Health & Safety: Health and Safety Technical Resources for the Conservator
Health & Safety Committee Conservation Wiki
Copyright: 2023. The Health & Safety Wiki pages are a publication of the Health & Safety Committee of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.
Disclaimer: Some of the information included on this page may be out of date, particularly with regard to toxicological data and regulatory standards.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.
Contributors to this page: Health & Safety Committee (Original Guide Authors); Kathy Makos; Kerith Koss Schrager; Anne Marigza
This resource originally appeared as a special Health & Safety Guide in AIC News
Health and Safety Technical Resources for the Conservator
Date: July 1998
Download the Original Guide Text
See a complete list of Health & Safety Guides
This Content was Last Updated: January 2019
See history of changes before 2018
Committee Intent To Provide Updated Resources To AIC Membership
The Health and Safety Committee has compiled resources related to regulatory, research, and toxicological information that we believe conservators will find useful in their work. While every effort will be made to update these listings as needed, the Committee cannot guarantee that every address published here will be accessible or current. Our intent is to make important health and safety information accessible to the entire AIC membership, giving individual conservators the tools by which they can begin to answer some of their own health and safety questions.
Professional/Standards/Reference Organizations INCLUDING Links to Consultants and Clinics[edit | edit source]
INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE, HEALTH PHYSICS AND OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE[edit | edit source]
AMERICAN BOARD OF INDUSTRIAL HYGIENISTS (ABIH)
Maintains listing of Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIH) and professional certification criteria.
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE (ACOEM)
Locations of occupational medical clinics and clinicians; information on accreditation and training requirements; publishes Journal of Occupational Medicineand other literature resources. See also Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics.
AMERICAN CONFERENCE OF GOVERNMENTAL INDUSTRIAL HYGIENISTS(ACGIH)
Major consensus-setting organization within the field of industrial hygiene and occupational/environmental safety and health. Source of annually updated recommended exposure guidelines for wide variety of chemical and physical agents (Threshold Limit Values TLVs). Publishes biological monitoring guidelines, reference materials, training aids.
AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE ASSOCIATION (AIHA)
Leading professional organization in industrial hygiene field; source of educational material, fact sheets, work practice recommendations and consultants.
ASSOCIATION OF OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CLINICS
Extensive listing of U.S. clinics by state; related research projects.
AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION (APHA)
Leading professional organization for all public health disciplines; includes an occupational health section.
HEALTH PHYSICS SOCIETY
Leading professional organization in the field of radiation health physics; administers certification program and maintains list of Certified Health Physicists (CHPs)
LASER INSTITUTE OF AMERICA
GENERAL SAFETY AND FIRE PROTECTION[edit | edit source]
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF SAFETY ENGINEERS
Leading professional organization in the occupational safety field; publications, training aids, technical assistance.
BOARD OF CERTIFIED SAFETY PROFESSIONALS
Maintains listing of Certified Safety Professionals (CSP & ASP) and establishes professional certification criteria.
INTERNATIONAL CODE COUNCIL (ICC)
Oriented to fire protection engineering; offers educational course, webinars; some on lab safety or flammable materials may be of interest to conservators.
NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION (NFPA)
Source of national fire codes and supplemental explanatory handbooks such as Flammable &Combustible Liquids Code Handbook, Fire Protection Handbook, and Fire Protection Guide on Hazardous Materials. Codes freely available on line at http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/free-access
NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL
Source of training and information on safety and health issues, including publications.
SOCIETY OF FIRE PROTECTION ENGINEERS
Professional organization with references to fire protection consultants and educational assistance.
UNIVERSITY WEB SITES[edit | edit source]
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
Occupational Safety https://ehs.msu.edu/occ/index.html
MSU Chemical Hygiene Plan https://ehs.msu.edu/lab-clinic/chem/index.html
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA DAVIS SAFETY SERVICES
Link to excellent safety manuals for all disciplines including lab safety.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA DAVIS SAFETY NETS LIST
Quick fact sheets on wide variety of safety, health, biosafety, fire protection, radiation, etc.
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
UIUC Research Safety general Page with valuable safety, health, biosafety, radiation, environmental guidelines http://www.drs.illinois.edu/
Lab Plans, Chemical Hygiene Plans http://www.drs.illinois.edu/Programs/PlanOverview/
UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY
RELATED STANDARD SETTING ORGANIZATIONS[edit | edit source]
AMERICAN NATIONAL STANDARDS INSTITUTE (ANSI)
Source of professional consensus standards often adopted into regulations. Excellent guidance in areas of respiratory protection and ventilation.
- ANSI/AIHA/ASSE Z9.5-2012 Laboratory Ventilation
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF HEATING, REFRIGERATING, AND AIR CONDITIONING ENGINEERS (ASHRAE)
Publishes variety of engineering consensus standards, including widely accepted performance standards for building and laboratory ventilation,and indoor air quality.
- ASHRAE 62 Ventilation for Acceptable Air Quality
Specialized Resources for Conservators and Collections Care Professionals[edit | edit source]
ARTS, CRAFTS, & THEATER SAFETY (ACTS)
181 Thompson St., No. 23
New York, NY 10012-2586
ATTN Monona Rossol
Health and safety data,lectures, and training related to museums and other cultural activities. Ms. Rossol serves as consultant to the AIC Health and Safety Committee.
Past issues of ACTS FACTS (>3 yrs) are now archived on CoOL
HEALTH IN THE ARTS PROGRAM
University of IL Chicago School of Public Health and NIOSH Great Lakes Center
ATTN. David Hinkamp, MD, Katherine Duvall, MD
The mission of the Health in the Arts Program is to diagnose,treat and prevent arts-related disorders among people working in all aspects of the arts including museums and galleries.
OSHA's FREE,confidential on-site consultation services to small businesses and organizations, including museums, galleries, conservation labs. http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION SAFETY MANUAL AND FIRE PROTECTION/LIFE SAFETY DESIGN MANUALS
US NATIONAL PARK SERVICE MUSEUM HANDBOOKS and CONSERV-O-GRAM SERIES
Hazard fact sheets and safe work practices, including pesticides and treatment safety.
U.S. Agencies (Regulations, Hazardous Substance Data, Training Controls)[edit | edit source]
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION (OSHA)
Consult website for locations of individual area offices and consultation offices; standards and standards interpretation.
Promulgates and enforces safety and health regulations for most businesses and industries in the United States. Maintains regional and area offices; many states also manage their own federally-approved occupational safety and health plan. Publishes helpful booklets summarizing standards.
OSHA's FREE, confidential on-site consultation services to small businesses and organizations, including museums, galleries, conservation labs. http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Office of Hazardous Materials Safety
Promulgates and enforces national transportation regulations,including shipment of hazardous materials.
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA)
http://www.epa.gov (Consult website for more hotlines on specific environmental topics)
IRIS-Integrated Risk Information System database on environmental and human toxicity of various chemicals.
Administers laws to control/reduce pollution of air, water, and land; regulates use and labeling of pesticides. Administered primarily at state level.
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE(GPO)
Source of government documents, at reasonable cost. Code of Federal Regulations (Daily Federal Registers) can be accessed online.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (DHHS)
Important DHHS agencies include:
1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- a. National Center for Environmental Health
- b. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
3. National Institutes of Health
- a. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
- b. National Toxicology Program (Report on Carcinogens)
- c. National Library of Medicine (TOXNET, IRIS)
These programs are described below, and can be accessed throughtheir individually listed websites, or through the DHHS Home Page (http://www.hhs.gov) Click on "About HHS" then [HHS Family of Agencies]
AGENCY FOR TOXIC SUBSTANCE AND DISEASE REGISTRY (ATSDR)
Agency helps prevent exposure to hazardous substances from waste sites on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Priorities List,and develops toxicological profiles of chemicals found at these sites. Factsheets on various substances.
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC)
Working with states and other partners, CDC provides a system of health surveillance to monitor and prevent disease outbreaks (including bioterrorism), implement disease prevention strategies, and maintain national health statistics.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Research on environmental public health issues.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH(NIOSH)
Conducts research and training in occupational safety and health issues; certifies respirators;issues health hazard alerts and other publications; conducts health hazard evaluations upon employer or employee request; maintains extensive databases.Funds Educational Research Centers located at many universities across the country, providing training courses and information to employees and employers.
Special Link to NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazard
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
The nation's medical research agency.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES
Information on adverse effects of environmental factors on human health. Administers the National Toxicology Program, and various databases.
Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) Free monthly journal of peer-reviewed research and news on the impact of the environment on human health.
NATIONAL TOXICOLOGY PROGRAM
Conducts long-term research studies on chemicals of concern; indicator of emerging hazard issues.
NTP 14th Report on Carcinogens
NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE
The Specialized Information Services Division is responsible for information resources and services in toxicology, environmental health,chemistry. Manages databases such as:
- TOXNET: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/toxnetfs.html,
- The Household Products Data Base: http://hpd.nlm.nih.gov/
- IRIS Integrated Risk Information System of the USEPA:
International Regulatory and Professional Organizations[edit | edit source]
CANADIAN CENTRE FOR OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Tripartite (government,industry, labor) organization for development and recommendation of safety andhealth standards for the workplace; resource organization for publications,fact sheets, training materials; information on occupational medical clinics,professional organizations, and standards throughout all provinces.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca Health Canada is responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health. It ensures that high-quality health services are accessible, and works to reduce health risks.
INSTITUTION OF OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH (UK)
World's largest health and safety organization, based in the UK.
INTERNATIONAL AGENCY FOR RESEARCH ON CANCER (IARC)
Agency of the World Health Organization; publishes international consensus documents evaluating hazardous substances relative to ability to cause cancer.
INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION (ILO)
Major international resource for research and technical assistance on issues of workplace safety and health. Edits and publishes the standard reference Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety.
INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF SAFETY AND HEALTH PRACTITIONER ORGANISATIONS
INTERNATIONAL OCCUPATIONAL HYGIENE ASSOCIATION
Professional organization representing industrial/occupational hygiene interests and resources world-wide; board member contacts from the following countries Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland,France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain,Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and US.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) Occupational Health Programme
Health and Safety Committee Suggested Readings[edit | edit source]
Health and Safety for Museum Professionals. 2011. C. A. Hawks, M. McCann, K. Makos, L. Goldberg, D. Hinkamp, D. Ertel Jr, P. Silence. Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections and the American Institute for Conservation, NY. Available on amazon and at University Products: http://www.universityproducts.com.
FIRE PREVENTION[edit | edit source]
National Fire Protection Association
Codes freely available on line at http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/free-access
Choose pertinent codes such as:
- NFPA 909 Code for Protection of Cultural Resource Properties-Museums, Libraries, and Places of Worship
- NFPA 914 Code for Fire Protection of Historic Structures
- NFPA 30 Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code
- NFPA 400 Hazardous Materials Code
- NFPA 45 Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals
Basic building codes and life safety information are in:
- NFPA 101 Life Safety Code
- International Building Code
Three important codes are published in an expanded and annotated handbook version:
- Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code Handbook, 2018 ed., NFPA
- National Electric Code & Handbook, 2017 ed., NFPA
- Life Safety Code Handbook, 2018 ed., NFPA
The Distilled Spirits Council of the US (www.distilledspirits.org) has some fire protection information which is of value to fluid collections care and storage design. The publication Recommended Fire Protection Practices for Distilled Spirits Beverage Facilities is sometimes referenced in fluid collection storage design.
GENERAL SAFETY[edit | edit source]
Accident Prevention Manual Collection. National Safety Council
Cornerstone basic reference texts on Administration and Programs, Engineering & Technology, Environment Management, and Security Management.
Occupational Health and Safety. 3rd ed., 2000. National Safety Council
Designed for those responsible for implementing safety programs but who have not been formally trained, and as guidance for corporate managers and human resource professionals.
Safeguarding Concepts, 7th ed., 2002. National Safety Council
Describes methods to protect operators and other employees from hazards inherent in operating machinery.
INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE/OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH[edit | edit source]
Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene, 6th ed. 2012. National Safety Council
Classic reference text on occupational health hazards, detection, and control.
The Occupational Environment: Its Evaluation, Control, and Management 3rd Ed (Vol 1&2)AIHA Press
Essential core reference for occupational health practitioners. Covers in depth IH/occ med science and technology.
NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards FREE ON LINE
Now also available as a mobile app: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/mobilepocketguide.html
ACGIH Threshold Limit Values and Biological Exposure Indices, Updated annually. ACGIH.
Primary source for TLVs and BEIs. Revised every year, based on the values and indices recommended by the major consensus-setting professional industrial hygiene organization.
Chemical Hazards of the Workplace, 5th ed. Hathaway & Proctor. 2004. Wiley.
Comprehensive reference on toxicology of over 600 substances.
Current Occupational and Environmental Medicine 5th ed., 2014. J. LaDou, R. Harrison. OEM Press. Comprehensive overview of all aspects of common occupational and environmental injury and disease.
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REFERENCES[edit | edit source]
Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 16th ed., 2016. John Wiley and Sons.
Brief description, properties,hazards, and uses of chemicals. Basic reference, applicable to every lab.
Sax's Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials, 12th ed., 2014. John Wiley and Sons.
Excellent source of information on chemical descriptions, hazards, standards, etc. Labs should at least identify an accessible library which has this expensive reference.
Hazardous Chemicals Desk Reference, 6th ed., R. Lewis, 2008. John Wiley and Sons.
Synopsis based on Sax's; comprehensive easy to read safety profiles of 5000+ chemicals.
Wiley's Guide to Chemical Incompatibilities, 3rd Ed., R. Pohanish, S. Greene, 2009. John Wiley & Sons.
Learn whether an agent is incompatible with common materials, chemicals, structural materials, PPE. Data on agent's ability to generate toxic gases, rupture containers, polymerize, detonate, form dangerous compounds.
LABORATORY SAFETY[edit | edit source]
See also: Set Up for a Safe Space: A Chemical Hygiene Plan http://www.conservation-wiki.com/wiki/HS_Set_Up_for_a_Safe_Space:_A_Chemical_Hygiene_Plan
Prudent Practices in the Laboratory Handling and Disposal of Chemicals. Revised edition. 2011. National Research Council, National Academy Press.
FREE ON LINE! http://dels.nas.edu/Report/Prudent-Practices-Laboratory-Handling/12654.
Completely revised and merged edition of the excellent Prudent Practices series on handling hazardous chemicals in labs and disposal of chemicals from laboratories.
Examples of Chemical Hygiene Plans and Lab Safety Guidelines that are available on-line.
- The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has posted model plans that are designed to serve as the basis for more detailed and specific plans within the University. These model plans are at: http://www.drs.illinois.edu/Programs/PlanOverview/
- UIUC Research Safety general Page with valuable safety, health, biosafety, radiation, environmental guidelines: http://www.drs.illinois.edu/
- National Institutes of Health, Chemical Hygiene Plan, 2018. 
- Michigan State University Chemical Hygiene Plan https://ehs.msu.edu/lab-clinic/chem/index.html
- Lawrence Berkeley National Lab ES&H Dept. Chemical Hygiene and Safety Plan
OSHA Laboratory Safety Guidance document https://www.osha.gov/Publications/laboratory/OSHA3404laboratory-safety-guidance.pdf
OSHA FactSheet: Laboratory Safety Chemical Hygiene Plan https://www.osha.gov/Publications/laboratory/OSHAfactsheet-laboratory-safety-chemical-hygiene-plan.pdf
The Laboratory Safety Institute's "Laboratory Safety Guidelines, Expanded Edition"
Builds on the classic Laboratory Safety Guidelines: 40 Suggestions for a Safer Lab.
CRC Handbook of Laboratory Safety. 5th ed. A. Keith Furr, ed., 808 pages. 2000. Published by CRC Press, FL.
Valuable information, classic text for any lab.
Guidelines for Laboratory Design: Health and Safety Considerations, 4th ed. 2013. Louis DiBerardinis, et al, John Wiley & Sons.
Important design guidelines.
Destruction of Hazardous Chemicals in the Laboratory, 3rd ed., G. Lunn, E. Sansone, 2013. John Wiley & Sons.
Practical methods for destruction of chemical and biochemical agents in the laboratory.
Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories 8th ed., 2017.
Primarily for chemistry students, it is a useful, compact overview that will benefit conservators also.
Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories 5th ed. National Institutes of Health
Bretherick's Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards 8th ed., 2017. Elsevier.
Approximately 7000 entries, especially concerns explosive or flammable interactions.
PESTICIDES AND FUMIGANTS[edit | edit source]
Hayes' Handbook of Pesticide Toxicology 3rd ed., 2010, R. Krieger, editor-in-chief, 2 vols., Academic Press.
Covers general principles of pesticide toxicology, effects of pesticide classes, and data on 256 compounds that have documented human effects.
Linnie, M.J. 1990. "Conservation Pest Control in Museums The Use of Chemicals and Associated Health Problems," International Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship 9 419-33.
Provides an overview to many of the chemicals currently used in museums and their documented health effects.
Rossol, M., and W.C. Jessup. 1996. "No Magic Bullets Ethical Considerations for Pest Management Strategies," International Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship 15 (2) 145-68.
This paper provides a cohesive and authoritative understanding of the ethical, legal, and regulatory aspects of pest management which must be considered when selecting treatments.
COLLECTIONS CARE / ART / CONSERVATION HAZARDS[edit | edit source]
ACTS FACTS. Arts, Crafts, and Theater Safety,.
A monthly newsletter updating health and safety regulations and research affecting the arts.
Available from ACTS, Attn M. Rossol, 181 Thompson St., #23, New York, NY 10012. $30/year for 12 issues.
Past issues of ACTS FACTS (>3 yrs) are now archived and made available through an agreement between ACTS and FAIC.
Arts Hazards News, Center for Safety in the Arts, New York. Vol. 1, no. 1-21, no. 3 (Oct. 1978-Sept. 1998.)
A newsletter that covered various topics related to health and safety in the arts.
The Artists Complete Health and Safety Guide, 3rd ed., 2001. Monona Rossol,Allworth Press, New York
A guide to safety and OSHA compliance for those using paints, pigments, dyes, metals, solvents, and other art and craft materials. Affordable, basic reference for conservators and artists.
Artist Beware, Updated and Revised: The Hazards in Working with All Art and Craft Materials and the Precuations Every Artist and Craftsperson Should Take, 2005, M. McCann, Lyons and Burford.
Classic reference for conservators and artists.
Contaminated Collections: Preservation, Access, and Use. Proceedings of a symposium held at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), Shepherdstown, West Virginia. April 6-9, 2001. Collection Forum, Vol 17 (1&2)
Health Hazards Manual for Artists, 6th ed. 2008. M. McCann, A. Babin. Globe Pequot Press.
Classic reference on health hazards faced by working artists and art students and ventilation, first aid and safety controls - from painting and photography to sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, woodworking, textiles, computer graphics and children's art.
Overexposure Health Hazards in Photography, 2nd ed., 1991, Susan D. Shaw and Monona Rossol, Allworth Press
Essential for those working with photo chemicals.
Safety in Museums and Galleries, Howie, F.M., ed., 1987, Butterworth and Co., Ltd.London.
Although out-of-print, this reference has useful information on hazards and precautions. While many of the chapters relate specifically to safety and health programs established under British laws for British museums, the general discussions of the variety of the hazards associated with museum work are useful for museums all over the world.
Fenn, J. 1987. "Danger in the Discovery Room," Museum Quarterly The Journal of the Ontario Museums Association 16 (2) 8-11, 26.
An excellent overview of specific collections-related health hazards for natural history museums.
Makos, K.A. and Skimina, M. "Hidden Hazards: Health and Safety in Museums and Galleries,"The Synergist, May 2016.
WORKPLACE CONTROLS[edit | edit source]
Ventilation: A Practical Guide for Artists, Craftspeople, and Others in the Arts 1987 Clark,Cutter, and McGrane, Lyons and Burford, NY. Available on Amazon.
An excellent guide to basic ventilation principles and step-by-step guidance for those who wish to evaluate, design, and build and adequate ventilation system.
ACGIH Industrial Ventilation A Manual of Recommended Practice for Design 29th or latest ed., 2016+, ACGIH
The definitive design source for ventilation systems; updated regularly, should be referenced in contract specifications for ventilation upgrades and installations.
Quick Selection Guide to Chemical Protective Clothing, 6th or latest ed., 2014, Forsberg et al. Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Excellent pocket-size reference of 15 common glove and suit materials and their suitability with 600 chemicals; details on breakthrough times and permeation rates.
ANSI/AIHA Standards related to health and safety hazard controls
A selection of titles can be previewed in the AIHA online shop in the Books>Controls section.
Guideline for the Development of Personal Protective Equipment Programs for Small Business OwnersAIHA Protective Clothing & Equipment Committee
Fundamentals of developing a PPE program, plus selection guidance for wide variety of workplace hazards.
The Noise Manual, Rev. 5th ed., 2003. AIHA Press
Noise generation, monitoring, controls for variety of workplace and office situations.
Recognition, Evaluation, and Control of Indoor Mold. 2008. B. Preszant et al. AIHA Press.
Extensive coverage of mold ID, testing, sources within building and work environment and control strategies.
Occupational Ergonomics: Theory and Applications, 2nd ed. 2012 A. Bhattacharya and J. McGlothlin
A Guide to Control of Laser Hazards. 1990. ACGIH Publications.
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