Whether or not you were lucky enough to have attended the luncheon on create safe and practical conservation studios, you will be happy to know that the entire PowerPoint is available on the Health & Safety site (http://www.conservation-us.org/publications-resources/health-safety/other-resources#.VV9GjU_Byyo). The presenters are architects and engineers with EwingCole, and were extremely generous in sharing their expertise. Having conducted numerous interviews with conservators in private practice (mostly paintings and paper), and toured many studios and labs, the presenters were able to provide specific examples of both challenges and solutions. The luncheon was divided into 2 sections, each with round table presentations followed by time for questions.
During the first section, the discussion focused on ways to identify and understand risks (probability and severity). Practical tips were provided to ensure safe storage for chemicals both at the work space and in cabinets. A broad discussion about workplace design started with information about different types of buildings, concerns about adjacent spaces, and the importance of accounting for all people who might be in a studio space (including children and pets). Fire prevention, detection, and suppression were covered. The section on ergonomics included a tip that I particularly appreciated – a board for step aerobics can provide adjustable heights for conservators working at tall tables.
The second section included information about air flow and exhaust. Since many conservators are concerned about the management of fumes, this generated a lively discussion with many questions. The PowerPoint includes a number of helpful charts, tables, and equations to help conservators determine the ventilation needs and capabilities of their spaces. Also included are case studies with practical solutions to ventilation needs, as well as links for helpful online resources.