


Communication of Potential 
Hazard Information

Art, Design, Media & Music Department


(315) 498-2230


Maintenance and compliance

Office of Sustainability, Environmental Health & Safety 

Director of Sustainability and Environmental Health & Safety

(315) 498-2847


VI. Definitions



Material Safety 
Data Sheet (MSDS)

A document providing health and safety reference information regarding a specific material or product - also known as Safety Data Sheets (SDS).

Personal Protective 
Equipment (PPE)

Equipment to protect eyes, face, head and extremities, such as protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers.

VII. Procedures

In recognition of the fact that art and photography supplies have the potential to contain toxic substances and/or create a hazardous condition, College personnel responsible for ordering and purchasing such supplies shall, where practical, consider the use of supplies with a limited potential for hazards. For example, where possible water-based glues and paints should be used instead of solvent-based products. Similarly, preference may be given to products which do not contain lead or other heavy metals where an acceptable substitute exists. The College recognizes that product substitution is a viable method to reduce the potential for exposure to toxic substances or creation of a hazardous condition, but that it may not be feasible in all circumstances.

Information About Potential Hazards and Effects. Art and photography instructors shall ensure that available information regarding potential hazards associated with art supplies, and the associated effects of such hazards, is communicated to students. Information on product labels and associated Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) will be reviewed and discussed with students at the beginning of each assignment which uses a new chemical or product. For example, before using a solvent in an art or photography studio and/or classroom, a student should understand that the solvent may be flammable, and that if inhaled, it may have acute or chronic health effects. Copies of current labels and MSDS will be maintained in an accessible location in the College’s art and photography classrooms, and the College’s online MSDS database

Activities and equipment used in art or photography studios and/or classrooms also has the potential to create hazardous conditions. Examples of such activities and equipment include, but are not limited to, welding, application of coatings or glazes, use of chemicals/developers, cutting and burning, woodworking equipment, kilns, and sources of noise and vibration. Before students are permitted to engage in such activities or use such equipment, instructors shall ensure the students are properly trained and aware of applicable safety procedures. All required safety devices and guards associated with the processes or equipment must be used, and none of these devices or guards shall be removed or modified. Specific warnings and instructions for use of equipment will be posted in close proximity to the equipment. All equipment will be inspected at the end of each day to confirm that it is safe and in proper operating condition – any equipment found to have a mechanical or physical problem will not be used until repaired.

Precautionary Measures. In addition to familiarizing students with the potential hazards presented by the supplies they are using, instructors shall take care to ensure that students are informed about precautions they must take to mitigate and/or prevent such hazards. MSDS are often a useful source of information regarding appropriate measures to reduce potential hazards, and response measures to be taken in the event of a hazardous condition.

Students must be informed about the benefits of performing their work in a properly ventilated area. Adequate ventilation is an important factor in minimizing the concentration of vapors (including flammable vapors) and other contaminants (i.e., particulates and dust) that may be present in an individual’s work space. Potentially flammable materials will not be used in an area where there is electrical equipment or the possibility of an open flame or spark. As appropriate, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will also be used. PPE that may be appropriate shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Gloves (i.e., leather, heavy cotton, elastomeric)
  • Safety Glasses or Goggles
  • Face Shields
  • Welding Helmet
  • Respirators
  • Earplugs/Earmuffs
  • Safety Shoes
  • Hardhats
  • Coveralls

Supply Inventory Management. All supplies will be properly labeled and stored. Ensuring that accurate labels are maintained on the supplies will minimize the possibility that incompatible materials are stored together or used together, resulting in a hazardous situation. Supplies which are not being used shall be stored in an appropriate and secure location. Outdated or obsolete supplies shall be segregated from active stock and instructors shall contact the Office of Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety to arrange for appropriate disposal of the supplies.

Studio Hygiene Practices. Art and photography rooms should be cleaned using damp mopping rather than sweeping, and vacuuming should be performed with HEPA filtration. Good housekeeping practices should be maintained, and no obstructions or clutter should be present in the studios or classrooms. Spills of non-hazardous materials should be cleaned promptly. Spills of potentially hazardous materials should be reported to an instructor immediately, and appropriate response procedures will be implemented [refer to Chemical Spill Response Policy]. Students and employees are prohibited from consuming food or beverages or smoking in art or photography studios or classrooms. Before leaving the studio and/or classroom, students should be required to wash thoroughly with soap and water any skin surface that has been in contact with supplies.

Emergency Preparedness. As appropriate, all studios and/or classrooms will be equipped with safety equipment such as eye-washes, safety showers, fire extinguishing equipment, and an accessible phone with emergency numbers clearly posted nearby. Evacuation routes should be posted and students should be familiar with alternative routes.

All activities performed in studios and/or classrooms should adhere to the Art, Design, Media & Music Department Safety Rules.

Approved by OCC Board of Trustees April 3, 2006