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Health & Safety Committee Conservation Wiki

The Health & Safety wiki pages are created and monitored by the members of the Health & Safety Committee of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Some of the information included on this wiki may be out of date, particularly with regard to toxicological data and regulatory standards. Also, because new information on safety issues is continually published, resources outside of AIC should be consulted for more specific information.

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About the Committee

The Health & Safety committee provides educational and technical information to the AIC membership to increase knowledge of safety hazards and general health issues related to the conservation profession. It provides information through lectures, workshops, displays, AIC's publications, AIC's website, and other electronic and print media. It also addresses health and safety issues of concern to the AIC membership by maintaining current information through research, by collaboration with health and safety professionals and with other health and safety organizations, and, periodically, by statistically valid surveys, the results of which will facilitate establishing priorities.

Members of the health and safety committee serve one four-year term with a possible renewal for a second term. The chair usually serves for two years, and the conservation student member serves for a single two-year term. The committee always includes one health and safety professional.

Have a question or concern about health and safety in your conservation work? Send it to the committee at [email protected]

Committee Publications & Activities

Disclaimer: Articles and guides are information purposes only. Some of the information may be out of date, particularly with regard to toxicological data and regulatory standards. More recent publications may include more up to date information, but there has been no attempt by the Committee to review and update previously published articles or to exhaustively catalog current legal requirements and standards applicable to the profession.

When using references from the publications listed, please use the most recently published articles on any particular topic. Also, because new information on safety issues is continually published, resources outside of AIC should be consulted for more specific information on toxicological data and regulatory standards. Many of the references listed in the links below as well as the Health and Safety Technical Resources for the Conservator guide can serve as resources for this type of information.

Respirator Fit Testing

Whether you are using hazardous chemicals in your laboratory or working with mold-infested artifacts after a flood, you need to be sure you are protected with a properly fitting respirator. Do the elastic straps still pull tightly? Do you need a new type or size due to facial changes resulting from weight gain or loss or surgery? Are you using the right kind of protection for your hazard?

OSHA requires individuals be fit tested on an ANNUAL basis to assess the condition of both the respirator and the user. If you perform work that requires the use of a respirator your employer MUST provide the appropriate respiratory protection, medical evaluation, training, information and fit testing–even disposable dust masks are considered by OSHA to be respirators requiring proper fit testing.

It is important to be proactive in your own health and safety and to follow OSHA recommendations and protocols, even if you are your only employee.

The AIC Fit Test Program is specifically designed for conservators, particularly those who are self-employed or who do not have a respiratory protection program provided through their employer.

Fit Testing at the Annual Meeting

The Health & Safety Committee offers low-cost respirator fit testing every year at the Annual Meeting. Fit testing requires attending a lecture on care and use of the respirator, a medical evaluation signed by a health care provider and a 15-20 minute fit test appointment performed by a safety specialist.

The AIC Fit Test Program has been revised for 2019 and now includes an online lecture and more medical evaluation options. For more information see

If you have already registered for a fit test for 2019, you will be contacted by the Health & Safety Committee to make the appropriate arrangements. If you have questions, please email [email protected] .

This form must be signed by a healthcare provider and returned to the fit test organizers before the test can be administered. It allows a physician or other licensed healthcare professional to indicate whether you are medically cleared to safely wear a respirator in the course of your work without disclosing confidential medical information. To be completed after medical evaluation to include review of the OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire (Mandatory) Appendix C of 29 CFR 1910.134 included in the OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire Infosheet (below).
This OSHA infosheet includes the questionnaire to be completed with a healthcare provider to determine whether you can safely wear a respirator for your tasks. Your healthcare provider can then complete AIC's Respirator Medical Clearance Approval Form (above) to be turned in prior to fit testing.
Health & Safety Committee document outlining use and selection of FFP respirators (commonly known as disposable dust masks)

Handouts, Charts, Brochures and Factsheets

AIC Health & Safety Committee Resources

Other Sources

GHS Secondary Labels

H&S Committee Label Templates:

Labels that are compliant with the Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication and will fit small, secondary containers.
Downloads are Word Templates for 1" x 2 3/8" labels (30/sheet).
Note: Some adjustment of margins may be needed for your printer

These labels may need be edited to reflect the safety information provided by the manufacturer of your specific chemical

Commercially Available Labels:

Health & Safety Guides

Beginning in 1998, the Health & Safety Committee of AIC prepared or commissioned special pull-out sections for AIC News. Those guides have been added to the wiki for commenting by site visitors and updates by the Health & Safety Committee.

List of Guides published in AIC News

UPDATED! Health and Safety in Emergency Response
UPDATED! A Conservator's Guide to Respiratory Protection
UPDATED! Health and Safety Technical Resources for the Conservator

AIC News Articles

Committee members, along with consulting safety and healthcare professionals, write brief articles and features that are published in each issue of AIC News on health and safety topics relevant to the conservation community.

List of Articles Published in AIC News

AIC News PPE Series

List of PPE Articles Published in AIC News

Health & Safety Blogs on Conservators Converse

Committee members and allied professionals periodically write blog posts on behalf of the Committee to make announcements and update the membership on timely health and safety issues. Topical posts are listed below:

Additional posts on health and safety topics are also written by the AIC membership.

Committee Member Presentations & Publications

AIC Annual Meeting

Other Committee Member Presentations & Publications

  • Conservation-Restoration and Health/Security of people and the environment Draguignan-Figanières (Provence/France) June 2013
    The AIC Health and Safety Committee: Health and Safety Initiatives and the American ConservatorPresented by Joanne Klaar Walker (Summary published in AIC News)

Membership Surveys

  • Health and Safety in Private Conservation Studios (March 2015)
  • Respirator Fit Test Survey (2016)
  • Portable Fume Extractor Survey (November 2016)
  • Conservator Access and Interpretation of Health & Safety Information (May 2017)
To provide better information to the AIC membership on health and safety concerns, the AIC Health & Safety Committee conducted a survey to research how conservators obtain health and safety information, and how that knowledge informs their treatment decisions. Respondents were instructed to answer as they actually practice (not as they thought they should). The preliminary results from 241 respondents are included. Additional analysis will be presented in future publications.
Preliminary Results

Personal Health & Safety

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for conservators refers to protective gear, garments or equipment used to protect the conservator from injury or exposure. PPE generally protects only the user and, therefore, should be used in conjunction with other health and safety measures to ensure a safe working environment.

Respiratory Protection

Skin Protection

Eye Protection

Hearing Protection

Disaster Protection

Working with Hazardous Collections Materials

Historic Building Hazards

The resources created on the Historic Building & Collections category page are a product of AIC's Health & Safety Committee, AIC's Collection Care Network (CCN), and other allied professionals. This page is intended as a portal to pull together information on hazards that may be commonly found in historic houses either as part of the building structure or collections contained within.

Setting up and Maintaining a Safe Conservation Lab

Hazard Communication

Work Practices


Regulatory Organizations and Standards

Hazardous Waste

Emergencies & Disasters


Numerous public health and safety resources exist to help private conservators and large facilities assess hazards and develop and implement health and safety protocols. These include easily accessible web-based information on toxicological data and regulatory standards, directories of professional organizations’ safety consultants, information on pro-bono services, links to occupational medical clinics, and specialized resources for conservators such as ACTS and Univ IL Health in the Arts Medical Program.

Health and Safety Technical Resources for the Conservator


ACTS FACTS, the monthly newsletter of Arts, Crafts, and Theater Safety (ACTS), has been publishing issues since 1987. Monona Rossol is the Editor of ACTS FACTS. ACTS has entered into an agreement with the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC) to make their newsletter archives available to the public.To protect the value of subscriptions, issues from the past three years are not posted. You may subscribe on the ACTS website, if you would like access to the most recent ACT FACTS newsletters.


Contribute to the Health & Safety Wiki

Please read the Getting Started section on the AIC wiki Main Page to become a wiki contributor and understand the AIC-CC User Guidelines.

Health & Safety Wiki Instructions and Basic Template
Health & Safety: Guide Template