SSO Health and Safety Policy

The safety of all studio members is a priority at SSO. All persons working in our spaces are expected to abide by our Health and Safety policies. At SSO, every person has the opportunity and responsibility to create a respectful, safe studio. 

Each person has a responsibility to behave at all times in a courteous manner towards one another. Please clean up your own materials and share in cleaning the studios after use. Participate in keeping the studio a safe environment by locking doors, reporting hazards, and looking out for others. Please inform studio staff, promptly of any concerns or issues.

6 Top Tips for Studio Health and Safety:

Know the hazards of your materials and protect your body. 
– Use water based materials whenever possible.
– Always pick the safest process for getting the job done.
– Be patient and don’t rush what you’re doing.
– Keep your space clean and tidy.
– If you have any questions about materials, ask your studio manager.

Waste Disposal – Fireproof Waste Containers:

Any toxic, hazardous or flammable materials, (such as odourless mineral spirits and oil paints,) rags and palette papers that have been used with these materials and the containers they are kept in must be disposed of in the red  reproof waste containers in the main entrance.

Dumping chemicals, oils, solvents or clumps of paint down the drain harms our environment and is not permitted. Flammable liquids must be disposed of by transferring them into a sealed container and placing them in the red  reproof waste container.

Leaving dirty solvents in a sealed container for a few days allows the sediments to settle. Pour the relatively clean solvent solution into a fresh carrier and place the sealed container of sediment into the waste container.

Linseed and Stand oil can spontaneously combust, as can rags that are saturated with oils and solvents. Be sure to dispose of them properly and never work around an open flame.

Painting and Drawing:

No use of solvents other than Odourless Mineral Spirits in the studios (Gamsol and Aboveground are good brands.) Turpentine, Turpenoid, paint thinner, acetone and Damar Varnish are examples of products not permitted in the studios. If you have any questions about whether a product is okay to use, please contact an SSO Manager.

No use of aerosols,fixatives or spray paint indoors. These materials are highly  flammable, are high in VOC’s and solvent mist droplets can be inhaled deeply into your lungs. Only use outside or in a highly ventilated area such as a spray booth, and always wear a mask.

Wear gloves to protect yourself when working with oil paints, solvents, varnishes and inks. Wash your hands before you eat, drink, smoke or touch your face.

How to clean your brushes if you use oil paint:

A) Solvent Free Process:
Wipe away all paint residue with paper towel (vegetable oil helps.) Wash your brushes in a reusable container using bio- degradable soap (dish soap works very well and is provided at cleaning stations for your use.) The wash away product is low toxicity and much safer. Dispose of the oily paper towel in the red oily waste container.

B) Mild Solvent Process:
Wipe away all paint residue with a paper towel (dispose of properly.) Mix equal parts linseed oil, stand oil, and Odourless Mineral Spirits and rinse your brush clean. Wipe all remaining residue off with more paper towel and rinse your brush with soap and water if needed.

C) Oil and Solvent Process:
Wipe away all paint residue with a paper towel (dispose of properly.) Apply a small amount of vegetable oil to rag or paper towel and rub away all paint from the brush. Rinse the brush with soap and water and if required, use Odourless Mineral Spirits as a final cleaning solution.

Sculpture and Ceramics:

Dust and powder? Always wear a mask and eye goggles to protect yourself. The silicates in clay, glazes and colourants can be extremely harmful.

If you’re using loud tools, protect your ears.

Always wear protective non flammable clothing when a  ame is being used and make sure an extinguisher is close by.

Mop or wash down your area and all surfaces when  nished working with clay. NEVER sweep or dry scrape surfaces. You simply need to mop, rinse the mop, mop, rinse the mop and mop, until the residual smear is gone. This is the only safe way!

No dumping of clay clumps or plaster in any drainage including sink or toilet. Never put clay water down the sink without letting it separate first, then pour off the water as best as you can.

Sanding of  red or dried greenware clay should always include water, ie: sanding is predicated by spraying or dabbing with wet sponge and water to rinse and prevent silicate dust getting into the collective air flow.

Overglazes (metallic lustres) contain organic solvents and should be applied in a well-ventilated area while wearing a fume- ltering (organic vapour) respirator. For studios not equipped with proper air  filtration, circulation, or a ventilation booth, application of the lustre needs to take place outdoors. Do not consume food or drinks while applying, and remove lustres from skin immediately (wearing disposable gloves during application can be very helpful). 

During firing, odours are not dangerous but can be offensive. These odors quickly leave the area if the kiln has a vented hood and or an exhaust fan.

Resources with more specific studio health and safety information:

Safety Guide for Art Studios 

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