Studio Health and Safety for Potters

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What is the course about?

This course gives you all the information you need to run a studio safely, and also how to evaluate how much truth there is in some of the health and safety posts on social media and elsewhere.

What are the Dates?

20 January - 10 March 2022
Eight weekly sessions, every Thursday
19:00 – 20:30 UK time, but also recorded and put onto the course web page so you can view them at other times

What will we cover?

You will learn about how to identify and resolve risks in the studio, through the whole making process from dealing with clay and other raw materials, through making and firing work to final packaging. You will understand how to identify any potentially harmful materials in the studio, and how to deal with them. You will also get to understand good working practice in the studio, as well as appropriate clothing and the use of PPE. You will also be shown resources that you can use to help decide whether something is a significant risk or not.

The course doesn’t deal with the specific legal responsibilities of having staff, or of running a teaching studio, though the health and safety aspects are covered.

What will I achieve?

By the end of this course you should be able to…

  • Identify hazards in your studio, and develop a method of resolving them. Be able to classify different levels of risk.
  • Understand the basics of how substances may enter into and be expelled from the body; chronic and acute exposure levels
  • Identify any potentially harmful substances in the studio, using the (M)SDS, information on my web site and other information sources
  • Understand the risks of dust (including silica and other materials); how to minimise the creation of dust; and how to manage it safely
  • Decide on appropriate clothing and PPE for different activities, and how to use the PPE correctly
  • Assess any physiological risks from lifting, wedging, throwing and other activities, and how to deal with them
  • Understand the risks from various methods of firing, and how to manage them
  • Be aware of the risks of machinery that may be used in the studio
  • Know how to dispose of studio waste safely, being aware of any environmental risks
  • Have a good overall understanding of good studio practice from a health and safety viewpoint

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Beginner to intermediate.

You should have some experience of making and firing pots in a pottery studio, whether yours or somebody else’s.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course is primarily run through the weekly online sessions, which are a live lecture where you can also ask questions or get a discussion going. These are recorded and put on the course web page for those who cannot make the course times due to time zones or other commitments, or for those who want to replay them.

Additional material that you may wish to explore is on the course website. This will help you go deeper into the subject matter, should you wish to do so.

There will be four discussion periods during the course, where we can discuss any of the course material or any more general questions you may have. These will be at the end of selected sessions, and also will be set up for other days and times for those who cannot attend the live sessions, whether due to time zones or other commitments.

In addition, the course has an online forum that you can use at any time.

There will be suggestions for you to consider specific aspects of your studio between sessions.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No advance preparation is needed. If there’s anything that is of particular interest or concern to you, email me before the start of the course and I’ll make sure it is covered.

What do I get?

  • Eight live lectures with questions and discussions, lasting about 90 minutes each week
  • Recordings of all lectures for later viewing
  • Additional optional online course material, giving background info and greater depth
  • Four discussion periods - for students unable to attend the live sessions duplicate discussion sessions will be set up on times/days to suit the course participants
  • Dedicated online forum for discussion by all students on the course
  • Downloadable PDFs of all presentations
  • Premium level access to the Tech part of my web site, containing much more information, references etc.
  • Course completion certificate

Note that the forum, lecture recordings and premium level site access are included at no cost until 4 weeks after the end of the course. After that, continued access is available for the cost of buying me a coffee (US$3 a month).

Feedback from students

I am an amateur ceramicist with my own studio space in our garden shed. Without formal qualifications in ceramics I was a bit lost on how to deal with health and safety regulations and where to find them. This course was really useful and reassuring to me. The concise format and links to Tim's website provide an excellent source to turn to, and are based on proper official guidelines. Thank you Tim!

Well prepared, interesting and informative course.
London, UK

The course gives a good level of studio best practice, and health and safety, to those that have found ceramics later in life and haven't trained from a young age or worked as Technicians. The course covers everything that may not be found on standard pottery courses for those that want to think about setting up their own studio. Tim is clearly very knowledgeable, and happy to share that knowledge to keep potters safe!
Newcastle, UK