Art Department

SAFETY

Safety Guidelines: Painting

Introduction

The artists' materials you use carry inherent risks to your health and the environment. The paints, no matter what the medium, all contain pigments which if ingested or absorbed through the skin can cause damage to your health, and, if disposed of improperly, can damage the environment. Solvents such as mineral spirits or gum turpentine pose similar hazards. The policies outlined below will help you mitigate these hazards, and will not interfere with your creativity. Please follow them. For instructions about brush washing and disposal of solvents, paints, rags and paper towels, and failed art works, please see the attached document, Painting Clean-up Procedures.

Vapor control

Do not breathe solvent vapors in a closed or unventilated area. Small cans of solvent next to your painting table pose little harm, unless the room is small or poorly ventilated. Do not leave large containers of solvents uncovered. Never spray anything in the studios, including fixatives, paints, or varnishes. If a spray booth is available, use it. If not, do all spraying out of doors.

General health and safety concerns

Use common sense and good hygienic practices in your painting studio.

  1. Do not point brushes with your lips.
  2. Do not eat or drink while painting: paint on your hands can be transferred to your mouth.
  3. Be sure your work space is adequately ventilated: 10 complete room air changes per hour.
  4. Model heaters must be of a certain approved type. See the health and safety person.
  5. No household electric devices may be used in any studio. Any electric device must have a three-pronged, grounded cord and a holographic UL-approved seal. Multiple-outlet adaptors/powerstrips may NOT be used as a substitute for a three-pronged plug. Extension cords are for temporary use only, and must be unplugged when not in use.
  6. If you suspect an allergy to any paint or solvent, stop using the material until you have confirmed your susceptibility by consulting a doctor familiar with art material toxicology. You may be able to substitute another material for the one causing problems.
  7. Gloves are good protection for your hands, but you must use the correct glove: latex gloves do not work. Nitrile gloves are generally the most effective barriers against solvents and paints.
  8. Barrier hand creams will also protect your skin, but they must be reapplied every hour to maintain their effectiveness.
  9. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap, water, and a scrub brush. You may use hand-cleaners for washing up prior to using soap, but be sure the hand-cleaner does NOT contain a solvent.
  10. See the UNCG Safety Health and Manual, and Material Safety Data Sheets, at "http://uncg.edu/sft/" from an on-campus computer, for more information.

Paintbrush and Paint Cleaning Policy

Brush Cleaning:

Oil, Alkyd, Resin-oil, Enamel, Encaustic , and other solvent-thinned paints

  1. Rinse brushes in your personal small, reclosable container of the appropriate solvent: odorless mineral spirits.
  2. Wipe brushes of all paint and solvent residue on a rag or paper towel.
  3. Rinse brushes of remaining paint and solvent residue in ordinary vegetable oil--the cheapest you can find. Wipe brushes on a rag or paper towel.
  4. Wash with the soapy water in Tub A. Rinse well in clean water in Tub B. Final rinse in clean water Tub C.
  5. Shape the brush heads and allow them to air dry. Store dry brushes in a closed container to prevent the accumulation of dust.

Acrylic dispersion, Poster Paints ("Temperas"), and other water-thinned paints

  1. Wipe brushes of all paint on a rag or paper towel.
  2. Rinse brushes in your personal container of water.
  3. Wipe brushes of remaining paint on a rag or paper towel.
  4. Wash with the soapy water in Tub A. Rinse well in clean water in Tub B. Final rinse in clean water Tub C.
  5. Shape the brush heads and allow them to dry.

Cycling Wash Water

When the wash water in Tub A becomes too dirty to clean effectively, it SHALL be put in the white drums next to the sinks in Rooms 354, 356, 159, the Foundry, and the Graduate Studio Areas. Put the water from Tub B into Tub A, and recharge Tub A with detergent. Put the water from Tub C into Tub B. Fill Tub C with fresh tap water.

NO water may be put into sink drains! Sinks are for hand washing ONLY.

Liquid Solvent Disposal

Unwanted or waste solvents (except water), oils (including vegetable oils), and mediums SHALL be put into the cylindrical red safety cans located next to the sinks in Rooms 354, 355, 159, the Foundry, and the Graduate Studio Areas. Waste water used for thinning or rinsing SHALL be put in the white drums as described above. The lids to all these containers must be kept closed, except when waste is being added. DO NOT use sinks or toilets for disposing of these materials: doing so will harm the environment and it's illegal.

Paint disposal

Unwanted paint including palette scrapings shall be collected on a paper towel or rag and properly disposed of as described below under Rag and Paper Towel Disposal.

Rag and Paper Towel Disposal

Rags or paper towels contaminated with paint or solvents, or that have been used to clean brushes and palettes SHALL be disposed of in the "fire-safe" trash containers in 354, 356, 159, the Foundry, and the Graduate Studio Areas. The lids to these containers must be kept closed. These materials may not be disposed of in ordinary trashcans as they pose a fire hazard. If dumped with ordinary trash they may harm the environment and it's illegal.

Disposal of Failed Art

Unwanted or failed art projects embody environmentally harmful ingredients and SHALL NOT be disposed of in ordinary trash. Break these objects into small pieces and dispose of in the "fire-safe" trash containers.

General Disposal

YOU are responsible for removing unwanted furniture or trash from your studio to the nearest dumpster. DO NOT leave these objects in a hallway. Objects in a hallway violate insurance regulations, and can block our emergency exit from the building.

For further reference, see:

http://www.epa.gov and http://www.osha.gov

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