General Safety Site Safety Darkroom Safety Recycling & Refuse Materials
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The purposes of a specific policy for the Vancouver Island School of Art is to create an awareness of the principle of Safety First, and to ensure as much as possible the safety of the students, the faculty and the staff, while encouraging artistic expression.

General Safety

Each person in the Vancouver Island School of Art is responsible and accountable for his/her own safety awareness and implementation. It is important that each person understand that he/she is also expected to work in a manner that will not cause harm to any other person within the school community.

Art materials can affect the body in various ways. There are three major routes of entry: inhalation, ingestion and skin contact.

  1. Inhalation:
    The most common ways that foreign substances enter the body are form vapors, fumes, dust gases or mists that can be inhaled into the respiratory system. The substances may damage the nose, mouth, upper respiratory tract, lungs or be absorbed into the bloodstream and travel to other organs in the body.
  2. Ingestion:
    Substances may be accidentally or willingly ingested through the contamination of food, drinks, cigarettes and hands. These substances may affect the mouth, throat and/or stomach or be absorbed into the bloodstream. It is imperative that eating and/or drinking do not occur in any work area.
  3. Skin Contact:
    Substances may attack or destroy the natural protective barriers of the skin, damaging the skin itself, and enabling toxic chemicals to enter the bloodstream, where they are carried to various organs of the body.

Site Safety

It is the responsibility of every person in the area to be aware of their surroundings which in turn will create a safe working environment. Particular attention should be paid to the following:

  1. Telephones:
    2 located inside the Office, 1 located in the Director’s Office, 1 located in the Associate Director’s office and 1 pay phone located in the main hall opposite the Office. Emergency contact numbers are posted beside each telephone and on the main outside entrance door.
  2. First Aid Kits:
    1 located in the Office and is clearly marked. When supplies in the first aid kit diminish contact the Office Manager, in order that kits may be replenished.
  3. Eye Wash Station:
    2 locations: 1 located in the Sculpture/Woodworking Room, clearly marked near the sink. And 1 in the Darkroom.
  4. Fire Extinguishers:
    4 locations in the building – 1 in the main hall, 1 in the Office, 1 in the Sculpture/Woodworking Room, 1 in the downstairs hall near the furnace room.

Hours of Operation

Students are permitted to work during class hours, open studio hours, or anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday. After hours, only students who have demonstrated responsible and knowledgeable use of materials and equipment and who have received approval by a Vancouver Island School of Art faculty member or the Director may work in the building. In addition, students working after hours are required to have a buddy present. A buddy is another student who is enrolled in and cognizant of the School’s Safety Policy. The buddy must remain within the same studio at all times.

Site Inspections

Inspection rounds are conducted on both a routine and random basis in order to maintain an awareness of safety and ensure all areas of the building are free of any unsafe conditions.


Tools and equipment in the workshop are provided by the Vancouver Island School of Art exclusively for the students, staff and faculty, and must stay in the workshop at all times. Use of all tools and equipment in the workshop must first be approved by a faculty member or the Director. Prior to working unsupervised with any tools or equipment, students must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of procedures and competency in use and handling. Any damaged or malfunctioning equipment must be brought to the attention of a faculty member, the Director or the Office Manager immediately. Never attempt to use damaged tools or attempt to repair them yourself.

Tool Usage

Students registered in Painting and Sculpture courses will receive an orientation session on how to use the tools in a safe and proper manner.

Project Materials and Substances

For any substance or material that includes a potential risk, the student must consult his/her Instructor and the Director. In all cases the Instructor and the Director will make the final determination.

Placement of Art

The Vancouver Island School of Art displays art objects throughout the school building from time to time. For the safety of the entire School Community, the following restrictions will apply to the placement of art:

Should the circumstance arise where an art project is placed in an area that is unsafe, or placed in an unsafe manner, the art exhibit will be removed, and the owner notified.

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Darkroom Safety

All students taking part in photography courses or other courses that may require the use of the Darkroom must demonstrate responsible handling of materials and follow procedures as listed below:


Disposal of Photographic Chemicals and Materials:

Photographic chemicals must be disposed of as hazardous waste.

Signs are posted in the darkroom instructing students to use a designated garbage bin for disposal of photographic chemicals and materials. The photography instructor is responsible for proper disposal of the bin at an approved location.

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Policy on Recycling and Handling of Refuse Materials

The Vancouver Island School of Art supports proper recycling of all recyclable products and waste materials as regulated by municipal authorities. Recycle bins are provided for materials that can be picked up at the school, such as cardboard and mixed papers, and students are encouraged to minimize the use of disposable paper products such as paper cups and provide their own re-usable products.

Painting Supplies

The following requirements supporting this policy are posted in the school for student and faculty:

Pour acrylic water in buckets (these buckets sit for several days and the pigment settles to the bottom and then the water can be poured off. Acrylic pigments are plastic and will cling to the pipes and cause eventual blockage. The leftover acrylic is then disposed of in the appropriate manner (brought to recycling depot or at the very least thrown out as garbage).

When you are cleaning off a palette it is best to wipe all the pigments off first with a paper towel and then throw the paper towel in the garbage as opposed to cleaning them in the sink and letting the pigment run down the drain. The most efficient way of cleaning acrylic paints from a palette is to let your palette dry over night and then simply peel off the pigment and throw in garbage. Brushes can be cleaned off in your acrylic water and then wiped off and only then rinsed under the tap.

Please do not put solvents down the sink. There will be a covered container in the sink area clearly marked 'solvent disposal' for you to pour your excess solvents in this container and then we will dispose of it in an appropriate manner (we will bring it to have it recycled. You can also use solvent more than one time. You can keep a container of solvent to especially to clean brushes and keep using this for several months. You don't need to use 'clean' or fresh solvent every time you clean your brushes.

As watercolours do not contain plastics or solvents, watercolour water can be poured down the sink. Watercolour pigments do contain toxins as well so it is best not to unnecessarily rinse pigments down the sink. You do not need to clean your watercolour palette every time you use it. Watercolours (mixed or pure) can be left to dry in the palette and reused the next time you paint. It is recommended that you just clean areas of your palette by wiping it with a damp cloth.

The above disposal methods should also be applied for home use of paint. Acrylics and solvents can cause serious damage to your pipes, not to mention our waterways.

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