Dominic wearing a ceramic grade dust mask to dry sand a piece in a well-ventilated area.

Dominic wearing a ceramic grade dust mask to dry sand a piece in a well-ventilated area.

Studio safety

We take studio safety very seriously. The risks associated 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

To address these risks we require every studio member to attend a full health and safety induction before you start working. You must also ensure that you read our studio handbook from cover to cover, and that you keep it to refer back to if you are unsure about a process. You should also read the monthly studio newsletter to ensure you are up to date with changes to studio practice.

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.

Due to the numerous risks associated with a working studio, children are not allowed into the Turning Earth studio, except during an open day, when they must be accompanied at all times by an adult. Children are never allowed on the mezzanine level, for their own safety.

 

Risk identified

Risk to lungs from ceramic dust (particularly from Silicosis)

What Turning Earth does

Studio staff clean floors twice a day.

All cleaning is wet cleaning using a wet vac 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 using a pressure washer.

Improvements we're planning

In 2017 we will conduct quarterly air quality tests to ensure that levels in the studio are within safe limits. 

What studio users are required to do

Clean your work area, and any other areas of the studio needing attention for at least 20 minutes at the end of each visit.

Clean your personal storage shelf thoroughly every month.

Participate in regular community clean days.

Communicate with staff 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 or within a vented box.

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.

Bring your own apron made of synthetic materials and wash it regularly. Dry clay dust creates a silicosis hazard, and more dust is trapped by natural fibres.

 

Risk identified

Health risk from toxic substances

What Turning Earth does
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 in a ventilated outside shed.

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.

All of the kilns that are located in working areas of the studio are externally vented using Vent-Sure Downdraft vent systems, which prevents substances entering the air during firing.

Provide a designated area for food (on the mezzanine).

We have COSHH substance sheets in the studio for all the chemicals that we use. These can also be found on our supplier website.

 

What studio users are required to do
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.

If you mix your own glaze this should be done either outside or within a vented box, while wearing a ceramic grade dust mask.

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 doesn’t 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.

Only eat food and drink in the designated area.

Risk identified
Risks from slips and trips

What Turning Earth does
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.

What studio users are required to do
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
Risk from heavy lifting

What Turning Earth does
We provide information in the studio about safe lifting practices.

We provide wheeled dollies for the heavy items in the studio.

 

What studio users are required to do
Familiarise yourself with correct heavy lifting practices. These are on notices within the studio.

Risk identified
Fire safety

What Turning Earth does
Turning Earth regularly reviews fire safety procedures and is compliant with all government regulations.

What studio users are required to do
Ensure you are familiar with all fire procedures (included in your handbook and explained during induction).

Know the location of our fire meeting point at the corner of Whiston Road and Thurtle road.

Risk identified
Cuts and burns and work hazards

What Turning Earth does
Only trained staff members use kilns at Turning Earth. Kilns are kept in a designated area of the studio where studio members can only go when accompanied by Turning Earth staff. 

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.

Only trained staff members are allowed to use our pugmill. Reclaimed clay is carefully examined for foreign objects before being processed.

Improvements we are planning

By 2017 we will install locks on all kilns so that they cannot be opened in error while they are at a high temperature.

 

 

What studio users are required to do
You MUST NOT touch a kiln at Turning Earth unless invited to by an on duty staff member who is helping you with a kiln hire.

Due to the potentially sharp nature of silica surfaces, cuts are an everyday hazard when practicing 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.

Risk identified
Electrical hazards

What Turning Earth does
We are compliant with all laws and regulations.

All electrical equipment is PAT safety tested annually.

Only trained people are permitted to use our large electrical equipment - e.g. kilns.

Electric heaters are mounted on the wall, well above work spaces.

Only trained staff members adjust our electric heaters.

All kilns are fitted with a safety switch so that they cannot be opened while the electricity is on.

 

What studio users are required to do
If you bring in electrical tools (for example a hairdryer or a heat gun) these must be within their guarantee period, or be included in our annual PAT testing to ensure their safety.

If you want the heating adjusted you should ask a staff member. Do not do this yourself.