Health and Safety for Potters

What is the course about?

This course gives you all the information you need to run a studio safely, and also how to evaluate how much truth there is in some of the claims on social media and elsewhere.

What will we cover?

You will learn about how to identify and resolve risks in the studio, through the whole making process from dealing with clay and other raw materials, through making and firing work to final packaging. You will understand how to identify any potentially harmful materials in the studio, and how to deal with them. You will also get to understand good working practice in the studio, as well as appropriate clothing and the use of PPE. You will also be shown resources that you can use to help decide whether something is a significant risk or not.

The course doesn’t deal with the specific legal responsibilities of having staff, or of running a teaching studio, though the health and safety aspects are covered.

What will I achieve?

By the end of this course you should be able to…

  • Identify hazards in your studio, and develop a method of resolving them. Be able to classify different levels of risk.
  • Understand the basics of how substances may enter into and be expelled from the body; chronic and acute exposure levels
  • Identify any potentially harmful substances in the studio, using the (M)SDS, information on my web site and other information sources
  • Understand the risks of dust (including silica and other materials); how to minimise the creation of dust; and how to manage it safely
  • Decide on appropriate clothing and PPE for different activities, and how to use the PPE correctly
  • Assess any physiological risks from lifting, wedging, throwing and other activities, and how to deal with them
  • Understand the risks from various methods of firing, and how to manage them
  • Be aware of the risks of machinery that may be used in the studio
  • Know how to dispose of studio waste safely, being aware of any environmental risks
  • Have a good overall understanding of good studio practice from a health and safety viewpoint

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Beginner to intermediate.

You should have some experience of making and firing pots in a pottery studio, whether yours or somebody else’s.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Primarily through the weekly online sessions, which are a lecture where you can also ask questions or get a discussion going. In addition, there is an online forum that you can use at any time during the course.

There will be suggestions of aspects of your studio to consider between sessions.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No advance preparation is needed. If there’s anything that is of particular interest or concern to you, email me before the start of the course and I’ll make sure it is covered.


15th February – 5th April
Eight weekly sessions
19:00 – 20:00 UK time

This course is now full – I’ll be repeating it in a few months’ time.


(Approx €90 or US$109)

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What you get

  • Eight hour-long live lectures with questions and discussions
  • Dedicated online forum for discussion by all students on the course, that I check at least once a day
  • Downloadable PDFs of all presentations
  • Recordings of all lectures for later viewing
  • Premium level access to the Tech part of my web site, containing much more information, references etc.

Note that the forum, lecture recordings and premium level site access are included at no cost until 4 weeks after the end of the course. After that, comtinued access is available for the cost of buying me a coffee every month (US$3 a month).

Feedback from the Product Safety Course

I found the course both informative and enjoyable. Tim has a wealth of knowledge and experience, and a natural ability to present a technical subject in a way that makes it accessible to non-specialist. Recommended!
I am happy to recommend Tim's online webinar on Product Safety as a great way to improve the quality of your pots. He covers all the aspects of making from design to clay bodies, glaze materials and firing schedules. Coming from an engineering and design background his approach is quite different to that of the average art college. Whether or not you have a scientific background, testing and experimenting will become a natural part of your designing and making. Ideal for potters producing functional pots ranging from domestic ware to garden pots, who aim to improve their product.
St. Albans