Safety Rules: Why and How They Must Be Observed
Safety Rules are the principles or conditions that govern the behavior of individuals, especially in the studio or workshop. Generally speaking, these safety rules ensure that the tools and materials are used responsibly to prevent the contraction of diseases, injury or possibly the death of persons.
In the various Senior High Schools, practical lessons in art are carried out with several art materials which are unsafe or possibly deadly materials almost every day. Most of the art supplies that are used in our schools contain high levels of chemicals, such as hexane, lead, toluene, and asbestos, and many people are unaware of the danger that these substances pose, both to art students and to teachers. In fact, the danger to art teachers, who are often exposed to these toxins for several hours a day for many years, is often greater than what the student experiences. There is, therefore, the need for Visual arts teachers and students to become aware of the potential hazards in using art materials.
There are three ways in which such chemicals can enter the body:
i. Absorption – hazardous chemical are absorbed through the skin from cuts or scrapes, resulting in burns or rashes, or into the bloodstream, moving to and damaging other parts of the body.
ii. Inhalation – chemical irritants can be inhaled, causing lung problems like bronchitis and emphysema. Inhaling small particles, like the free silica in clay dust, can cause pulmonary fibrosis or asthma.
iii. Ingestion – chemicals can be ingested by touching the mouth with the hands or fingers while working with supplies or unconsciously placing tools like paint brushes in or near the mouth.
Owing to the health hazards associated with the art supplies, there is the need for both art teachers and students to observe some essential safety rules while working with the art supplies. Art teachers and students should note that manufacturers of art materials are not required by law to state the ingredients used in producing the material. The label non-toxic, for example, does not guarantee a product’s safety. According to federal regulations, toxicity means that a single exposure can be fatal to adults. The effect on adolescents and children, who are more likely to be harmed by dangerous substances, is not considered in this definition.
Also, the likelihood of developing chronic or long-term illnesses is not addressed by the legal definition of toxicity. Constant exposure to nontoxic materials is not always safe. Many art supplies contain materials that can cause acute illness. Long-term exposure to such substances can cause chronic illness after repeated exposure or cancer. Hence, safety rules must be meticulously observed by art teachers and students. This would ensure that they are protected from contracting dangerous diseases that can endanger their lives. Some of these safety rules are listed below.
1. Precautionary measures and guidelines must be instituted and adhered to when selecting and using art tools and materials. Art teachers and instructors are responsible for setting these guidelines for the usage of the art tools and materials. Students must cooperate and heed to the precautionary measures and guidelines given to them by their teachers.
2. Art teachers and students must know the chemistry or chemical constituents of the materials to be used for practical lessons and what potential hazards they can cause. This would alert them on whether to use them and/or what preventive measures they can take to avoid any health hazards.
3. The use of aerosol/spray cans (a dispenser that holds a substance like colour under pressure usually by blowing air with the mouth or otherwise to release it as fine sprays) should not be encouraged because the spray can injure lungs.
4. Dust-producing materials, such as pastels, plasters, chalks, powdered tempera, pigments, dyes, and instant should be used with a higher degree of care and in a well-ventilated area. If possible, these materials should be used outside to prevent inhalation of the particles.
5. Do not use solvents such as lacquers, paint thinners, turpentine, shellacs, solvent- based inks, rubber cement, and permanent markers in an enclosed area but preferably in an open area.
6. Do not use old materials. Current materials should be used for art productions. This is because many art supplies that were formerly used contained highly dangerous substances, such as arsenic (a white powdered poisonous trioxide used in manufacturing glass and as a pesticide and weed killer), or raw lead compounds, or high levels of asbestos. Older solvents may contain chloroform or carbon tetrachloride.
7. Working conditions in the art room sometimes affect safety. A disorderly art room leads to unsafe conditions, particularly when there are many people working close to each other. An orderly art room is absolutely essential to the students’ and teacher’s safety.
8. Control the