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Be careful!

Safety at the Eliot School is of paramount importance.

We make every attempt to maintain a safe environment. Please let us know if you see anything unsafe, and we will take immediate action to fix it.

Final responsibility rests with each individual using tools, materials and machines. Please read relevant information below before you come to class.

We reserve the right to ask any student to leave if proper safety procedures are not observed.

Helping to Prevent Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As always, safety is our top priority, and we depend on your cooperation and participation. At this point our doors are open as we continue to care deeply about the wellbeing of all who call the Eliot School home.

The Massachusetts Public Health Dept. reports that there is currently a low risk of infection in Massachusetts, although certain people would be more vulnerable than others.

What we are doing:

  • We will continue to monitor health authorities’ official guidance.
  • We will continue to post relevant information on this page.
  • We ask all staff, faculty and students to stay home if they present symptoms.
  • We are posting instructional signs next to every sink.
  • We have ordered dispensers for sanitizing gel at each sink, and wipes in each classroom.
  • We are tasking staff and volunteers to regularly wipe down doorknobs and common areas.
  • Our Registrar and other staff are available to replenish supplies upon request.

How you can help:

Your responsible cooperation is key. Please help prevent possible spread of disease.

  • Stay home if you’re sick, and take care. Seek medical help if you present symptoms.
  • Wash your hands when you arrive at the school.
  • If you are a woodworker, we encourage you to bring your own eye and ear protection.
  • If you do use our shared face shields, goggles or ear sets, please take a minute at the end of class to wipe their surfaces so they will be clean and safe for the next user.
  • If you are the parent of a young woodworker, we encourage you to send your child with their own goggles.
  • Follow Mass. Dept of Public Health guidelines on how to prevent transmission.
  • If you have traveled from Italy, Iran, South Korea and China, public health authorities ask that you stay home for 14 days upon returning to the US. 

If you have any questions about your registration for Eliot School classes, you can reach our Registrar. If you have trouble getting through, please contact our Program Director.

Please contact Executive Director Abigail Norman if you have additional concerns or ideas.


Safety for All Classes

  • Never eat or drink while working. Sawdust, solvents, glues, pastel dust, pigments and other artists' materials can all contaminate food. Keep food and drink covered, out of all work areas and off of any machine.

  • Always wash hands after working.

  • If you are sick, stay home from class. Come back when you’re well.

  • If you are pregnant, contemplating pregnancy, or have a pre-existing medical condition, check with your doctor, as some materials may contain hazardous ingredients.

  • After working, clean up all staples, nails, tacks, blades, solvents and solvent-soaked rags from surfaces and surrounding floor areas.


Wood Shop Safety

  • Familiarize yourself with the First Aid Kit on the wall near the sink.

  • Never use power tools when alone in the shop.

  • If uncertain of how to use a tool, ask a teacher to spot you until you are completely confident in its use.

  • Machines are for designated uses only. Do not use machines as work surfaces.

  • Nothing should hang down near machines. Tie hair back and up. No neckties, scarves or dangling jewelry.

  • No open-toe shoes or foot gloves.

  • Wear goggles when using any power tool, chisel or saw. Read more about eye safety here.

  • Ear protection is recommended, especially for those with sensitive ears. However, make sure you can hear teachers’ instructions and sounds that may cue danger. Read more about ear protection here.

  • When sanding or working with powders or dust-producing materials, always use an OSHA-approved particle mask and make sure the air filter in the shop is turned on.

  • When using solvents or volatile compounds, turn on ventilation fans.

  • Keep food and drink covered and out of work areas. Never eat or drink while working.

  • Keep drink containers off machine surfaces. Moisture can damage and even destroy surfaces and internal workings, especially the table saws.

  • Clean up all staples, nails and tacks after working.

  • Our table saws all employ SawStop technology. Nevertheless, utmost caution is required with these, as with all power tools.

  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) contain information on ingredients and hazards of each particular product. Scroll to the bottom of this page for MSDS resources.


Art Materials & Solvents

  • Before using materials, read content and ingredient lists on all labels. Be informed about what you are using. Pay particular attention to pigments, solvents, fixatives, Volatile Organic Compounds and airborne particles.

  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) contain information on ingredients and hazards of each particular product. Scroll to the bottom of this page for MSDS resources.

  • Follow directions on labels. When the label says to use adequate ventilation, do so. Pay particular attention to skin and eye protection. Wear safety glasses and gloves when appropriate.

  • When sanding or working with powders or dust-producing materials, always use an OSHA-approved particle mask.


Further Reading


Material Safety Data Sheets detail toxicity of materials. MSDS and related resources available online include: