School operations

Safety – Visual and Performing Arts


The purpose of this policy is to ensure teaching environments and equipment are safe for use by employees and students.


  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)External Link requires the department to provide and a working environment that, so far as is reasonably practicable, is safe and without risk to health, including in relation to safety and performing arts teaching environments and the equipment used in those environments. This policy applies to environments and equipment associated with the teaching of visual arts (such as ceramics and photography) and performing arts (such as dance, drama and music).
  • The principal and/or their delegate must manage occupational health and safety risks associated with visual and performing art teaching environments and associated equipment.
  • Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, employees while at work must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and the safety of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions.
  • Central and regional offices provide a range of supports and services to assist principals and employees manage occupational health and safety risks, including access to the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Service and local occupational health and safety regional officers, who can provide free advice about managing the risks associated with visual and performing art environments and the equipment used in those environments.
  • The Safety – Visual and Performing Arts Procedure must be followed, and sets out the practical step-by-step instructions for implementing this policy.
  • This Policy forms part of the department’s Occupational Health and Safety Management System, refer to the Employee Health, Safety and Wellbeing – OHS Management System (OHSMS) for further information.


The principal and/or their delegate should in consultation with the health and safety representatives (HSR) and employees, ensure that:

  • the department’s pre-populated Art room inspection checklist (DOCX)External Link and other relevant workplace inspection checklists are reviewed and amended for relevancy to the area being inspected
  • inspections of the area(s) are completed once a term or as required
  • hazards identified during the workplace inspection are recorded in the Action Plan within the Inspection Checklist and in the ‘Hazard type’ column of OHS risk register (XLSX)External Link
  • the outcomes of the workplace inspections are communicated to all employees (for example, at a staff meeting or at a Health and Safety Committee meeting)
  • the risks associated with identified hazards are managed. These include:
    • chemical management
    • plant and equipment management
    • slips, trips and falls.

In defining and keeping the control measures up to date, principals and/or their delegate (in consultation with HSRs and relevant employees), must ensure:


Dangerous goods
Dangerous goods are substances that may present an immediate safety hazard through exposure to their:

  • explosive
  • flammable
  • radioactive
  • corrosive, or
  • toxic properties.

They are easily recognisable by the diamond shaped sign displayed on the substance label. They are designated into nine classes according to their immediate physical or chemical effects.

For further information, please refer to Guidance Sheet 2 — Dangerous Goods Classification System (DOCX)External Link .

Anything with the potential to cause harm, injury, illness, or loss.

Hazardous chemicals
Hazardous chemicals are classified based on their health effects, both short and long term. They can enter the human body through inhalation, ingestion and contact through the skin and mucous membranes such as the eyes. The level of subsequent risk depends upon both the substance itself and the nature of the work being done with it.

Examples of types of hazardous chemicals (depending on their concentration) include:

  • acids
  • caustic substances
  • disinfectants
  • epoxy glues
  • solvents and thinners.

Under the OHS Act 2004, 'plant' includes:

  • any machinery equipment, appliance, implement and tool
  • any component of any of those things
  • anything fitted, connected or related to any of those things.

Relevant legislation

Department policy on safety for students and staff when teaching Visual or Performing Arts

Reviewed 17 June 2024

Policy last updated

18 May 2022


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