Health and safety guidance for school art departments

In art, safety is about more than rules and regulations. It is the responsibility of teachers to know and point out potential hazards and ensure precautions are observed. A part of a child's education should involve safe practice when using materials. Good practice is safe practice. It is a teacher's responsibility to ensure that children act safely.

We strongly recommend the Guide to safe practice in art and design from the National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD).

Products bought from educational suppliers for educational purposes are generally approved for school use and often come with health and safety guidance.

To view some of the following resources, you might need to log into Hantsnet Anywhere or the Children's Services Intranet.


Health and safety in art, craft and design for primary schools: handy hints – Includes guidance and tips to help you manage risks when delivering art, craft and design in primary schools.

Safe use of electric kilns in craft and education – Health and Safety Executive

Risk assessment

A risk assessment for technical work, such as electrical work, mechanical work, storage and handling, should be completed and up to date.

Risk assessment templates

Many model risk assessment templates to meet the everyday needs of everyone, line managers and staff, can be found on the Schools health and safety Shared Services Portal.

The Premises/Workplace template replaces the general classroom/art classroom template.

A control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH) risk assessment form should be completed when work with hazardous substances has been identified in your general or art classroom risk assessment, such as work with plaster of paris. The form should be used in conjunction with the manufacturer's safety data sheet for the product to help in identifying the things that can go wrong when using the material, and the types of things you can do to prevent or reduce them. This must be done by a competent person who has undertaken the COSHH Assessor Course.

Monitoring sheet for conducting an audit of health and safety in art and design – All secondary schools should complete this health and safety monitoring form and review it annually. Hampshire County Council will monitor schools each year randomly and would like to see the art risk assessment and monitoring forms.

Where additional or specific health and safety advice and support is required, contact the Children's Services Health and Safety Team.

COSHH risk assessments and data sheets

Using chemicals and other hazardous substances can put people's health at risk. The COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations require exposure to hazardous substances to be controlled to prevent ill health. These hazardous substances include:

  • substances used directly in workplace activities in schools, such as glues or cleaning agents
  • substances generated during activities, such as fumes from glue guns
  • naturally occurring substances, such as dust
  • biological agents, such as bacteria and other micro organisms

To comply with COSHH regulations and Hampshire County Council's corporate policy, managers and staff in workplaces and schools have a statutory obligation to:

  • identify hazardous substances used
  • assess the risks to health
  • implement measures to prevent or control exposure
  • ensure control measures are used and maintained

Every school should have someone who is COSHH assessor trained. Information about courses can be found on LMS. They must complete a COSHH risk assessment form when work with hazardous substances has been identified in your general or art classroom risk assessment.

All COSHH assessments should have a data sheet attached, available from manufacturers.

The safety data sheet is the manufacturer's advice about dangers and recommendations for a product. These generally are provided for products that have risk ratings or safety ratings such as flammable liquids or gases and powders or dust which are classified as irritants.

If the product was purchased from County Supplies, COSHH data sheets can be obtained by searching the online catalogue. If you enter the product you require a COSHH sheet for, click on the item, select more detail, and then click on the COSHH button.

Alternatively, contact County Supplies: