General Studio Rules & Procedures

Please refer to the South Texas College Safety Plan for primary rules that supercede all other rules.

Multi-Hazard Emergency Operationis Plan

In addition to the South Texas College Safety Plan Rules, the following VAM Rules will be followed.

VAM Studio Rules & Procedures

The Safety Committee will review the Safety Plan at least once each year. The review will include, but not be limited to the use of all hazardous materials and chemicals.


Labeling: Introduction of new materials, storage, handling/use, waste.

Labeling of art materials is often inadequate. The absence of a warning label does not mean a substance is harmless. Know what you are working with.

  1. Students should read all labels carefully before using any material for the first time.
  2. Warnings and precautions, when available, should be adhered to strictly.
  3. If a label is non-specific, confusing, or absent, seek further information before using.
  4. If no information is available from the manufacturer consult other resources such as material data sheets on file in department offices, Art Hazards News, Artist Beware, by Michael McCann, Health Hazards Manual for Artists, also by McCann, Artists Materials, by Ralph Mayer, etc.
  5. If necessary, write the manufacturer requesting health and safety information on their product in the form of a Material Safety Data Sheet (see Forms).
  6. All artists should become familiar with the hazardous materials common to their form of artwork and watch for these substances when reading labels.

AP non-toxic seal

Products bearing the AP seal of the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) are certified non-toxic. A medical expert evaluates each product and its ingredients. A product can be certified non-toxic only if it contains no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious to humans, or to cause acute or chronic health problems. AP certification is reviewed by ACMI's Toxicological Advisory Board. These products are certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D-4236 and federal law P.L. 100-695.

CL seal - caution label

Products bearing the CL seal of the Art & Creative Materials Institute ("Caution Label") contain ingredients that are toxic or hazardous, but they can be used safely with appropriate caution. Materials that bear the CL seal should be used only by those persons who are able to read, understand, and follow suggested safety precautions for handling those materials. The Caution Label signifies that although the product contains a toxic element, it can be handled safely if the directions on the container or packaging are followed. Many such art products cannot be made non-hazardous, but are necessary for certain creative activities. When used in properly supervised and controlled conditions, they can be enjoyed with complete safety.

Introduction of New Materials

  1. ALL new chemicals introduced into the studios must be reported immediately via email to the supervisor for each studio. Include the MSDS, date introduced, amount and exact location.
  2. New products and/or practices which faculty or students wish to introduce into their studios must be researched before doing so. Again, use the Material Safety Data Sheets, and request manufacturer information if necessary.

Storage of Materials

  1. All hazardous materials must be stored in containers that are labeled clearly with all contents listed.
  2. Containers should be tightly covered when not in use.
  3. Flammable and combustible liquids should be stored in an approved flammable liquid storage cabinet.
  4. Acids should be stored separate from flammable and combustible liquids.

Handling, Use, Disposal of Materials

  1. All students must be given detailed instructions on the handling, use, and disposal of all materials that pose potential health hazards
  2. Paper towels and rags used in cleanup must be disposed of in metal non-combustible waste disposal cans.
  3. Waste disposal cans should be labeled as such, and be taken to designated pickup areas in compliance with department rules and schedules. For a complete review of waste issues and procedures (See General Waste).
  4. Report spills immediately to faculty, building coordinator, administration, safety office, or campus security officer.

Studio Operational Procedures and Rules

  1. Smoking, eating, drug or alcohol use is not allowed in studios.
  2. Students should not work alone in the studios at night, and students should not operate machinery at any time unless one other trained person is present in the studio.
  3. Work clothing:
    1. Any loose clothing that could become trapped in machinery or accidentally dipped in chemicals must not be worn.
    2. Hair must be tied back or a headband worn so that it cannot become caught in machinery. Similar precautions must be taken with beards, personal dress, and adornments.
    3. Protective clothing worn during the use of hazardous material should be removed after work and carefully stored so as to avoid contamination.
    4. Shoes must be worn at all times in the studios.
  4. There shall be no unauthorized visitors in the studios. Friends, family, pets, etc. can see you or talk with you outside the studio.
  5. Aisles and exit routes must not be obstructed in any way, (no equipment, chairs, personal materials or trash permitted in exit area). Exit doors, shall not be locked, bolted or obstructed in any way to block egress. Emergency Fire Exit doors are "exit only" in compliance with Fire Department regulations.
  6. Studio doors (internal and external) are not to be propped open as it creates a hazard to other rooms and interferes with the ventilation.
  7. Electrical and mechanical hazards: Report any missing or malfunctioning equipment or supplies immediately. Do not attempt to repair or alter equipment yourself.
  8. A general program must be initiated and enforced by faculty within each studio space which outlines procedures for housekeeping, and which sets standards for cleanliness, equipment use and storage of all materials and gear.
  9. Faculty are responsible for establishing within their studios specific safety codes for their areas, and a policy for violations of these procedures. Students must be made aware of the consequences of health and safety violations at the beginning of the semester.

Fire Prevention

  1. Be aware of ignition sources: open flames, heating elements, spark gaps (motors, light switches, friction, static, etc.)
  2. Do not use flammable liquids in the presence of ignition sources, and vice versa.
  3. Flammable liquids give off vapors which may burn or explode. Be sure they are properly stored and labeled. Do not store flammables in direct sunlight. Report spills immediately.
  4. Good housekeeping is a key element in fire prevention, and proper standards must be enforced in each studio. (See Housekeeping).
  5. Do not overload electrical circuits, and report ANY electrical malfunctions, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, immediately to faculty, building coordinator, administration, safety office, or campus security officer.

Safety & Health Procedures & Rules

  1. All studios shall keep appropriate First Aid equipment and supplies on hand, and replenish such supplies at the beginning of each semester.
  2. Students shall wear hearing, eye, face, and personal protective equipment whenever deemed appropriate by the department.
    1. Housekeeping: procedures for cleaning of all studio spaces, storage of chemicals, waste and equipment will be established by faculty, and must be carried out on a regular basis to ensure a safe environment. (see Housekeeping)
  3. Emergency and Fire procedures and phone numbers for both emergency and non-emergency situations:
    1. In the event of an emergency:
      • CALL: City Fire, Police or Ambulance dial 911 .
      • Non-emergency, contact; Security Department Dispatch Office at 956-872-2589..
    2. In the event of fire: sound the alarm, contain or fight the fire only if possible and practical to do so, evacuate yourself and others from the building.
    3. In the event that a non-emergency situation arises which nevertheless requires First Aid, call the STC Security Office at ext. 2589 for assistance. First aid boxes are available in every department for immediate treatment of minor injuries.
    4. All accidents, including those which result in injuries requiring only First Aid or those which only involve property damage shall be reported to faculty members in each studio verbally as well as using the Incident & Accident Form (see Forms).
    5. Any illness or physical impairment which may be related to your artwork (e.g. skin problem, headaches, nausea, etc.) shall be reported to your studio faculty member immediately.
    6. Post "Fire and Accident Procedures," (from STC Safety Plan) in a prominent place in each studio.
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