Studio Safety

General safety rules for all studios

The information outlined below covers all safety conduct requirements in the Visual Arts Department studios featuring information for students, instructors and staff.

  • food is not permitted in any VISA studios and workspaces. Consumption of drinks in any VISA studio is only permitted when using re-usable drink containers.
  • the use of noxious materials of any kind (spray paint, fixative etc.) is not permitted. Solvents and oil-based paints are only permitted for use in MW416.
  • use of the printing press in MW402 is only permitted under direct training and supervision of an instructor.
  • nothing is to be leaned up against the wall in areas directly under the projection screens. Objects blocking the lowering of a projection screen may damage or cause a screen to fall off its mounting bracket creating the possibility of serious injury.
  • chemicals spilled in the darkroom must be cleaned up IMMEDIATELY, and reported to the instructor. In the event of a major spill contact security at ext. 6300 to notify custodial.

Workshop Safety and Conduct

Working in the Visual Arts Department Build and Cutting rooms (MW411 & MW411A) requires that you complete a workshop safety and conduct session. Further down this page, you will find the following resources:

  • Workshop Safety/Procedure & Stretcher Building Manual
  • Workshop hours of access
  • Cutting and Build rooms:
    Monday – Friday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm.
    Saturdays: Noon – 5:00 pm. (students must sign in with security first).
  • Painting students may only build two stretchers at a time in the workshop. This means students must cut and assemble their stretchers in one work session.
  • If a student wishes to build more than two stretchers they must first take a full 1 hour break, then they may resume building a third and/or fourth stretcher (if the workshop is available).
  • Students are not allowed to pre-mill pine then store the pine for later assembly.
  • Lumber from the workshop is not allowed to be stored in any VISA studios.
  • all students MUST attend the safety-training seminar prior to using any power equipment in the workshop.
  • all safety protection equipment must be worn at all times.
  • damaged/non-functioning equipment must not be used and is to be reported immediately to the Instructor, VISA Facilities Technician in MW413 or one of the student monitors.
  • maximum 4 students at any time may work in the cutting room.
  • students are to work in teams at ALL times in the cutting room. Students found working alone in the cutting room or engaging in any form of unsafe conduct will immediately have their workshop privileges suspended for the balance
    of the academic year.
  • no other activities may be undertaken in the cutting room other than milling wood.
  • you must clean up after yourself.
  • the dust collector must be turned on when using the chop saws or table saw.

Some instructors permit the use of an air compressor and related air powered nail and staple guns for the manufacture of stretchers in their courses. Students in these courses will receive specific training in the use of this equipment and will observe the following safety protocols. You may also view a training video included below:

  • eye and hearing protection must be worn at all times.
  • the hose must be kept well clear of the nailing.
  • always point the nailgun away from yourself. The gun should always be facing towards the floor, even while loading.
  • hands/fingers that are bracing the stock must be well clear of the area in which the nail is being fired. They should be three times the nail length away from exit
    point of gun.
  • inspect the areas to receive nails for knots and avoid nailing these areas.
  • students found working using the compressor and nail gun carelessly or engaging in any form of unsafe conduct will immediately have their workshop privileges suspended for the balance of the academic year.

All injuries are to be immediately reported to your instructor, VISA Facilities Technician or the VISA Studio Monitor.

Air Compressor safety

The content of your training session is based on the Visual Arts Department Workshop Safety/Procedure Manual. This manual outlines all specific processes which you will engage in while working in the cutting and build rooms and its main focus is on the use, cleanup and management of all equipment and materials pertaining to the manufacture of painting stretchers. Students are required to read and be familiar with all of the information in this document in order to work in the cutting and build rooms.

Get the Manual

Click here to download the Workshop Safety/Procedure & Stretcher Building Manual:

The workshop safety quiz is a second semester refresher/review of pertinent details of workshop machinery, operation and conduct that students may use as a means to review their knowledge base.

Take the Quiz:

Click to download the Workshop Safety Quiz:

Refresher Notes:

Click to download second semester safety refresher session notes:

View a short video introduction to workshop safety basics:

View a short intro to the use of our compressor & air tools:

Darkroom Safety and Conduct

Working in the Visual Arts Department darkroom (MW143) requires that you complete a darkroom safety and conduct session. Further down this page, you will find the following information/resources:

  • Darkroom Safety/Procedure Manual
  • MSDS chemical information
  • afterhour darkroom access information

The content of your training session is based on the Visual Arts Department Darkroom Safety/Procedure Manual. This manual outlines all specific processes which you will engage in while working in the darkroom and its main focus is on the use, cleanup and management of photographic chemicals. Students are required to read and be familiar with all of the information in this document in order to work in the darkroom.

Get the Manual

Click the button below to download the Visual Arts Department Darkroom Conduct & Safety Guide:

All of the chemicals you will use in the darkroom have corresponding Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS sheets) which specify all the pertinent information of each chemical, the various risks of exposure and proper handling procedures. The MSDS sheets are part of the province of Ontario’s hazardous materials safety regulations known as the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. The following links describe the WHMIS system and  to each chemical you will use and you must be familiar with the information of each item:

Regular daytime access into the darkroom is:
Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 11:00 pm.

After hours and weekend access requires all students to check in with security prior to entering the darkroom either by calling the security detachment @ extension 6300 or by visiting the security kiosk in MW161.

Ladder Safety and Conduct

As part of adjusting lighting for presentation, critique or suspending project outcomes from the ceiling struts the use of ladders in the Visual Arts Department studios is part of normal operations. This page outlines specific protocols for the safe use of ladders in the Visual Arts Department. Once instructors and students have viewed the safety video below, ladders may be used in the VISA studios. In addition to the training video there are a range of downloadable support documents that all instructors and students are encouraged to review prior to the use of any ladder in our studios.

  • only ladders are to be used when hanging projects from the ceilings or adjusting lighting in VISA studios. Do NOT use chairs or tables.
  • only folding step ladders may be used in our studios.
  • VISA instructors or staff will train students in safe use of ladders.
  • students may only use ladders: after being trained by an instructor or staff-member and may use a ladder only under the supervision of a VISA instructor, staff-member or with a trained partner. Students are not permitted to use ladders alone.
  • avoid overhead or electrical hazards.
  • always inspect the ladder prior to using it. If the ladder is damaged, tag it and immediately alert an instructor, VISA staff or VISA Studio monitor.
  • always maintain a 3‐point (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) contact on the ladder when climbing. Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing.
  • ladders must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps or feet.
  • do not use a self‐supporting ladder (e.g., step ladder) as a single ladder or in a partially closed position.
  • do not use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step/rung.
  • use a ladder only on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured (top or bottom) to prevent displacement.
  • do not place a ladder on boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.
  • do not move or shift a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder.
  • be sure that spreader locks on your ladder are properly engaged.
  • do not exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder. Be aware of the ladder’s load rating and of the weight it is supporting, including the weight of any tools or equipment.
  • when moving a ladder be sure that there are no tools or materials remaining on the shelf.