The pottery workshop can be a hazardous environment and the aim of the management and staff of Canberra Potters is to create a safe working environment for our teachers, students and facility users. Some risks include:
- Risk to lungs from ceramic dust
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Risks from accidents and falls
- Risks from heavy lifting
- Fire safety
- Cuts and burns
- Electrical hazards
To achieve a safe working environment we ask that you listen and follow the instructions of our teachers and staff members. Be aware and follow safety protocols when using the workshops, glaze room, kiln shed and allied areas.
Members who intend to use the facility unattended are required to complete an induction course and if using kilns obtain the appropriate training and licences for kiln operation. Members should become familiar with the members handbook as it contains all the relevant and current safety protocols and workshop procedures practiced by the Canberra Potters.
Please note: if you have a disability, you should make the teacher or relevant staff member aware of this when you come to Canberra Potters 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, the minimum age for children participating in supervised classes is 5 years. During special events such as Open Day children must be accompanied at all times by an adult.
Risk: Risk to lungs from ceramic dust (in particular Silicosis)
- Twice weekly wet vac cleaning of workshops and kiln/glaze shed.
- Operation of extraction equipment on a regular daily cycle.
- Regular cleaning bees during term breaks.
- Clean work area and equipment at end of each class.
- Volunteer for a cleaning bee.
- Inform a staff member if you notice an area that requires extra cleaning.
- Don’t create dust when turning your work on the wheel.
- Sanding and dust making processes should happen outside.
- Wear a ceramic graded dust mask when carrying out dust making exercises.
- Wear an apron and ensure aprons and protective clothing is regularly washed.
Risk: Health risk from toxic substances
- We provide pre-mixed glazes so that students do not need to mix their own materials.
- We conduct all glaze mixing in a secure well ventilated space away from common work spaces.
- Toxic substances (used in glazes) are only handled by qualified staff in a secure area.
- The glaze spray booth is outside.
- We provide gloves for use when glazing.
- The glazes provided for use in our gas and electric kilns are food safe. Non food-safe materials are clearly labelled.
- All kilns are located in a separate space are flued and have external extraction.
- Provide designated food areas.
- You should not bring any glaze into the studio that has prohibited substances in it, including barium and lead.
- If you are pregnant we advise you wear thick plastic gloves 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 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: Risk from accidents and falls
- Provide a neat and tidy work area where everything has a place.
- Locate ample power sockets to avoid the need for extension leads that could create trip hazards.
- Provide adequate lighting for all internal and external spaces.
- Ensure that your work areas are kept neat.
- Your clay should be stored in areas provided.
- Do not leave objects anywhere else but the designated area.
Risk: Risk from heavy lifting
- We provide information in the studio about safe lifting practices.
- We provide wheeled trollies for the heavy items in the studio.
- Familiarise yourself with correct heavy lifting practices. There are notices within the studio.
- If you are not confident using our trollies ask a staff member for assistance.
Risk: Fire Safety
- We are a government owned facility and are subject to regular reviews and follow fire safety procedures compliant with all government regulations.
- 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 car park at front of building
Risk: Cuts, burns and work hazards
- Only trained staff or licenced members use our kilns. Kilns are kept in a restricted area in the kiln shed.
- Appropriate protective equipment are provided to staff for all processes that might involve coming into contact with a sharp surface.
- All workshops, kiln/glaze shed and public areas have a wall mounted, well stocked and up to date St Johns First Aid kit.
- All incidents are recorded on an incident report sheet and reported to the H&S managers.
- Only trained staff members are allowed to use our pug-mill.
- You MUST NOT touch a kiln unless invited to by an on duty staff member who is assisting 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.
- Familiarise yourself with the location of First Aid kits. If you are cut 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: Electrical Hazards
- We are compliant with all laws and regulations.
- All electrical equipment is Tagged and Tested according to schedule by a qualified tester.
- Only trained people are permitted to use our large electrical equipment – e.g. kilns.
- Electric heaters are wall mounted off the workshop floors.
- Only trained staff members adjust our electric heaters.
- All kilns are compliant and fitted with a safety switch so that they cannot be opened while the electricity is on.
- If you bring in any electrical tools or equipment it must display a current Tag.
- If you want the heating adjusted you should ask a staff member. Do not do this yourself.
- Only licenced members are permitted to use electric (or gas) kilns.