Plaster Room W890C - Safe Work Practice Manual


In addition to reading this SWP Manual, students are also required to read and acknowledge a studio-specific Hazard Assessment

Please Note: This SWP manual is not intended to provide detailed instruction of processes and techniques.  It is not a substitute for attending technical demonstrations and taking notes. 



  • Regularly review the Safe Work Practices Manual for each area you are working in - this is an important resource.  

  • In addition to reading the SWP Manual, students are required to read and acknowledge studio-specific Hazard Assessments and, if applicable, attend studio demonstrations. 

  • Know the material you are working with and read the SDS labels and information sheets to ascertain the proper safety precautions you should take.  

  • Wear the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment when working in the workshops. For example, you may need to wear a respirator and work in a ventilated environment based on the information provided with this material. 

  • All materials, supplies, and works in progress must be stored appropriately with the understanding that W840 supports all studio programs. 

  • If you are unsure about which tool to use or how to use it consult the safe work practice manual, a Technician, and your Instructor before starting. 

  • All placement of art outside the 8th floor 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. 

  • Do not use headphones or personal listening devices in the W840 workshops.  

  • Be aware of the impact of your work on the work of others in the workshops. 

  • Doors to studios must be kept closed- do not prop open. Do not give away the code to studio doors. 

  • All containers must be labeled, do not use food or drink containers for any controlled substances such as paint thinner, glue, patina solutions, etc.


  • Do not block fire exits and fire-fighting equipment.  

  • Keep aisles, walkways and stairs clear.  

  • Store materials in designated storage areas or in your locker or studio space. 

  • A clear uncluttered passageway must be maintained in storage areas; do not leave anything sticking out beyond the front edge of racks and shelving. 

  • Remove large projects immediately after they have been graded to open up space to make more work. 

  • All 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. 

  • Keep your studio facilities and classrooms clean and tidy.  

  • Respect your work and the work of others. 

  • Be aware of the impact of your work on the work of others in the workshops. 

  • Keep all disposal bins tidy with no projecting articles. 

  • Clean up spills immediately in order to avoid a slipping hazard. 

  • Clean and put away all tools and materials 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. 

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, and signing off on their understanding of the information before beginning work in the studio facilities. 

Once training requirements have been met Students have access to and are allowed to work in their Studio Classroom any time the University is open, as long as safety and working alone policies are followed (see page 9: Working Alone Policy).  

Students with training are permitted to work in the Sculpture Facilities (W840) according to the schedule which corresponds to the hours when Technicians are on duty. This schedule is posted on the Workshop doors. 

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 month, by the department Safety Representative. 
  4. Fire Extinguishers: located in every working area. 
  5. Safety Data Sheet binders: located in studios where the Department supplies controlled products to support instruction (see below) 

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 complete the WHMIS Online Training Course offered through OH&S on Moodle.  

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are provided in all studios for all controlled products supplied by the Department to support instruction. 

Controlled products for your personal use must also have appropriate WHMIS 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 (i.e. Turpenoid, Varsol) and the name of the user if appropriate, a statement of hazards should also be listed. 

  • 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 to 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/ Slurry Room 890A 

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 if it can be avoided. 

All work planned outside of times when Technicians are on shift 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.

The Working Alone Safety Login can be access through Uleth Safe app

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.


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

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 Protective 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.

  • CSA approved eye protection must be worn when working in W840 and elsewhere when the activity demands it. 

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • There are two common types of hearing protection: earplugs or earmuffs. 

  • One or both types must be used when working in W840 and W890B (grinding room) and at all times when equipment is operating. 

  • These studio workshops are high noise areas and hearing protection is a must even if you are not the one making the noise. 

  • 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 or W890

  • 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 most 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 such as cotton or wool. Synthetic fibers, such as spandex or polyester, melt onto the skin and can cause severe burns. 

  • Unlike in the woodshop, shirttails should not be tucked in when working with hot processes. Do not roll up sleeve 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 other 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.  

Care and Maintenance 8th Floor Exhibition Spaces

These spaces will operate on a one-week rotating schedule, and it is your responsibility to schedule your time in the 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 can. 

  • 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.

Plaster Room

  • Take precautions when working with plaster.  Prolonged exposure can cause skin irritation, eye irritation and respiratory irritation.   

  • As plaster sets it generates a great deal of heat.  Never encapsulate a limb or any body part in setting plaster.  This could result in severe burns. 

  • Apply a protective barrier cream such as Vaseline to your hands and lower arms before mixing plaster.   

  • Wear a dust a mask when mixing large amounts of plaster or sanding plaster.   

  • Wear eye protection when mixing large amounts of plaster or sanding plaster. 

  • For a full list of hazards and precautions associates with plaster please refer to the SDS. 

  • Organize your workspace.  Clean buckets and pails.  

  • DO NOT PUT PLASTER IN THE SINK OR DOWN THE DRAIN. Imagine that you are working in a waterless space. Use the minimum amount of water for clean up.  

  • Working with plaster is a very messy process.  Cleaning is a major part of this activity. Clean all buckets, mixers, tools, and work surfaces immediately after use. See proper cleaning instructions, below. 

  • Plaster must be prevented from contaminating ANY surface or tool used for ceramics, as plaster causes clay objects to explode when fired in the kiln. DO NOT allow any plaster to migrate out of the Plaster Room. 

Once you start to mix the plaster, you must stay with your task until it is completed. 

  • Use clean buckets and clean, cold, potable water. Apply a very thin layer of release agent to the bucket for easier cleaning. This can either be: soap, vaseline, spray oil, or silicone release. 

  • Fill bucket to no more than ½ full with cold water. Only mix as much plaster as you will need. Try to estimate the volume of water to fit your project.  

  • Sift plaster evenly across the whole surface of water. DO NOT STIR YET! 

  • Continue to evenly sift plaster into water until you have reached the saturation point. The point when the water has absorbed all the plaster.   

  • One way to tell is when dry plaster forms an island on the surface of the water that doesn’t quickly dissipate.  

  • Once the saturation point has been reached, mix the solution for approximately three minutes agitating plaster gently with fingers from the bottom of bucket, and working out any lumps. 

  • When mixing plaster, do not introduce air bubbles as these will show in the finished casting.   

  • Plaster will set within ten minutes when mixed with cold water. The setting process is a chemical reaction which causes heat.  

  • Do not use plaster directly against your skin as severe burns can result. 

  • If you are applying plaster to an armature, mix several small batches. (A quantity that you can easily use before it sets.) 

  • Clean liquid plaster by scraping it into a garbage bin. Allow small volumes of plaster to set in your bucket and clean out the bucket by gently bending plastic walls of the bucket.  


  • When finished: clean all work surfaces and floors, and clean and put away tools. Plaster left on tools will cause them to rust and loose their edge. Clean tools with a wire brush while plaster is still damp. 

  • Cement can cause ill health by skin contact, eye contact, or inhalation. Risk of injury depends on duration and level of exposure and individual sensitivity. Hazardous materials in wet concrete and mortar include: alkaline compounds such as lime (calcium oxide) that are corrosive to human tissue. 

  • Wear gloves and a dust mask when using cement.  Wear eye protection when mixing cement.   

  • For a full list of hazards and precautions associates with cement please refer to the SDS. 

  • Cement mixes can be made of a variety of ratios anywhere between 1 part cement to two parts aggregate and 1 part cement to 6 parts aggregate. 

  • An aggregate can be sand, sand & gravel, vermiculite, sawdust, or Styrofoam pellets.  

  • After all dry material is mixed thoroughly, create a bowl in the center of your material. Gradually add water and mix until your batch has the desired consistency. Generally water is very lean and should only migrate to the top of your mix when you pad the surface with your trowel. 

  • When applying cement to an armature you may want the mix a little stiffer, while a mix for casting may want to be a little more fluid. 

  • Do not use excessive amounts of water, as this will make the cement weak. 

  • As with plaster, try to do most of your clean up with little or no water. DO NOT PUT CEMENT IN THE SINK OR DOWN THE DRAIN. 

  • It is important that the object you are making stays damp during the curing process. If it dries out while curing it will crack.  Damp towels and plastic bags can be used to keep cement hydrated during curing process. 

  • Caution should be exercised when working with silicon caulking.  On the rare occasion individuals may experience skin irritation when exposed to silicon.   Ensure there is adequate ventilation and avoid prolonged exposure to silicon caulking.  Wear gloves or apply a barrier cream to hands and lower arms before handling.   

  • For a full list of hazards and precautions associates with silicon caulking please refer to the MSDS. 

  • Silicon caulking can be used to create silicon molds of objects.  This process requires the use of 100% clear silicon caulking, Silicon caulking with any type of additives (ie. High temp, or fast setting) will not work properly.  Latex or Acrylic caulking will not work for this process. 

  • Select a container which is large enough to fit your hands in.  Prepare a catalyzing bath with room temperature water and a very high concentration of liquid dish soap (Sunlight brand).  The approximate ratio is 2oz of dish soap to 60oz of water (approx. ¼ cup of soap to 2L water).  The glycerin in the soap accelerates the curing process of the silicon.   

  • Insert your tube of silicon in a caulking gun, cut tip off tube and puncture the foil seal.  Unload the entire tube of silicon into the catalyzing bath.  With the silicon submerged in the bath, gather all the strands and work it into a ball, kneed and stretch and massage the silicon for approximately 90 seconds.  It is possible to over wash the silicon if it is in the bath for longer than a few minutes. 

  • Apply soapy solution to the table surface where you are working; this will prevent the silicon from sticking to it. 

  • Apply a release agent (Vaseline) to your object if necessary.   

  • Encase your object in the washed silicon, creating a water tight seal around your object.   Ensure that the silicon is at least 1/2” thick around the entire object.  Continue to work silicon around abject as it starts to set and becomes less malleable.  Make an impression (about ¾” diam.) in the area where you intend the pour spout to be.  Continually applying soapy solution to the silicon will help maintain a smooth surface. 

  • Leave mold on an area of the table coated with soap solution for an hour to set. 

  • When the silicon mold is firm and no longer sticky to the touch it can be cut open and the object removed.  The mold should carefully be cut in a manner which will allow the object and subsequent casts to easily be removed.  Cut key patterns to allow the silicon mold to realign itself.   

  • Using stretch wrap, tightly bind the mold to insure that the casting material doesn’t leak.  Place mold upright in a small container while pouring casting material, such as plaster.  Agitate mold to relieve any air that might be trapped in the mold.  Allow casting material to set before de-molding. 

  • The Plaster Room is equipped with a down draft table which is designed to assist in the elimination of dust that is created during carving, sanding, grinding of plaster, cement or stone.  These processes create large amounts of dust and airborne particles. 

  • Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment must be worn when working on the downdraft table.  This includes a dust mask and eye protection. 

  • The down draft table is not to be used in conjunction with processes the emit fumes and gases.  Do not use when spraying aerosol paints, fixatives, stains,  paint thinner, varsol etc. 

  • Do not use with open flames, or processes that create sparks. 

  • When you’ve completed your task clean any dust and debris that has accumulated on the surface of the downdraft table.  Clean floor surrounding the down draft table. 

  • Common hand tools, which many people take for granted, frequently are the most abused. Misuse of hand tools can become a habit that will cause accidents. Some of the basic rules governing the use of hand tools are as follows: 

  • Use the right tool for a job. Never use a makeshift or improper fitting tool. Refuse to use tools that aren't in first class condition and report those that give you problems to your technician. 

  • Use only tools in good condition clean all grease and dirt off of tools. Do not use tools with improper handles, including those that are cracked, broken or loose. 

  • Hammers or chisels with mushroomed or broken heads should not be used. 

  • Keep keen-edged blades sharp; store them safely when not in use. Store them with the sharp edge protected. This will help avoid cuts, as well as protect the sharp edge. 

  • Do not use a hammer with a hardened face on highly tempered tools such as a drill, file, die or jig. Chips may fly. 

  • Never handle any tool in such a manner that you can be injured if it slips. Think about your movements and reposition your body so that it is behind the tool. 

  • Wear safety goggles when working with hand tools. You only get one pair of eyes. 

  • Don’t carry hand tools in a way that will interfere with using both hands when climbing a ladder. 

  • Tools should not be put down on scaffolding, overhead piping, on top of stepladders, or other locations from which they could fall on a person or onto equipment below. 

  • Choose the proper mallet! A wooden handled tool must be struck with a wood or composite mallet. Metal mallets will break the wooden chisels. Use a metal mallet for steel tools. 
  • Use sharp, flat tipped cold chisels or points when carving plaster or stone. Keep your chisels sharp and your tool handles ground smooth. No mushroomed heads. 
  • If you are carving with carbide tipped stone chisels use a composite mallet to strike carbide tipped chisels. A steel mallet will break the carbide tip. 
  • When carving you must wear: eye protection, hearing protection, and a dust mask.  
  • Have both hands on your tools, develop a rhythmic striking pattern using the shoulders to lift and drop the mallet. 
  • Keep your project from moving, brace with blocks, sand bags, or clamps. If material moves, you are wasting your energy. 
  • Work into the surface of your material, if you strike away from your stone pieces will break off. 
  • Do not extend your arms away from your body. Move your body to other side of work piece or rotate work piece so that your body is centered behind your tools and your arms are close to your body. 
  • Allow all chisels to come away from the material at the end of each stroke. Avoid burying chisels in material as you will either break your carving or break your chisel. 

Defective tools can cause serious and painful injuries. If a tool is defective in some way, DON’T USE IT. If the tool you are about to use doesn’t look or sound right, speak to a technician before you use it. 

Be aware of problems like: 

  • Chisels and wedges with mushroomed heads 
  • Split or cracked handles 
  • Chipped or broken drill bits 
  • Wrenches with worn out jaws 
  • Tools that are not complete, such as files without handles 

To ensure safe use of hand tools, remember: 

  • Never use a defective tool 
  • Double check all tools prior to use 
  • Ensure defective tools are repaired 

Air, gasoline or electric power tools require skill and complete attention of the part of the user, even when the equipment is in good condition. 

Watch for problems like: 

  • Broken or inoperative guards 
  • Insufficient or improper grounding due to damage on double insulated tools 
  • No ground wire (on plug) or cords of standard tools 
  • Tool blade is cracked
  • A guard that has been wedged back on a power saw may cause a kickback.  
  • The use of improper grinder wheels for the job  

If any tools are found to be defective take them to the Technician immediately for repair or replacement.