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Art Materials Safety

Art Material Safety Guide



Students should read all labels carefully before using any material for the first time. Warnings and precautions, when available, should be adhered to strictly. 

If a label is non-specific, confusing, or absent, seek further information before using. If no information is available from the manufacturer, consult other resources such as material safety data sheets on file in Chemical Hygiene Plan or request assistance from the Studio Manager. 

Proper labeling includes the following: 

  • Student Name & Semester
  • Solvent Name
  • Manufacturing Information about the solvent
  • Toxicity information about the solvent

Introduction of New Materials

Students are able to ask the Studio Manager for assistance in acquiring MSD Sheets and are recommended to do so prior to working with new materials. The use of new materials should be reported to the Studio Manager and the Chemical Hygiene Plan will be updated.

Storage of Materials

All hazardous materials must be stored in containers that are labeled clearly with all contents listed. Containers should be tightly covered when not in use. Please do not use food containers for any hazardous material. The Studio Manger, upon request, provides approved containers for use. Flammable and combustible liquids should be stored in an approved flammable liquid storage cabinet. All solvents must be properly labeled or the Studio Manager will discard. All other studio materials must be stored in lockers, cubbies, flat files, or personal studios. Any artwork that is left out in a studio must be labeled with the student’s name, date and phone number (this does not pertain to work in the Advanced Studio spaces). All left over work will be disposed of over the semester breaks. 

Handling, Use, Disposal of Materials

All students must be given detailed instructions on the handling, use and disposal of all materials that pose potential health hazards. Paper towels and rags used in cleanup must be disposed of in metal non-combustible waste disposal cans. Waste disposal cans are emptied on a weekly basis. If you notice that they are in need of service, please contact the Studio Manager. Any labeled hazardous item can be disposed of in the grey satellite waste bin on the bottom shelf of the flammable liquid storage cabinet. Photo waste containing silver is collected in tote jugs below each sink in Dugan B11. Empty aerosol cans can be emptied in the cardboard disposal bins in Dugan B7. Please notify the Studio Manager when any of the satellite waste containment areas are over half full. Report spills immediately to Environmental and Emergency Management at 978-934-2618, and to the Studio Manager for record keeping.

Safety & Health Procedures

All facilities have either a centralized, or localized first aid kit. The Art Department works with EEM on the correct placement and replenishing of the first aid kit. The Studio Manager promotes the health and safety of the students by explaining the hazards of the materials used, and helping students to understand the MSDS of each material. EEM is available for further training when requested. Health and safety issues are addressed in the studios and facilities with ongoing work orders with UML’s facilities department and through proper signage. The Environmental Health and Safety Department coordinates health and safety programs for UMass Lowell students, faculty members and employees to ensure that safe and effective policies and procedures are followed in Lab Safety, Chemical Safety and Waste Disposal, Resources, and provides a EHS Training Schedule. 

Fire Prevention

Do not use flammable liquids in the presence of ignition sources. Be sure they are properly stored and labeled. All soiled rags should be disposed of in metal non-combustible waste disposal cans. Do not store flammables in direct sunlight. Report spills immediately to Environmental and Emergency Management at 978-934-2618, and to the Studio Manager for record keeping. Do not overload electrical circuits, and report ANY electrical malfunctions to Facilities at 978-934-2601.