Printmaking - Safe Work Practice Manual

Safe Work Practices Manual

Fine Arts Studio - Printmaking

General

  • Regularly review the Safe Work Practices Manual-this is an important resource.
  • Know the material you are working with and read the WHMIS labels and information sheets to ascertain the proper safety precautions you should take. These are located next to the first aid kit at the back of the studio.
  • For example you may need to wear a respirator and work in a ventilated environment based on the information provided with this material.
  • Wear the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment when working in the studios. Including chemical aprons or lab coats, nitrile gloves, chemical splash goggles and solid toe covering shoes when working with printmaking chemicals.
  • Do not spread chemicals to your living space-wash your hands, and wear chemical proof garments when necessary as suggested above.
  • If you are unsure about a process or procedure consult the safe work manual, a Technician and your Instructor before starting.
  • All placement of art outside the studio classroom must be approved by OH&S through the completion of the Art Placement Form.
  • This form is on the OH&S website of the university and must be completed five days prior to the installation of your work.
  • Doors to studios must be kept closed-do not prop open.
  • Never pass or the lock combination to anyone-this is for your protection and the protection of studio facilities.
  • Wear personal listening devices in all Studio Classrooms when working after class hours. Other students may need the quiet to concentrate.

Housekeeping

  • Do not block fire exits and fire-fighting equipment.
  • Store materials in designated storage areas or in your studio spaces.
  • Wash charcoal dust and paint off table tops at the end of each work period as studios are shared spaces.
  • Keep your studio facilities and classrooms clean and tidy.
  • Respect your work and the work of others.
  • Keep all disposal bins tidy with no projecting articles.
  • Clean up spills immediately in order to avoid a slipping hazard.
  • Remove large projects immediately after they have been graded to open up space to make more work.
  • Keep aisles, walkways and stairs clear.
  • Clean and put away all tools and materials in designated storage areas when job is done, and at the end of each workday.
  • Wear the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment when working in Art Studios and Workshops.
  • Sweep floors, equipment, counters, and tables after completion of tasks and at the end of every workday.
  • Avoid causing trip hazards with extension cords and air hoses.
  • Be aware of the impact of your work on the work of others in the studio.

Each person in the School of Fine Arts is responsible and accountable for his/her own safety performance. 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 University 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 from vapors, fumes, dust, gases or mists that can be inhaled into the respiratory system. The substances may damage the nose, mouth, and 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.
  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.It is imperative that eating and/or drinking do not occur in any work area.

All students are required to participate in the Safe Work Practices, this includes participation in training and instructional workshops, reading the information sheets that accompany the training sessions, signing off on their understanding of the information before beginning work in the studio facilities.

HOURS OF OPERATION –W840 Sculpture

Once the training requirement has been met Students are allowed to work in the Sculpture Facilities W840 according to the following schedule:
8:30 am – 8:00 pm Monday–Thursday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm Friday
8:30 am – 4:30 pm Saturday

Summer Schedule
Monday -Friday
8:30 am –4:30 pm

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

  1. Telephone: located inside the studio at the exit. Emergency numbers are posted beside each telephone.
  2. First Aid Kits: located in each area and are clearly marked. These are for emergency first aid procedures only. Do not use supplies for any other use.
  3. Eye Wash Stations: located in each area and are clearly marked. Eye wash stations are tested every 3 months, by the department Safety Representative.
  4. Fire Extinguishers: located in every working area.

The following materials and substances cannot be used in student projects; ammunition or explosives, flammable liquids, biohazardous material or waste.

WHMIS information sheets and proper labeling according to WHMIS regulations must accompany all controlled products. WHMIS training is provided by OH&S, as a student you must attend an information session. Check the OH&S web siteor ask a technician.

WHMIS information sheets are provided in all studios for controlled products supplied bythe Department to support instruction.

Controlled products for your personal use must also have appropriateWHMIS labels and accompanying SDS information sheets.

  • All containers must be labeled (including harmless items like distilled water). The label should contain the proper name of the material (Turpenoid, Varsol) and the name of the user if appropriate, a statement of hazards should also be listed.Stickers are available for this purpose.
  • Do not use material from unlabeled containers. The need for adequate labeling extends far beyond the immediate individual user, as they may not be present if the container spills or breaks.
  • It is important that no unidentified materials are left in unlabeled containers, jars, or bottles. Proper labeling is important since it is difficult and costly to dispose of unlabeled chemicals.

Each individual has the responsibility for seeing that waste chemicals are safely collected, identified and stored for disposal, and that anyone involved is fully advised of the need for any special methods or facilities for proper disposal.

Handling of Waste

Chemicals are everywhere: they can be found in animals, plants and water as well as in many commercially available products including medicines,detergents, paints and foods. The risk may be low, but present. In order to keep the risk to a minimum, all chemical waste must be disposed of properly. Once a material is declared a waste, the first responsibility for guiding its proper disposal rests with the worker. He or she is in the best position to know the degree of hazard posed by the material they have used and must provide sufficient information to fit it into the correct channel for disposal.

Some Acids and Bases:

The following acids and bases have been approved for drain disposal while flushing drain with water, if the pH range is between 3 and 11 (prior to draining).

Sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide.

Any chemical which qualifies, as a hazardous waste must be collected for proper disposal through OH&S.A waste may be designated as a hazardous waste if it meets one of the following criteria:

  1. Acute hazardous waste is a waste which has been found to be fatal in humans in low doses or, in the absence of data on humans, has been found to have, in laboratory animals:
    • An oral LD50 (Lethal Dose of 50% of the test subjects) of less than 50 mg/kg.
    • An inhalation LC50 (Lethal Concentration) of less than 2 mg/l, or
    • A dermal LD50 of less than 200 mg/kg.
  2. A waste is hazardous if it contains any of the toxic constituents listed in the regulations.
  3. A waste is hazardous if it exhibits any of the following characteristics:
    • Ignitability
    • Corrosivity
    • Reactivity
    • Toxicity
    • Sharpness
  4. Each Studio generating chemical waste in the Department has a designated location within the room for waste accumulation.
  5. Hazardous Waste Disposal containers are located by the sinks in most studios. As well sharps containers are located in various studios for the safe disposal of glass, knives or saw blades.

All workplace hazardous materials must be identified and disposed of according Provincial Regulations. No substance that may affect the Environment, Plant, Animal, or Human Life can be disposed of in the garbage or flushed down the sewer system. Consult with a Technician before you act.

Effective ventilation is the best method for controlling contaminants generated and released into the studio atmosphere. There are two basic types of ventilation: general and local exhaust. Local exhaust ventilation is required when working in:
Painting Studio W817
Metal Shop W840
Advanced Studio W823
Kiln Room W890D
Wood Shop W840A
Clay Mixing/ SlurryRoom W890A

Spray Booths are located in W840 + W520, use these when spraying fixative to drawings or when using spray paint. If the contaminant is highly toxic or large amounts of the toxic material are produced a respirator must also be worn.

As a result of the hazard assessment performed by the Technical Staff of the Department of Art working alone is not permitted. All work planned after 8:00 pm must be done with another student. Any Students found working alone in any studio area will be asked to leave the facility by Security personnel. The buddy system should now be enforced in all of the following workspaces: W817, W823, W869, W871, W890, A, B, C +D, W520,L804, W844, W842, and W748 A-K. Excerpt from Art Safety Policy (1992);

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 of Fine Arts Safety Policy. The buddy must remain within the same studio at all times.

The University of Lethbridge now has a Working Alone Safely Login that informs Security that an individual is working alone on campus. All Faculty,Staff, and Students are asked to use this system to login and out with security when they are on campus after regular hours. This policy was developed through the guidelines found in the booklet “Working Alone Safely: A Guide for Employers and Employees” as developed by Alberta Human Resources and Employment.

Fire

In the event of fire, please phone the following EMERGENCY number immediately: 911 or 403-329-2345.

Action to be taken (R.E.A.C.T.):

  1. Remove those in danger.
  2. Ensure the room is closed. This step will confine a fire to the room of origin. This will also prevent the spread of smoke and toxic gases.
  3. Activate the fire alarm. This will occur automatically with smoke and heat detection equipment. There is nothing wrong with calling the Fire Department for assistance and providing details of the fire.
  4. Call the Fire Department. 911 or 403-329-2345. A person should be designated to call the Fire Department even though the building alarm system is automatically connected to the Fire Department.
  5. Try to extinguish or control the fire. If there is any doubt in the mind of the person(s) attempting to extinguish the fire regarding their ability to do so, then confine the fire to the room of origin by closing the door.
  6. Evacuate.
  7. Keep people from re-entering the building until directed to do so by the Building Fire Warden of Campus Security.

Air Contamination

Should you smell any foreign or unrecognized odors, please phone the following EMERGENCY number immediately: 403-329-2345.

What to report:

  1. The location of the odor.
  2. Time the odor was first apparent.
  3. Any physical symptoms experienced by persons in the affected area, ie. headache, feeling of nausea.
  4. Any information suggesting the odor's origin.

Open any windows or doors to attempt to dilute the polluted air with fresh outside air. Stay out of the affected area and await further instruction by safety personnel.

Chemical Spills

Should a chemical spill occur in your area please phone the following EMERGENCY number immediately: 403-329-2345. For minor chemicals spills contact Technical Staff in W840 for assistance. Use copious quantities of water when cleaning up chemicals.

What to report:

  1. The location of the spill and any evidence that tells what the chemical could be, ie. an empty bleach bottle lying on the floor indicating the substance may be bleach.
  2. Any odor, ie. a strong smell of ammonia.
  3. Any visible chemical reaction that may be occurring, ie. a substance bubbling on the floor.

When proper personnel have been notified, no one should enter the contaminated area. If an odor is present, open a window and post a guard outside the odorous area keeping untrained persons away. NO ATTEMPT SHOULD BE MADE TO CLEAN UP THE SPILL. Await arrival of emergency personnel.

Personal Protection Equipment

There are times when exposure to toxic materials cannot be prevented, and as such any person working in the area must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment. Contact the Technician, your Professor, or OHS for assistance in selecting the correct PPE. It is not only important that the correct PPE is worn but that the equipment fit properly. For instance ,respirators must have a mask to face seal and facial hair prevents a tight seal.

For detail information please refer to Info sheets in the Workplace Safety Manual located in W840.

  • Prescription lenses and sport glasses are not an acceptable substitute for proper, required Industrial safety eye protection.
  • Contact lens should not be worn in Art Studio Environments. Contact lens may trap or absorb particles or gases causing eye irritation or blindness.
  • CSA approved eye protection must be worn when working in W840 and elsewhere when the activity demands it.
  • Eye protection should fit properly, with or without prescription lens.
  • Return glasses to the proper storage rack face up to avoid scratching lens.
  • In this storage rack you will find a variety of styles pick the one that fits you best.
  1. There are two common types of hearing protection: earplugs or earmuffs.
  2. One or both types must be used when working in W840 and W890B (grinding room) and at all times when equipment is operating.
  3. These studio workshops are high noise areas and hearing protection is a must even if you are not the one making the noise.
  4. Hearing loss, which normally occurs over an extended period of time, is one concern in high noise areas. The immediate effect of high noise areas is fatigue-when we are tired we make mistakes, some of which could be serious.
  • Students are required to wear good solid shoes when working in Art Studio. Leather shoes with closed toes are best. These protect your feet from most substances used in studios-for example, spills: photo chemicals, acids, and paints. Open toed sandals should not be worn in any studio, and are not permitted in W840.
  • If you have safety boots wear them and if you know you are going to live in these studios buy some safety footwear.
  • Employees must wear safety footwear in the above areas and in the performance of the majority of their duties.
  • Dust masks must be worn in W840, W840A, and W890 A, B, and C when the activities in these areas are dust producing.
  • Local ventilation and air extraction equipment must be utilized in the above studios depending on the nature of your activity.
  • Spray Booths are located in W840 + W520, use these when spraying fixative to drawings or when using spray paint.
  • If the contaminant is highly toxic or large amounts of the toxic material are produced a respirator must also be worn.

Due to the variety of studio activities you must consider further personal protection that may take many different forms such as leather gloves, nitrile gloves, leather/chemical aprons etc.

Generally the following rules apply when working in studios and shops:

  • All rings, bracelets, necklaces, and watches should be removed. Long hair must be tied firmly back and tuck in. Short sleeves should be worn when working in the wood shop and shirttails must be tucked in.
  • If you bend over nothing should fall away from your body.
  • When working with metal or hot processes long sleeves should be worn, and clothing should be made of natural fibers. Synthetic fibers melt onto the skin and can cause severe burns.
  • Shirttails should not be tucked in when working with hot processes, no cuffs, and pocket flaps should be closed. You want any hot particle to be able to pass through your clothing and not to become trapped against your skin.
  • Shorts and open-toed shoes or sandals should not be worn in the studios. You must keep in mind that many of the products you will use are absorbed through the skin, and could be corrosive.
  • Wash hands and arms thoroughly before leaving the studios after working with potentially hazardous material and before eating, drinking, smoking, etc.

This space will operate on a one-week rotating schedule, and it is your responsibility to schedule your time in this space. At the end of the exhibition period the following procedure must be followed:

Get the paint kit from technicians. In this kit you will find the following supplies:

  • Paint Brush, Roller sleeve and handle, pole sander and sand paper, Extension Pole, Wall Filler, putty knife, Tape, White Latex paint, Paint Tray and drop cloths, brush, and roller spinner.
  • Lay down the drop cloths tight to the walls, if necessary tape these down with painters tape. They should overlap each other by 24”.
  • Remove all nails and fastening devices, with pole sander lightly sand the walls, smoothing out the dimple caused by your nails.
  • Prepare a small quantity of wall filler and apply leanly to all nail holes.
  • When this is dry lightly sand the walls again taking care to make the walls as smooth as possible.
  • Stir your paint well and only use the latex paint provided.
  • Fill the paint tray with a moderate quantity of paint working only on the drop clothes.
  • With a paintbrush first apply a brush coat on all filled areas, then carefully cut in the edges of the walls. Do not paint concrete, floors, baseboards, or electrical outlets.
  • Once you have finished cutting in use the roller to apply a light even coat of white latex paint to the walls.
  • After you have completed the painting scrap excess paint from roller into tray, with a brush, clean paint tray returning excess paint to paint ca. Roll or fold up your drop cloths and sweep the area before returning paint kit to W840.
  • Return all used painting equipment to W840 and carefully remove the roller sleeve and thoroughly rinse it in the sink making sure all paint is washed out of roller and paintbrush.
  • Using the paint spinner in the sink fit roller sleeve over end of spinner and spin roller to remove excess water. Stand damp roller sleeve upright for finally drying.
  • Using the paint spinner, place brush handle into clamp and spin to remove excess water. Smooth out the bristle while brush is still damp and lay brush flat to dry or hang on wall over sink.
  • Know the material you are working with and ask for the SDS on all materials you purchase. Read the SDS labels and information sheets to ascertain the proper safety precautions you should take.
  • For example, you may need to wear a respirator and work in a ventilated environment based on the information provided with this material.
  • Wear the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment when working in the studios. Consider aprons or lab coats for painting, wear nitrile gloves when handling solvents or apply barrier cream.
  • All materials, supplies, and works in progress must be stored appropriately with the understanding that storage facilities must be user maintained.
  • Clear, uncluttered passageways have to be maintained in studio area.
  • Clean counters, work-tables and inking tables, scrape excess ink to newsprint, use baby oil to soften ink after each work period. Wet ink will migrate to the least desirable places if left on work surfaces.
  • Avoid solvent use as much as possible and use sparingly when necessary.
  • Clean off plates in Varsol machine, keep lid closed when not in use to avoid evaporation of solvent. Clean all parts of tools; disassemble if necessary.
  • All print portfolio storage must be cleaned out at the end of each term. Look for signs and heed your instructor’s directions about portfolio pick-up at end of term. All articles left behind will be removed and thrown out.
  • If you are unsure about which tool/material to use or how to use it consult the safe work manual, a technician and your instructor before starting.
  • All placement of art outside the studio classroom must be approved by OH&S through the completion of the Art Placement Form.
  • This form is on the OH&S website of the university and must be completed five days prior to the installation of your work.
  • Use hazardous waste containers for disposal of all solvents and inks.
  • Print towels are provided for clean-up please use them well and do not leave them scattered around studio area; deposit them into metal canisters provided in the studio. They are organized for heavily soiled, slightly soiled, and not soiled-sort your towels accordingly and use the slightly soiled for heavy cleaning.
  • Doors to studios must be kept closed-do not prop open.Do not share code.
  • Wear personal listening devices in all Studio Classrooms when working after class hours. Other students may need the quiet to concentrate.
  • ou may be asked by your instructor not to use any personal listening devices during class hours. If this is the case please follow the directions given you.
  • Do not work alone in Print Studio after 8:00 pm. You must have someone working in the same classroom with you.
  • Be aware of the impact of your work on the work of others in the studios.
  • Adjust air movement and heat distribution with the environmental controls provided in each classroom. These may include ceiling fans, thermostats, or locally adjusted air exchange units.
  • All containers must be labeled; do not use food or drink containers for controlled substances.
  • Do not eat or drink in Print Studio, and wash your hands before leaving the studio.
  • Baby oil/ mineral oil is a good cleaner as it loosens the ink and helps your skin at the same time.
  • Never wash your hands with solvents.

Intaglio, lithography and relief inks consist of pigments suspended in either linseed oil or water as a vehicle. There can be additional hazardous such as binders or preservatives, etc.

Hazards

  • Oil-based inks contain treated linseed oils. While linseed oil is not considered a hazard by skin contact or inhalation, ingestion of large amounts of some treated linseed oils might be hazardous due to presence of small amounts of toxic heavy metals.
  • Oil vehicles are flammable when heated, and rags soaked in these may ignite by spontaneous combustion.

Precautions

Know what materials are used. Obtain the SDS on all products used.

  • Use the least toxic inks possible.
  • Do not use an open flame to heat linseed oil, linseed oil varnishes, or burnt plate oil. Take normal fire prevention measures (e.g. no smoking or open flames in work area).
  • Place oil-soaked rags in self-closing disposal cans and remove from the studio each day. An alternative is to place the oil-soaked rags in a pail of water.

Pigments are the colorants used in lithography, intaglio, and relief printing inks. There are two types of pigments: inorganic pigments, and organic pigments.

Hazards

  • Pigment poisoning can occur if pigments are inhaled or ingested. For normal printing with prepared inks, the main hazard is accidental ingestion of pigments due to eating, drinking or smoking while working, or inadvertent hand to mouth contact.
  • The classic example of a toxic inorganic pigment in printmaking is lead chromate (chrome yellow).
  • Lead pigments can cause anemia, gastrointestinal problems, peripheral nerve damage (and brain damage in children), kidney damage and reproductive system damage.
  • Other inorganic pigments may be hazardous also, including pigments based on cobalt, cadmium, and manganese.
  • Some of the inorganic pigments, in particular cadmium pigments, chrome yellow and zinc yellow (zinc chromate) may cause lung cancer if inhaled.
  • In addition, lamp black and carbon blackmay contain impurities that can cause skin cancer.
  • Chromate pigments (chrome yellow and zinc yellow) may cause skin ulceration and allergic skin reactions.
  • The long-term hazards of the modern synthetic organic pigments have not been well studied.

Precautions

Obtain SDS on all pigments. This is especially important because the name that appears on label of the color may or may not truly represent the pigments present.

  • Use the safest pigments possible. Avoid lead pigments. Avoid mixing dry pigments whenever possible.
  • Never mix your own chrome yellow, zinc yellow, chrome green, molybdate orange or any other pigments which are known human carcinogens. If possible, do not mix highly toxic pigments such as lead white or cadmium colors. If dry pigments require mixing, do it inside a capture hood to prevent exposure.

In general, organic solvents are one of the most underrated hazards in art materials.

  • Organic solvents are used in printmaking to dissolve and mix with oils, resins, varnishes, and inks and to clean plates, rollers, tools.

Hazards

  • Repeated or prolonged skin contact with solvents can cause defatting of the skin and resultant dermatitis (rashes, drying and cracking of skin, itching, etc.).
  • Many solvents, for example turpentine, methyl alcohol, toluene, and xylene, can also be harmful through skin absorption.
  • Inhalation of solvent vapors is the major way in which solvents are harmful.
  • High concentrations of most solvents can cause narcosis (dizziness, nausea, fatigue, loss of coordination, coma, etc.). This can also increase the chances for mistakes and accidents.
  • Research has indicated that chronic occupational exposure to many solvents can cause permanent brain damage, with symptoms including loss of memory, behavioral changes, fatigue, spasticity, decreased intelligence, slower reflexes, poor hand-eye coordination, etc.
  • Most of these studies are on mixed solvents so it is difficult to implicate particular solvents.
  • Solvents can also attack other organ systems besides the nervous system. In particular, turpentine can damage the kidneys, toluene and chlorinated hydrocarbons can affect the liver, and methylene chloride can affect the heart.
  • Many solvents are toxic if ingested.
  • This is particularly a problem with young children swallowing solvents that have been placed in glasses or other food or drink containers, although this has also happened with adults. Swallowing 1/5 ounce of turpentine can be fatal to a 5-year old child.
  • Most solvents, except chlorinated hydrocarbons, are also either flammable or combustible.
  • A solvent is flammable if its vapors can burn below 100°F when a source of ignition is present; if the temperature has to be over 100°F before it will burn, then the solvent is combustible.
  • For example, ethyl alcohol and toluene are flammable, and kerosene and mineral spirits (Varsol or paint thinner) are combustible.

Precautions

  • Obtain the SDS on all solvent products used.
  • Use the least toxic solvent possible. For example, replace the more toxic methyl alcohol (methyl hydrate) with denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.
  • Keep minimum amounts of solvents on hand and purchase in smallest practical container size.
  • Large amounts of solvents or solvent-containing materials should be stored in a flammable storage cabinet.
  • Never store solvents or solvent-containing materials in food or drink containers.
  • Always label containers.
  • Do not allow smoking, open flames or other sources of ignition near solvents. Have a fire extinguisher in the area.
  • Wear gloves when handling solvents to avoid skin contact.In particular, do not use solvents to clean ink off hands. Baby oil is a good substitute.
  • Do not induce vomiting if petroleum distillates are swallowed. Give 1-2 glasses of water or milk and contact a regional Poison Control Centre.

Acids are used in intaglio (acid etching) and in lithography.

  • Strong acids commonly used include nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, and phosphoric acid, and less commonly carbolic acid (phenol), chromic acid, hydrofluoric and sulfuric acids.

Hazards

Concentrated acids are corrosive to the skin, eyes, respiratory system and gastrointestinal system.

  • Dilute acids can cause skin irritation on repeated or prolonged contact. Chromic acid is a skin sensitizer, suspect carcinogen, and oxidizer.
  • Phenol is highly toxic by skin absorption and ingestion. It may cause severe kidney damage, central nervous system effects and even death if absorbed in large amounts.
  • Hydrofluoric acid is highly toxic and can cause severe, deep burns, which require medical attention. There is no immediate pain warning from contact with hydrofluoric acid.
  • Concentrated nitric acid is a strong oxidizing agent and can react explosively with other concentrated acids, solvents, etc.
  • Nitric acid gives off various nitrogen oxide gases, including nitrogen dioxide which is a strong lung irritant and can cause emphysema.

Precautions

Know what is used. Obtain the SDS for all acids. Whenever possible avoid concentrated acids.

  • Doing acid etching requires working in a properly ventilated area with exhaust hoods.
  • Store concentrated nitric and chromic acids away from organic materials.
  • Concentrated nitric acid should always be stored separately even from other acids.
  • An important safety rule when diluting concentrated acids is to add the acid to the water, never the reverse.
  • Wear appropriate gloves, goggles and protective apron or lab coat when handling acids.
  • An emergency shower and eyewash fountain that is not hand-held should be in studios where concentrated acids are mixed or used. Portable eyewash bottles are not recommended.
  • If acid is spilled on your skin, wash with lots of water. In case of eye contact, rinse the eyes with water for at least 15-20 minutes and contact a physician.
  • Do not induce vomiting if concentrated acids are swallowed. Give 1-2 glasses of water or milk and get medical attention.

Collagraphs are prints produced by using a collage of different materials glued onto a rigid support. A wide variety of materials and adhesives can be used in making collagraphs.

Hazards

  • Rubber cement, a common adhesive used with collagraphs, is extremely flammable and most rubber cements and their thinners contain the solvent n-hexane which can cause damage to the peripheral nervous system (hands, arms, legs, feet) from chronic inhalation of high levels.
  • Epoxy glues can cause skin and eye irritation and allergies.
  • See the Solvents section for solvent hazards found in adhesives.
  • Spraying fixatives on the back of collagraph plates to seal them can involve risk of inhalation of the solvent-containing spray mist.
  • Sanding collagraph plates which have been treated with acrylic modeling compounds or similar materials can involve inhalation of irritating dusts.
  • A wide variety of other materials with varying toxicities can be used in making collagraph plates.

Precautions

  • Know the hazards of materials used and obtain the SDSs from the manufacturer.
  • Use the least toxic materials available.
  • In particular use water-based glues and mediums (e.g. acrylic medium) whenever possible.
  • Some rubber cements are made with the solvent heptane, which is less toxic than n-hexane, primarily because peripheral neuropathy is not associated with its use.
  • Use ventilation with small amounts of solvents and large amounts of acrylic medium (due to the presence of small amounts of ammonia).
  • For highly toxic solvents or large amounts of solvents or other toxic chemicals, use local exhaust ventilation (e.g. slot hood, enclosed hood, etc.).
  • Use spray fixatives in a spray booth that exhausts to the outside, or outdoors. Wear gloves when using epoxy glues.

Relief printing techniques include woodcuts, linoleum cuts and acrylic plates.These techniques involve the cutting away of plate areas that are not to be printed. Relief inks can be oil-based or water-based.

Hazards

  • Some woods used for woodcuts can cause skin irritation and/or allergies. This is particularly true of tropical hardwoods.
  • Accidents involving sharp tools can result in cuts.
  • Woodcarving and cutting tools can cause carpel tunnel syndrome.
  • Caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) is sometimes used for etching linoleum. It can cause skin burns and severe eye damage if splashed in the eyes.
  • Eating, drinking or smoking while printing can result in accidental ingestion of pigments.
  • Hazardous solvents are used in stopouts and resists in linoleum etching, and for cleaning up after printing with oil-based inks.

Precautions

  • Obtain the SDS for all materials used.
  • See Acids and Solvents sections for precautions with acids and solvents.
  • Water-based inks are preferable to oil-based inks since solvents are not needed.
  • Wear appropriate gloves, goggles and protective apron when handling caustic soda.
  • An emergency shower and eyewash fountain should be available.
  • If the chemical is spilled on your skin, wash with lots of water. In case of eye contact, rinse the eyes with water for at least 15-20 minutes and contact a physician.
  • Vacuum or mop up all wood dust so as to diminish inhalation of wood dust.
  • Always cut in a direction away from you, with both hands on the tool.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome can be minimized or avoided by using tools with wide handles, avoiding tight grips, and taking rest periods with hand flexing exercises.
  • Linoleum cutting is softer to work, and thus can reduce musculoskeletal injury.

Plastic prints can involve making prints from a wide variety of plastic materials and resins.

Hazards

Plastic prints can involve hazards from inhalation of plastic resin vapors (e.g. epoxy resins) and also from inhalation of decomposition fumes from drilling, machining, sawing, etc. of finished plastics.

Precautions

Obtain the SDS forall materials used.

  • See Solvent section for the precautions with solvents. Use the least toxic material available.
  • Use dilution ventilation with small amounts of solvents and when fabricating finished plastics.
  • For highly toxic solvents or plastics resins, or large amounts of solvents or other toxic chemicals, use local exhaust ventilation such as a slot or enclosed hood.
  • Monoprints involve standard intaglio, lithographic and other printmaking techniques, but only one print is made.
  • Monoprints have the same hazards involved in plate preparation and printing as the parent techniques.

Serigraphy or Screen Printing is a method of creating an image on paper, fabric or some other object by pressing ink through a screen with areas blocked off.

Hazards

  • The screen can be blocked with with either a light-sensitive emulsion, paper, film, or with a screen filling product.
  • Light-sensitive emulsion, screen filler, or screen drawing fluid may cause irritation or allergic reaction with skin or eye contact. Diazo photoemulsion is the least hazardous, although it can cause irritation.
  • Screen cleaning and screen preparation solutions are also skin and eye irritants.
  • Light exposure sources include photoflood lamps, vacuum Poly-Lite units, and carbon arcs.
  • Large amounts of ultraviolet radiation from these lights can cause skin and eye damage and possible skin cancer.
  • Carbon arcs also produce hazardous metal fumes, and ozone and nitrogen dioxide (which can cause emphysema), and toxic carbon monoxide.
  • When paper or film stencils are used the main hazard is accidents with sharp tools.
  • Long-term use of these tools can cause carpel tunnel syndrome, which can cause numbness and pain in the first three fingers. Severe cases can be incapacitating.
  • A pressure washer may be used to clean the screen. The force of the water can damage eyes, and can also spread cleaning solution and contaminants if not contained.

Precautions

Know the hazards of materials used and obtain the SDS from the manufacturer.

  • Never look directly into the light exposure unit.
  • Use the least toxic materials available. Use water-soluble inks.
  • Keep tools sharp. Store them safely and always cut away from yourself.
  • Minimize the chance of carpal tunnel syndrome by choosing tools with wide handles, avoiding tight grips, and doing hand flexing exercises during regular rest periods.
  • Set work table height so wrist flexing motions are minimal.
  • Wear nitrile gloves when mixing or applying emulsions or screen fillers/ drawing fluid and when cleaning screens.
  • Wash hands often.
  • When using a pressure washer, wear goggles or a face shield. Ear protection may also need to be worn to protect against the sound of the machine. Never point the stream of water at yourself or another person.
  • In case of splashes in the eyes rinse with water for at least 15-20 minutes and contact a physician.

Intaglio is a printmaking process in which ink is pressed into depressed areas of the plate and then transferred to paper. These depressed areas can be produced by a variety of techniques, including acid etching, drypoint, engraving and mezzotint.

  • Etching involves use of dilute nitric acid, Dutch mordant (hydrochloric acid plus potassium chlorate), saline sulfate (copper sulfate and salt), or ferric chloride to etch the zinc or copper (respectively) metal plate.
  • Unetched parts of the plate are protected with resists such as stopout varnishes containing ethyl alcohol, grounds containing asphaltum or gilsonite and mineral spirits, rubber cement, and rosin or spray paints for aquatinting.
  • Sometimes, soft grounds contain more toxic solvents.

Hazards

  • 1,1,1-trichloroethane found in some soft grounds is moderately toxic by inhalation under normal conditions.
  • See Acids section for the hazards of acids. In particular,nitric acid etching releases the respiratory irritant nitrogen dioxide which has poor odor warning properties.
  • Large acute over exposures may cause pulmonary edema (chemical pneumonia), and chronic exposure may cause emphysema.
  • During the etching process, flammable hydrogen gas may also produced.
  • Concentrated nitric acid is a strong oxidizing agent and can react with many other chemicals, especially solvents or other organic compounds, to cause a fire.
  • Mixing hydrochloric acid with potassium chlorate to make Dutch mordant produces highly toxic chlorine gas.
  • Several years ago, five art students and teachers had chlorine poisoning in Canada from mixing Dutch mordant without proper ventilation.
  • Potassium chlorate is a key ingredient in many pyrotechnics, and is a potent oxidizing agent. It can react explosively with organic compounds, sulfur compounds, sulfuric acid or even dirt or clothing. On heating it can violently decompose to oxygen and potassium chloride.
  • Storage and use are very dangerous and require special precautions especially when mixing.
  • Rosin dust (and asphaltum dust which is also sometimes used) is combustible. Sparks or static electricity have caused explosions in enclosed rosin and aquatint boxes.
  • Rosin dust may also cause asthma and dermatitis in some individuals. Inhalation of solvents and pigments can result from use of aerosol spray paints.

Precautions

  • Obtain the SDS for all materials used. See Solvents and Acids sections for specific precautions. Artists, colleges and universities should use etchants with caution.
  • A safer substitute for etching copper plates is ferric chloride (iron perchloride). This forms acidic solutions so should be handled accordingly, but does not have the dangers of handling concentrated acids.
  • Ferric chloride solution might cause minor skin irritation from prolonged contact.
  • Application of grounds or stopouts should be done with local exhaust ventilation, (e.g. slot or enclosed hood).
  • Application of spray paints should be done inside a spray booth that exhausts to the outside, or outdoors. Acid etching should be done with local exhaust ventilation.
  • See section on precautions for Acids for more information. Note that the acid gases will eventually corrode ordinary fans or galvanized ducts.
  • Rosin (or asphaltum) boxes should be explosion-proof. Use sparkproof metal cranks, explosion-proof motors, or compressed air.
  • Don’t use hair dryers to stir up rosin dust.

Drypoint, mezzotint and engraving use sharp tools to incise lines in metal plates.

Hazards

  • One major hazard associated with these types of processes involves accidents with sharp tools.
  • Long-term use of these tools can cause carpel tunnel syndrome, which can cause numbness and pain in the first three fingers.
  • Severe cases can be incapacitating.

Precautions

  • Keep tools sharp, store them safely and always cut away from yourself.
  • When possible, clamp down plates to avoid slippage.
  • Minimize the chance of carpel tunnel syndrome by choosing tools with wide handles, avoiding tight grips, and doing hand flexing exercises during regular rest periods.
  • Set worktable height so wrist flexing motions are minimal.
  • Intaglio inks contain pigments, treated linseed oil and modifiers.
  • Printing involves placing the ink on the inking slab, inking the plate by hand, and then printing.
  • Cleanup of inking slab, press bed, and cleaning the plate is done with a variety of solvents including mineral spirits, alcohol, lithotine, turpentine, etc.

Hazards

  • Plate cleaning is more hazardous than cleaning inking slabs or press beds because larger amounts of solvents are used.
  • Lithotine, turpentine, or oil-soaked rags can be a spontaneous combustion hazard if improperly stored.

Precautions

  • Dilution ventilation is sufficient for cleaning press beds and inking slabs if small amounts of solvents are used.
  • For cleaning resists off etching plates, use local exhaust ventilation, (e.g. slot or enclosed hood).
  • Working immediately in front of a window containing an exhaust fan at work level will also suffice.
  • Oil-soaked rags should be stored in approved, oily waste cans that are emptied each day.

Lithography uses either zinc or aluminum metal plates or stones for printing.

  • It involves use of a variety of chemicals to make the image ink-receptive and non-image areas receptive to water and ink-repellent.
  • A variety of drawing materials with high wax and fatty acid content are used to make the image, including tusche and lithographic crayons.
  • Airbrushing liquid drawing materials or using spray enamel or lacquer is also common.
  • Other materials used in stone or plate processing include etch solution containing acids and gum arabic, counter etch solutions containing acids and sometimes dichromate salts, and fountain solutions containing dichromate salts.
  • Phenol (carbolic acid) has been used for removing grease from stones, and a variety of solvents including lithotine, gasoline, kerosene, and mineral spirits, which are used for diluting drawing materials, washing out images and correction of images.
  • Talc and rosin mixtures are also used.
  • Metal plates are prepared with solvent-based vinyl lacquers.

Hazards

  • Acids used include phosphoric, nitric, acetic, hydrochloric, hydrofluoric and tannic acids.
  • The concentrated acids are corrosive and even dilute acid solutions can cause skin irritation from prolonged or repeated contact.
  • Hydrofluoric acid and phenol are the most dangerous to use.
  • Lithotine, kerosene, and mineral spirits are skin and eye irritants and inhalation can cause intoxication and respiratory irritation.
  • The solvents contained in vinyl lacquers can include highly toxic isophorone and cyclohexanone.
  • Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), which is moderately toxic, is often used as a thinner.
  • Dichromate salts may cause skin and nasal ulceration and allergic reactions, and are suspect cancer-causing agents.
  • Rosin dust may cause asthma and allergic dermatitis. There is the hazard of explosion from the buildup of rosin dust, in enclosed rosin boxes, around an ignition source.
  • Talcs may be contaminated with asbestos and silica.
  • Airbrushing drawing materials or using spray enamel paints is more hazardous than drawing with a brush because the inhalation hazard is higher.

Precautions

  • Obtain the SDS for all materials used. See Acids and Solvents sections for the precautions with acids and solvents. Use the least toxic solvents. Gasoline should never be used.
  • Lithotine and mineral spirits are less toxic than the more irritating kerosene. Use asbestos-free talcs such as baby powders.
  • Avoid dichromate-containing counter etches and fountain solutions if possible.
  • Do not use hydrofluoric acid if possible.
  • Air brushing or application of spray paints should only be done in a spray booth.
  • Local exhaust ventilation such as a slot hood, or window exhaust fan 1-2 feet away is needed for vinyl plate lacquers.
  • Dilution ventilation is adequate when working with small amounts of solvents.
  • An emergency shower and eyewash fountain should be installed where concentrated acids are mixed and used.
  • Appropriate gloves, goggles and a protective apron should be worn when mixing or using concentrated acids. Do not use phenol.

Many art lithographic inks contain treated linseed oil as a vehicle, and are thus not solvent-based. However, some lithographers use commercial lithographic inks, which can contain some solvents, such as mineral spirits.

  • For all types of lithographic inks, solvents are used to make image corrections on the press, to remove images, and to clean the press bed and rollers.

Hazards

  • Some roller cleaners and glaze cleaners can contain chlorinated hydrocarbons such as perchloroethylene and methylene chloride.
  • Most chlorinated solvents (except 1,1,1-trichloroethane) have been shown to cause liver cancer in animals and are therefore suspect human carcinogens.
  • In addition perchloroethylene can cause liver damage, and methylene chloride heart attacks.

Precautions

Know materials used. Obtain the SDS for all solvents.

  • Choose products that do not contain chlorinated solvents whenever possible.
  • For small-scale solvent use in correcting images or cleaning the press bed using lithotine or mineral spirits, dilution ventilation is sufficient.
  • For roller and glaze cleaning and larger scale solvent use, local exhaust is recommended.

Photo printmaking involves exposing a light-sensitive emulsion or film to ultraviolet light through a transparent support containing an opaque image to transfer the image to a plate.

The transparency through which the photo emulsions are developed can include drawings on a transparent support such as Mylar or acetate, or photographic images processed on graphic arts film to yield a positive image.

Photolithography involves transferring graphic images to stones or metal plates that are coated with a light-sensitive emulsion. One can coat the stone or metal plate, or use presensitized metal plates.

  • Light-sensitive emulsions used on stone consist of a mixture of powdered albumin, ammonium dichromate, water, and ammonia; commercial emulsions are usually based on diazo compounds.
  • Developing solutions for these mixtures often contain highly toxic solvents.
  • Diazo-sensitizing solutions, developers with highly toxic solvents, plate conditioners containing strong alkali, and other brand name mixtures are used for metal plates.

Hazards

  • Diazo photoemulsions are the least hazardous although they can cause eye irritation.
  • Ammonium dichromate used for stone is a probable human carcinogen, is moderately toxic by skin contact, and may cause allergies, irritation, and external ulcers; it is highly flammable and a strong oxidizer.
  • Ammonia is a skin irritant and highly toxic by inhalation. Ammonia is highly corrosive to the eyes. It has good odor-warning properties.
  • Light exposure sources include photoflood lamps, vacuum Poly-Lite units, and carbon arcs.
  • Carbon arcs produce large amounts of ultraviolet radiation, which can cause skin and eye damage and possible skin cancer.
  • Carbon arcs also produce hazardous metal fumes, and ozone and nitrogen dioxide (which can cause emphysema), and toxic carbon monoxide.
  • Screen cleaning solutions include strong caustic solutions, enzyme detergents which can cause asthma, and chlorine bleach. These are skin and respiratory irritants.
  • Many solvents used in developing solutions are highly toxic both by inhalation and skin absorption.
  • Plate conditioners contain alkalis that are highly corrosive to skin and eyes.

Precautions

Obtain SDS for all materials used. See Solvents section for more precautions with solvents.

  • Avoid ammonium dichromate and use presensitized plates if possible. If you cannot substitute, wear gloves and goggles. Store it away from heat, solventsand other organic materials.
  • Use ammonia solutions or solvent-containing photolithographic solutions inside a laboratory hood, or in front of a slot exhaust hood, wear gloves and goggles.
  • General exhaust provides the minimum ventilation needed for using bleach.
  • Do not use carbon arcs unless they are equipped with local exhaust ventilation exhausted to the outside.
  • Quartz mercury or metal halide lamps are safer.
  • Paint walls in the darkroom with a zinc oxide paint, which will absorb ultraviolet radiation.
  • When using the carbon arc, wear welding goggles with as dark a shade number as enables you to see. Wear gloves, goggles and plastic apron or laboratory coat when mixing hazardous chemicals.
  • Use an exhaust hood when mixing toxic powders.
  • Do not spray diazo photoemulsions without a local exhaust spray booth.
  • An eyewash fountain should be available. In case of splashes in the eyes rinse with water for at least 15-20 minutes and contact a physician.
  • Photoetching is usually done using the KPR products.
  • Photoresist dyes often contain a variety of highly toxic solvents, including ethylene glycol monomethyl ether acetate (2-ethoxyethyl acetate, cellosolve acetate), ethylene glycol monoethyl ether, and xylene, and benzaldehyde.
  • The developers contain xylene and ethylene glycol monomethyl ether acetate (2-methoxyethyl acetate or methyl cellosolve acetate).
  • Developers used for safer presensitized plates also contain solvents.
  • Exposure of the plate is done with ultraviolet sources such as carbon arcs, mercury lamps, or metal halide lamps.

Hazards

  • See the Solvents section for the hazards of various solvents.
  • In particular, methyl and ethyl ether acetates of ethylene glycol are highly toxic byskin absorption and inhalation and can cause anemia, kidney damage, testicular atrophy and sterility in men, and miscarriages and birth defects in pregnant women.
  • Xylene is toxic by skin absorption, and toxic by inhalation and ingestion. It is has narcotic effects upon rexposure.
  • The Photolithography section discusses carbon arc hazards.

Precautions

See Solvents section for precautions with solvents.

  • Pregnant or nursing women, children, and men trying to conceive should not work with these materials. Use photofloods or other light sources instead of carbon arcs.
  • Precautions with carbon arcs are discussed in the Photolithography section.
  • Use presensitized plates if possible.
  • Use photoresist solutions with local exhaust ventilation. Wear butyl rubber gloves when handling KPR solutions.

Rarer techniques include photogravure, using rosin and ammonium bichromate, and photoimage wood engraving.

Hazards

  • Photogravure uses an aquatint technique involving rosin dust or asphaltum. See Etching under Intaglio for hazards of rosin dust.
  • Potassium dichromate is used as a developing agent in photogravure.
  • Potassium dichromate may cause skinand nasal ulceration and allergic reactions, and is a suspect cancer-causing agent.
  • Photoimage wood engraving uses photoemulsions.

Precautions

  • Use sunlight, photofloods or other light sources instead of carbon arcs.
  • Wear gloves, goggles and protective apron when handling potassium dichromate.
  • Use exhaust ventilation to protect against toxic dust exposure when mixing powders.
  • An eyewash fountain should be available.
  • In case of splashes in the eyes rinse with water for at least 15-20 minutes and contact a physician.