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Health and safety in Art



A Guide to Safe Practice in Art and Design

As with any practical activity, there is an element of risk in art and design activities. However, this can be kept to an acceptable minimum if those involved are aware of the potential hazards and take appropriate steps to avoid accidents. It is particularly important that teachers are aware of their responsibilities regarding health and safety and ensure that pupils act safely, within acceptable bounds, at all times. This guide is intended primarily for secondary school teachers who are responsible for practical activities in art and design. General class teachers in primary schools, lecturers in further, higher and adult education, and those training to be teachers may also find it helpful.
The purpose of this guide is to draw together the range of health and safety issues affecting art and design activities and, more specifically, to highlight the legal duties arising from health and safety legislation. This places various responsibilities on local authorities, schools and teachers designed generally to ensure the safety and well being of employees and those in their care. This guide draws attention to particular areas where accidents commonly occur and provides examples of good practice to help avoid such incidents.
The guide is not intended to inhibit the teaching of art and design. Teachers may feel that their freedom to carry out some activities is constrained by some safety legislation. However, the purpose of such legislation is rarely to ban activities but rather to ensure that they are carried out in a safe and efficient manner. This guide aims to set out the position on what is permitted and encourage good, safe practice in art and design.


Model Risk Assessments for

Art and Design

CLEAPSS Model Risk Assessments for Art and Design comprise the fourth part of the CLEAPSS Model Risk Assessments for Design and Technology in Secondary Schools and Colleges.

 As far as possible, CLEAPSS have tried to ensure that the model risk assessments are compatible with the advice given in the current version of A Guide to Safe Practice in Art and Design, published by NSEAD, the National Society for Education in Art and Design on its website,

Model Risk Assessments for Art and Design is being issued as a CD to all secondary schools and colleges (and relevant special schools) which are members of CLEAPSS.

Model Risk Assessments for Art and Design are on the password-protected part of the CLEAPSS web site. This will enable CLEAPSS to make corrections and update it as necessary - you are advised to check the web site from time to time. Go to and look under D&T.

Members are free to print off one or more paper copies of Model Risk Assessments for Art and Design for use within their own institution. It could also be copied on to teachers’ laptops or placed on a school or college network, provided that it is reasonably secure. However it must not be shared with or made available to non-members.