Safety Inspection Checklist

The following checklist outlines extensive aspects of safety and health that visual art departments need to address. It has been adapted by Max Darby from one prepared by Jayson Paterson with reference to the work of Catholic Education Office and the University of South Australia. It should be used in conjunction with the file titled Art Department Checklist located on this website.

This checklist can be used by the Art Department to evaluate the safety aspects of the faculty and to outline areas that might require greater attention. Additional items may be included as required and some items that are not appropriate to your particular faculty or context may be deleted. There is an obvious over-lapping of some items. If you find any glaring omissions or errors in the list, please let me know and they can be addressed.

Management Systems

1. Have all relevant legislative requirements for workplace health and safety been identified and complied with (such as hazardous substances, plant safety, provision of amenities, access and egress arrangements)?

2. Are all art staff appropriately trained in managing risks to health and safety in the art department?

3. Have all hazards in the art rooms been identified?

4. Have the risks from these hazards been assessed?

5. Have appropriate control measures been developed and implemented?

6. Does the purchasing policy require a risk assessment to be completed prior to the purchase of new equipment?

7. Are ergonomics considered when purchasing new equipment or changing workplace layouts?

8. Are there written procedures for the storage, access and disposal of all equipment and materials used in the art rooms?

9. Is there an inventory of all equipment and materials used in the art department and of storage arrangements?

10. Is the inventory kept up-to-date and checked regularly by the person responsible for safety in the art department?

11. Have all activities requiring personal protective equipment (PPE) been identified?

12. Is PPE provided and used for these activities?

13. Do students receive instruction regarding the safe use of all equipment, materials and PPE involved before the start of each activity?

14. Is there a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for every hazardous substance?

15. Is equipment maintained in a safe condition?

16. Is instruction given in the safe use of tools and equipment?

17. Is all work carried out by students supervised?

18. Is the attention of employees and students regularly drawn to safety issues?

19. Is medical equipment available for treatment of emergencies?

20. Is running water readily available for the treatment of burns?

21. Do students know of and understand emergency procedures in the art room?

Evacuation Procedures

22. Are evacuation procedures known and displayed?

23. Have evacuation/fire drills been practiced in the last 12 months?

24. Are entrances and exits kept clear?

25. Can exit doors be opened from the inside without the use of keys?

26. Are they of the appropriate type?

27. Are they easily accessible?

28. Are they regularly tested?

29. Do staff know how to use these extinguishers?

Rooms and Facilities

30. Are the rooms in a tidy condition?

31. Do you allocate time to perform daily “housekeeping” duties?

32. Is the standard of cleaning satisfactory?

33. Is the furniture provided suitable for the purposes it is being used?

34. Is the furniture in good/safe condition?

35. Are staff aware about the dangers of using chairs fitted with roller castors on vinyl floors?

36. Are ergonomics considered when purchasing new equipment or changing workplace layouts?

37. Are all waste containers appropriately labelled?

38. Are floor surfaces even, free from holes or cracks, free from fraying or uplifting edges?

39. Do storeroom and preparation room doors have locks?

40. Can these locks be opened from inside the storeroom without a key?

41. Do storeroom doors open outwards?

42. Are students disallowed entry into storerooms?

43. Do storerooms have signs prohibiting entry of unauthorised personnel?

44. Is there sufficient storage space?

45. Are the storage areas free of accumulated old equipment or rubbish?

46. Is appropriate shelving used?

47. Are correct shelving techniques used for bookshelves?

48. Are free standing bookshelves/cupboards secured to ensure stability?

49. Are suitable containers used for storage of materials and substances?

50. Are they adequately labelled?

51. Are Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) available for hazardous substances used in this area?

52. Is the storage of flammable liquids kept to a minimum?

53. Are all materials correctly racked/stored (e.g. heavy items at waist height)?

54. Are all chemicals stored in approved cabinets?


55. Are an adequate number of appropriate power points available?

56. Have double adaptors been removed from service?

57. Do all power boards used have an overload switch?

58. Is the use of extension leads kept to a minimum?

59. Are all electrical cables in good condition (i.e. not frayed)?

60. Are electrical storage containers easily located?

61. Are electrical cables/cords kept clear of walkways etc?

62. Is portable electrical equipment tested and tagged (current date)?

63. Is portable electrical equipment protected by a safety switch?

64. Is the position of the MAINS switch known to all users of the rooms, easily accessible and correctly labelled?

65. Is there adequate lighting in all areas?

66. Are light fittings and fixtures appropriately maintained?

67. Are light fittings checked for any possible leaking Polychlorinated Biphenyl’s (PCBs), (e.g. evidence of liquid or residue on fittings)?


68. Are safety signs properly utilised?

69. Are safety posters prominently displayed, updated and changed regularly?

70. Are the heating and cooling systems serviced regularly (and filters cleaned)?

71. Are the heating and cooling systems working in a satisfactory manner?

72. Do you ensure that domestic type containers (bottles jars etc.) are not used to store hazardous substances?

73. Are systems in place to ensure any spillage’s are cleaned up to prevent possible accidents?

74. Are wet floor signs used when required?

75. Are hanging displays clear of lights?

76. Are staff aware of the hazards associated with low, hanging displays?

77. Are team lifting techniques used if appropriate when shifting equipment/furniture?

78. Are suitable ladders provided for staff use and are they readily accessible?

79. Are sinks and drains clear?

80. Are door handles and catches in good repair?

81. Does machinery/equipment have guards where necessary?

82. Are safe working instructions displayed on or near potentially hazardous equipment in this area?

83. Is it necessary to have this equipment in this area?

84. If there is any fume/odour producing equipment in the area, is there adequate ventilation?

85. Where windows need to be opened, can this be done with ease?

86. Do all steps/stairs/ramps have suitable non-slip surfaces?

87. Are steps/stairs in a safe condition?

88. Are walkways kept clear of bags, equipment, materials and furniture?

89. Are wall mounted displays/coat hooks etc. mounted clear of walkways (to avoid eye and head injuries)?

90. Are art materials, including displays and works-in-progress, stored safely so that they do not pose slip or trip hazards and do not impede safe access and egress?

91. Is the cleaners cupboard locked at all times?

92. Are staff aware of the potential hazards associated with substances used in creative arts work?

93. Have all chemicals, solvents and other substances been checked to see whether they are hazardous substances?

Equipment – Hand Tools

94. Are all hand tools in good order and sharp, if required?

95. Are hand tools stored in an orderly manner?

96. Are hand tools stored securely when not in use?

97. Are tools maintained in a sharp condition?

Equipment – Power Tools

98. Are all power tools in a satisfactory working condition?

99. Are all leads and connections in good order?

100. Are all guards and safety devices in place?

101. Are tools maintained in a sharp condition?


102. Is the guillotine in good order?

103. Are all guards in position to prevent any possible injury to hands?

104. Can the guillotine be locked when not in use?

105. Are there clear instructions about who can and who can’t use the guillotine?


106. Are all guards and covers in position?

107. Is there adequate working space around each machine?

108. Are yellow safety lines in place around machines to delineate work areas (600mm between walkway and machine)?

Batik, Candle Making (heating of wax)

109. Are stable tables or fixed work benches provided?

110. Is the area well ventilated?

111. Is personal protective equipment (PPE) used when working with dyes?

112. Are dye solutions disposed of daily?

113. Are hazardous substances used and stored appropriately (see Material Safety Data

114. Are staff aware of which hazardous dyes should not be used?

115. Are electric frying pans used for heating wax (and not hot plates or naked flames)?

116. Are staff aware of the correct method of extinguishing a wax fire?

117. Are staff aware that excess wax should not be removed with petrol?

118. Have safe working procedures been written and displayed for all potentially hazardous activities?


119. Are staff aware of hazards associated with the use of permanent drawing pens?

120. Are staff and students aware of dangers associated with drawing materials such as lead and charcoal?


121. Are water based rather than solvent based paints used wherever possible?

122. Are water based and solvent based paints and equipment such as brushes kept in separate areas of the rooms?

123. Are brushes, rollers and other applicators cleaned while still wet to minimise the use of cleaning solvents?

124. Are citrus or vegetable based cleaning agents used for oil paints rather than spirit based solvents such as turpentine?

125. Is the area well ventilated?

126. Are all hazardous substances used stored appropriately?

127. Are staff aware of the hazards and policies/guidelines associated with the use of and working with various paints and solvents?


128. Have safe working procedures been written and displayed for all potentially hazardous activities?

129. Is the area well ventilated?

130. Is personal protective equipment (PPE) used when working with inks

131. Are all hazardous substances used stored appropriately?


132. Have safe working procedures been written and displayed for all potentially hazardous activities?

133. Is personal protective equipment (PPE) used when necessary?

134. Are all hazardous substances used stored appropriately?

135. Are all tools and working implements kept sharp and in working order?

136. Is protective clothing provided for students?

137. Are staff aware of hazards associated with the use of hot wire Styrofoam cutters?

138. Are staff aware of the hazards associated with the use of commercially prepared paper mache and non-firing clay? When appropriate are areas kept damp to suppress exposure to dust?


139. Have safe working procedures been written and displayed for all

140. Is the area well ventilated and kept dust free?

141. Are all hazardous substances used stored appropriately?

142. Are staff aware of the hazards associated with using glaze chemicals?

143. Are hazardous glaze ingredients known?

144. Are all glazes correctly labelled and stored correctly?

145. Are Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) available for all glazes and paints?

146. Are staff aware of the hazards associated with using solvents to clean hands?

147. Is appropriate footwear worn?

148. Is all waste disposed of in the appropriate manner?


149. Is the kiln suitably positioned?

150. Are operating instructions clearly displayed (showing start up, operating, shut down and emergency procedures)?

151. Is the kiln area mechanically vented to the outside?

152. Is the kiln regularly maintained?

153. Are all safety mechanisms operable (door lock, control panel, automatic cut off)?

154. Is a log book kept for all maintenance and firing?

155. Has all asbestos been professionally removed from the kiln and surrounding areas?

156. Are approved gloves used when firing or unloading a hot kiln?

157. Are infra-red goggles (or similar) used when looking into a hot kiln?

158. Are appropriate warning systems in place when the kiln is hot?

159. Are staff aware of the toxic fumes that are emitted when kilns are in use?

160. Is student access to the kiln restricted during firing?

Pottery Wheels

161. Are all moving parts on pottery wheels appropriately guarded?

162. Is safety switch protection used for supplying power to all pottery wheels?

163. Are stop/start buttons easily accessible and clearly marked?

164. Are appropriate measures taken to control exposure to dust?

165. Are cleaners aware of the need to clean all dusty surfaces to prevent personal exposure to dust?

166. Are systems in place to control and clean up spillage’s (all materials)?


167. Does the darkroom have a fume extraction system that takes fumes away from the breathing zone?

168. Is the system of doors, locks and warning devices such that no-one can be locked in the dark room?

169. Is the darkroom emergency exit equipped with an illuminated exit sign?

170. Can the emergency exit be opened from the inside without undoing locks and bolts?

171. Are fume extraction units regularly checked for efficiency?

172. Is this recorded on a maintenance register and on duty statement(s)?

173. Are staff aware that where it is necessary to use aerosols they must be applied only in a hooded area such as a fume cupboard to remove overspray?

174. Are staff aware that preparation of working strength solutions from concentrates must be done only by employees using personal protective equipment (PPE) and in an appropriately ventilated area?

175. Is appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) supplied and used by staff and students?

176. Is there a system to ensure that PPE is used?

177. Is the general colour of the darkroom light in tone?

178. Are tongs used when developing film?

179. Are all photographic chemicals stored correctly (as per OHS Legislation)?

180. Are all photographic chemicals labeled correctly (as per OHS Legislation)?

181. Are photographic chemicals only decanted into appropriate containers

182. Are staff aware of the hazards associated with using photographic chemicals?

183. Are rubber/disposable vinyl gloves and clear goggles available for use when handling chemicals?

184. Is an eye wash kit readily available?

185. Are bench tops chemically inert?

186. Are photographic chemicals assessed prior to purchase or use to ensure the safest alternative is used (e.g. vinegar instead of acetic acid)?

186. Is a written chemical spill procedure in place?

187. Have staff been informed of procedures for dealing with chemical spills?

188. Is there suitable equipment and materials available to clean up spilt chemicals?

189. Are staff aware that waste chemicals should not be disposed of down the sink?

190. Are safe working procedures practiced (i.e. Chemicals removed from trays after each lesson)?

191. Are chemicals stored in a cool, dry, well ventilated and secure location, away from incompatible chemicals?

192. Are rooms always maintained in a clean state

193. Are sufficient power points available so that each item has an independent switch?

194. Can the school’s fire/emergency warning system be heard in the photography room?


195. Is all etching carried out in a well ventilated area?

196. Is all acid stored in a secure location and at a low level?

197. Are all concentrated acids stored in the Science Department?

198. Additional comments …………………………………………………………

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101 Responses to “Safety Inspection Checklist”

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