Ringling College Facilities Safety Rules and Guidelines

Ringling College of Art and Design is committed to creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our faculty, students and staff. The following safety rules and procedures, as well as the College’s no smoking policy MUST be observed at all timesThe College’s policy meets the requirements of Federal, State, and local laws and regulations to secure the environmental health and safety concerns for the campus community, and applies to all faculty, staff, students and visitors and to all sites under the control of Ringling College of Art and Design. 

Please read all of the College's guidelines below.  On the first day of your class or workshop, you will be asked to initial that you have reviewed and agree to abide by these guidelines.


·       Students are expected to act responsibly, maintaining respect for faculty, peers, and equipment, while maintaining clean and operable studio spaces.

·       Food and beverages are not permitted in any studios or labs.

·       REPORT ALL EMERGENCIES to the instructor and the Office of Public Safety. Know where all exits are located. Know where the first aid kit is located. Know where the telephone is located and the campus emergency phone number: 941-359-7500. For medical and/or fire emergencies: PHONE 9-1-1 first, AND then notify the Office of Public Safety immediately.

·       CLOSED TOED SHOES must be worn at all times in the studios.

·       KNOW WHERE ALL FIRE EXTINGUISHERS ARE LOCATED and how to operate them. ALL exits to classrooms and buildings MUST BE KEPT CLEAR AND FREE OF CLUTTER.

·       Use personal protective equipment (gloves, goggles or ear protection when using loud equipment or machinery) as instructed and required.

·       Know where to find and how to work the emergency eyewashes and safety shower. Cut materials on approved cutting surfaces, using appropriate techniques.

·       Never work alone in a studio. No student may work in a studio during a class period other than the one in which he/she is enrolled. No student may work in a studio unless an instructor or studio monitor is present. Inform a Public Safety Officer if an unfamiliar person is in the studio.

·       If you do not know how to operate a piece of equipment DO NOT USE IT until you have received sufficient instruction.

·       NO HORSEPLAY and no running in the studios. No food or drink is allowed in classroom or studio areas. No alcohol or drug use before or during studio time is permitted. No weapons are allowed on campus, including firearms, swords, large knives, etc. or replicas thereof.

·       No loud music or use of headphones during class time is permitted.

·       NO OPEN FLAMES (candles, oil lamps, etc) or items containing flammable liquids or fumes are permitted in any studio or lab.

·       Report any problems with equipment or facilities to your instructor. If something breaks, keep any parts that may come loose or fall off. Do not attempt to make repairs yourself.

·       Clean up work areas, tables and floors at the end of each class. Use a razor scraper to remove unwanted materials and avoid the use of solvents for clean up. Where required due to materials usage, areas are to be cleaned with wet/mop or HEPA filter vacuum. Spills of any substances must be cleaned up immediately and materials are to be disposed of according to proper studio procedures.

·       All studio furniture and equipment must be maintained and arranged in workable order at the end of each class.

·       No artwork may interfere with the conduct of any class or studio.

·       Artwork must be removed at the end of each class period.


Read any materials safety data sheets (MSDS) that pertain to your course work and be familiar with the proper application of said materials and their dangers.

·       GAMSOL is the only approved solvent for use in Continuing Studies and Special Programs studios. Gamsol cannot be used inside the studios for washing or for thinning down paint. Either linseed oil or stand oil should be used for these purposes. Gamsol washes may be done outside the studio away from the building door and brought into the studio when completely dry. All solvent rags – including paper towels used with solvents – must be placed in rag containers immediately after use. Work areas and hands are to be washed with soap and water after using solvents.

·       NO lead-based products may be used in any facility at any time. Beware of using old oil paint that may be lead-based.

·       For classes utilizing chemicals, they must be properly labeled and stored. Students may NOT bring chemicals into a darkroom, classroom, or studio.

·       Use provided disposal containers for all used mat-cutter and Exacto knife blades. Do NOT put used blades in the trash and do NOT leave used blades lying around.


III-A: Digital Film and Photography Studios/Labs:

·       Turn off all lighting equipment if you must leave the shooting area for any reason.

·   Use a ladder when adjusting the height of lighting, backgrounds or props in   the studio. DO not use folding chairs or other furniture in place of a ladder.

III-B: Painting Studios:

·       Each student must bring an oil filled brush cleaning jar - any vegetable oil can be used for brush cleaning.

·       Spray fixatives should be used ONLY in the spray booths on the campus.

·       Acrylics or water-soluble oils may also be used for under-painting and washes and then painted over with traditional oil paints.­

·       The waste from brush cleaning jars for all painting media (acrylics, water soluble oils, traditional oils) must be properly disposed of in containers provided in the studio.

·       Under NO circumstances should paint be washed down the sink.

III-C: 3D, Printmaking, Woodworking and Sculpture Studios:

·       Never wear loosing clothing that might be caught in moving parts of equipment.

·       Long hair must be tied back or tucked under a close-fitting cap or scarf.

·       Rings, bracelets, necklaces and wristwatches should not be worn while operating any power tool or machinery/equipment.

·       Worktables and floors must be covered when working with paint, plaster, flux or other materials that may cause damage or create a mess.

·       No storage of projects or materials in the shop or studio is permitted.

·       Use of Power Tools

·       DO NOT USE A MACHINE without previous proper training.

·       Never leave a machine while it is running.

·       Never remove safety guards or other devices from a machine.

·       Use machines for bona fide operations only.

·       Do not adjust machines before they have come to a dead stop.

·       Vacuum equipment when performing work that creates dust.

·       While a machine is running, be alert to sounds, which indicate that it is not operating properly. If is doesn’t sound right, SHUT IF OFF and seek assistance from the instructor.

·       Use push blocks when making narrow cuts on power saws.

·       Do not distract attention of those using machines.

·       Abuse of a tool may result in the student replacing a tool or piece of equipment.

III-D: Ceramics Studio Rules and Guidelines:

Children are not allowed in the ceramics studio, glaze room or kiln yard at any time.


·       Read the material safety data sheets (MSDS) for hazardous materials that you use.

·       Learn your safe lifting limits and how to lift objects properly. This is particularly important with heavy objects (over 30 pounds). The lifting method most generally recommended is keeping your back straight and bending your knees to pick up an object, rather than keeping your knees straight and bending over to lift.

·       Wear special clothing in the studio, and remove them after work. Wash them frequently and separately from other clothing. If you mix glaze, it must be stored in plastic containers or buckets with lids.


It is important not to put clay down the sink drains. All scrap clay and slip should be deposited in the slip barrels. Please clean out the sinks after use.


When rolling out a slab, use a top and bottom cloth. Do not roll directly onto the slab bed, or you will not be able to pick up your slab. If you get clay on the edges and sides of the machine, be sure to clean it off. DON’T FORCE THE ROLLER! If it seems difficult to turn, notify your instructor.


Take care that any loose clothing, hair, etc. is not going to be caught by the roller, handle, or cables underneath.

Make sure the table and floor areas are clear of obstructions.


Please do not leave clay out on the wedging table. Keep it clear for others to use. When finished wedging, the table should be scraped clean with a spatula or other tool. Chunks of dry and hard clay picked up from the table during wedging will cause problems both in working with the clay and as it is drying.


Wheels and wheel parts, (especially moving parts), need to be carefully maintained to keep them in good working condition. If a wheel is not working properly, inform your instructor. Try not to let water overflow the wheel table when working. A wet floor is a safety hazard. (All spills should be sponged up immediately). The wheel head, splash pan, seat, and table of the wheel must be cleaned after every use.


Beginning students are provided with a range of stock glazes (raku, stoneware, and low fire), and mix glaze only under the direction of their instructor. Glaze chemicals are expensive and some are toxic and should, therefore, be used with discretion.

·       Wear a dust mask/respirator if dry mixing or measuring glaze chemicals. Cover all open cuts, especially on your hands, and wear rubber gloves when handling glaze materials. The area in which the chemical bins are located is reserved for dry mixing only.

·       No water or wet mixing is allowed on top of or around the chemical bins. A spill would ruin the chemicals stored there.

·       Keep all containers closed, even when working, to prevent escape of dusts, etc. into the air. Use a ventilation fan.

·       As with all dry materials, transfer powders which create dust with spoons, scoops, or similar implements. (Do not dump, since this creates a lot of dust in the air).

·       Scales and tools should be cleaned and returned to the tool cabinet. Sieves should be rinsed and returned to their proper place. Any dry spills should be sponged up and the counters wiped off after mixing.

·       Wash your hands carefully with soap and water after work, before eating and during work breaks. Never use solvents to clean your hands; if soap and water are not sufficient, use a waterless hand cleanser and then soap and water. 

·       *Keep your hands away from your mouth.


·       When glazing, please work on the table provided. Do not work on the chemical bin counter tops.

·       All glazes must be stirred well each time they are used. Rinse the stirring sticks between glazes.

·       Please be careful not to contaminate one glaze with another (for example, by pouring a glaze back into the wrong glaze bucket). If a glaze sees to be too thick or too thin, ask the advice of the instructor before attempting to adjust it.

·       All work that is to be glaze fired must be signed and must be completely cleaned of glaze on the bottom and up the sides from the bottom. Both wax emulsion and paraffin are provided to aid in the above requirement. When heating paraffin, do not turn the skillet above 250 degrees, and unplug after use. Wax is flammable and the fumes from burning wax are a health hazard.

·       Any work or possessions left out on the tables and counters will be disposed of. 

·       Glazed work should be placed on the appropriate ware cart to be fired. Carts are labeled according to type of fire, e.g. raku, stoneware, etc.


·       Beginning students will not be directly responsible for operation of the kilns. Classes will alternate in helping to load the kilns, keep the kiln log, unstuck the kiln and clean the kiln shelves. Your instructor will tell you the specifics needed in each case.

·       The kiln furniture (posts, shelves, etc.) is to be kept organized and well maintained. You are responsible for grinding off any glaze on shelves and for keeping shelves in operating order. Your instructor will show you how to operate the grinder for cleaning shelves and proper application of kiln wash.

·       Electric kilns are to be loaded carefully, being aware of the fragile nature of the soft bricks and elements. Make sure posts and shelves are clean. Kiln firing requires that someone be in charge at all times.


·       Wear proper protective clothing to protect against burns. (Ex. Raku: you would want to wear long sleeves, pants, and heavy leather gloves.)

·       Use proper equipment such as tongs or heavy gloves for handling hot objects.

·       Don’t stare into a hot kiln for extended periods of time. Wear protective eyewear when firing at higher temperatures.

·       Be careful not to arbitrarily grab or touch anything in the proximity of a firing kiln with bare hands. Whatever it is might be hot!!! Use gloves or tongs.

·       Keep the kiln yard and areas around the kilns free of obstacles and debris. Remove all material from the area where it may cause someone to trip and fall.

·       Make certain that all fires, coals, embers, etc. are out before you leave. If you are firing a gas kiln, make sure that the gas is off.


Ringling College of Art and Design is committed to providing a safe and healthful environment for its students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Research findings show that tobacco use in general, including smoking and breathing secondhand smoke, constitute a significant health hazard. In addition to causing direct health hazards, smoking contributes to institutional costs in other ways, including fire damage, cleaning and maintenance costs, and costs associated with employee absenteeism.

Ringling College of Art and Design therefore has set the following policy:

Smoking is prohibited on the Ringling College campus except in outdoor designated smoking areas. Smoking is also prohibited in all Ringling College vehicles including golf carts. For the purposes of this policy, smoking is defined as burning any type of tobacco product including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos and pipes. Smoking materials will not be sold or dispensed within any property owned, leased, or controlled by Ringling College.

This no-smoking policy applies to all persons including students, faculty, staff, visitors, contractors, subcontractors, and others on Ringling College property.  Designated smoking areas are identified by signage and contain receptacles for the proper disposal of cigarette butts. All students, faculty, staff, and visitors are expected to observe these designated smoking areas and to dispose of cigarette butts safely and only in the receptacles provided.