We take studio safety very seriously. The risks with using a ceramics studio include:

  • Risk to lungs from ceramic dust
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Risks from slips and trips
  • Risks from heavy lifting
  • Fire safety
  • Cuts and burns
  • Electrical hazards

However, if the following guidelines are adhered to the risks are extremely low.

Working with clay

When using plastic clay ensure that:

  • Clay is kept damp
  • Dry or unworkable clay is placed in the appropriate bins
  • Floors are kept clean
  • Tables are washed down at the end of every working day
  • DO NOT DRY SWEEP -- it is important to minimise the amount of dust

Clay Casting Slip

The major risk during casting arises when the outside of the mould becomes caked with dried slip. When using casting slip, ensure that

  • Drips are wiped from the surface of the mould and not allowed to dry out
  • Any spillages are cleared up before they dry out
  • Associated equipment such as jugs, buckets, sieves etc are washed up immediately after use

Fetting of finished goods

Where possible, ware should be finished by sponging rather than fetting to reduce the exposure to silica dust. You should:

  • Avoid fetting dry clay
  • Use damp sponging where practicable
  • Only dry fettle outside, while wearing a mask

Please note: if you have a disability, you should make the studio manager aware of this when you come to work in the studio so that we can ensure we make appropriate adjustments in the interest of your safety, and that you are aware of the procedure that we will follow in the event of a fire.

Risk identified What the Studio Does What Studio Students are required to do
Risk to lungs from ceramic dust (particularly from Silicosis)

Studio staff clean the floors twice a day

All cleaning is wet cleaning to prevent dust from entering the atmosphere

Every area in the studio is cleaned at least once a week

Deep cleans are carried out every quarter

Uses powerful fans to extract air out of the studio

Aprons made of synthetic materials are provided and washed regularly.

Clean your work area and any other areas of the studio needing attention

Clean up any spills whilst wet so that no dust is generated

Let staff know if you notice an area of the studio which requires extra cleaning attention

Do not create dust while turning or during any other process on the wheel. Carry out any dust making exercise while outside.

Purchase your own ceramic graded dust mask for use when you are doing any dust creating process. For example, a Force 8 P3 Respirator, which you can get on Amazon

Risk identified What the Studio Does What Studio Students are required to do
Health risk from toxic substances

We exclude known toxic substances from use in the studio, including barium and lead

We provide pre-mixed glazes so that members do not need to mix their own materials

We conduct all glaze mixing in a vented space away from the main work area

The glaze spray booth is used outside so that it is well ventilated

We provide gloves for use when glazing

The vast majority of our glazes are food safe. Non food-safe materials are clearly labelled.

We give a clear health and safety induction to anyone using our spray booth

The kiln is externally vented using Vent-Sure Downdraft vent systems, which prevents substances entering the air during firing.

You should not bring any glaze into the studio that has prohibited substances in it, including barium and lead

If you are pregnant you should ensure that you purchase your own thick plastic gloves to wear when glazing. There are no proven risks to the foetus from the materials used in our glazes, but we recommend that you are cautious

You must follow health and safety instructions at all times while using the spray booth

Wear gloves and keep clean while glazing

Clean up any spills to ensure that glaze dust does not enter the atmosphere

Do not make functional ware with a glaze that is not food safe and that could in the course of its use easily come into contact with food. When giving away or selling work that is not food-safe this should be clearly labelled

Risk identified What the Studio Does What Studio Students are required to do
Risks from slips and trips

Provide a neat and tidy work area where everything has a place.

Provide well-located power sockets to prevent the need for extension cables that could create trip hazards.

Ensure adequate lighting for all areas in regular use.

Ensure that your work and storage areas are kept neat.

Your clay should be kept tucked away in the designated area.

Do not leave objects anywhere else but the designated area.

Risk identified What the Studio Does What Studio Students are required to do
Cuts and burns and work hazards

Only trained staff members are to use the kilns.

Gloves are provided for all processes that might involve coming into contact with a sharp surface (for example, cleaning kiln shelves of glaze). These are carried out by trained staff members.

Provide a well-stocked and easily accessible H&S box with plasters and disinfectant.

Ony trained staff members are to use the pugmill.

You must not touch a kiln unless invited by one of the staff member.

Due to the potentially sharp nature of silica surfaces, cuts are an everyday hazard when practising ceramics. It’s important that you bring and wear gloves when using a sharp material.

In the event that you are cut, we provide plasters, bandages and disinfectant. Please ask the staff member on duty for assistance, and make sure your wound is properly disinfected and covered before continuing to work.

We ask that you tie up your hair and tuck in any loose cords when using the wheels to avoid the risk of your hair or clothing getting caught in the motor.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to talk to Claudia.