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Image Arts Health and Safety

Equipment Hazards
WHMIS Training for Image Arts
General Studio Guidelines

Equipment Hazards

It is mandatory that you attend all in-class workshops offering training on equipment that you will need to complete your course work, both for safety reasons and in order to have clearance to sign out that equipment. If you damage IMA equipment, you are responsible for the cost of repairs or replacement and you will lose your access privileges until payment is received.

Your instructor is responsible for providing specific training on the hazardous materials and/or processes that you are required to use in a course. Training is crucial, you or someone else could be seriously injured if used improperly. This includes procedures for the safe use, storage, handling and disposal of these hazardous materials and the procedures to follow in case of an emergency involving these materials.

WHMIS Training for Image Arts

All Image Arts Students are required to have Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training and provide a copy of their Ryerson University WHMIS Quiz Certificate to the Cage in order to gain access to the Image Art's facilities and equipment. The following will be covered:

·       WHMIS legislation

·       Hazard Classifications and Symbols

·       Supplier and workplace labels

·       Safety Data Sheets

To take the training and quiz you must have a Ryerson User Name, Password and go to the whmis website - available here

Scroll to the bottom of the page to log-in to Mandatory WHMIS, and follow instructions under General WHMIS for Undergraduate Students (non-employees).

Your certificate will be valid until you graduate from Image Arts.


Many of Image Arts programs are studio based and you may be working with various substances, such as photographic chemistry, that may be hazardous if not used properly. It is your responsibility to keep your work environment safe for you and your fellow students. Keep your work area clean and organized to reduce accidental spills or splashes. Nitrile gloves are available free of charge at the Cage when needed. Darkrooms are equipped with eye wash stations and instructions for what to do if either you or someone else is splashed.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

All chemicals brought into the school must include a valid SDS to be provided to the Health and Safety Officer for inclusion into the SDS directory. Speak to Darren Cerkownyk at for any questions about chemistry or SDS’s.

If chemicals or bottles are not labelled correctly or do not have a valid SDS in the database, a fine will be imposed and access suspended. All chemicals that you use or mix MUST be stored in appropriate containers and MUST be properly labelled with the following:

  1. Material name
  2. Ingredient amounts or %
  3. Student's or instructor's name
  4. Date made or in use
  5. Safe handling procedures - e.g. If you need to wear gloves or use a mask when working with the chemical.
  6. Ingredients - (If the solution or mixture has more than one Safety Data Sheet (SDS), see below) list the ingredients and the percentage of each ingredient in the solution or mixture.

First Aid

Technical staff are trained and certified in First Aid/CPR. First Aid kits are located in the Equipment Cage (B-018), Darkrooms (IMA 123, B03, B08), MFA labs (B22/23), FPPCM lab (B02), First Floor (IMA 121, IMA 122), Photo Studio (IMA 210), Meeting Room (IMA 232), PIC (IMA 233), Sound Stage (IMA 301), Workshop (IMA 305), Design Room (IMA 321), Production Studio (IMA 322), Film Lab (IMA 327), Operations Manager (IMA 205).

Safe Studio Guidelines

General Studio Guidelines

  • No food or drink in any studio areas.
  • Never attempt to use any equipment you have not been instructed on or are unfamiliar with.
  • Wear personal protective equipment where necessary and appropriate clothing and footwear.
  • Always inspect all equipment for damage before using.
  • Report any damaged or broken equipment immediately to a technician or to the cage. Do not attempt to repair equipment yourself. 
  • Spray painting can only be done in the The Creative School Open Space spray booth, 1st floor.
  • No sanding with power tools except in the Workshop and The Creative School Open Space.
  • Know where the machine emergency shut-off is located for all processors and shop equipment.  Use the shut-off immediately if you suspect a problem, and then have a technician check the situation. 
  • Read the WHMIS label and SDS for any chemical you are using and make sure you take precautions to protect yourself and those around you.
  • Keep your work area clean – keep dust, dirt, scents and materials that might react when mixed to a minimum. Clean up when you leave and take all personal belongings with you.
  • Clean up all paint/chemical spills and splashes – even small ones
  • Do not rush or run in studios – do not work when you are overtired and hungry.
  • If you don’t know – ASK

The Photo Studio (IMA 210), Sound Stage(IMA 301),Production Studios (IMA 322)

  • Do not work alone.
  • Appropriate clothing and footwear must be worn (no open-toed shoes).
  • No water, open flames, toxic substances or dangerous materials are allowed.
  • Use of a fog machine must be authorized by your instructor and the Operations Manager.  
  • Children and animals are allowed in the studio as models only if they are supervised at all times by a caregiver other than the photographer, as per the IMA Policy.
  • Use available ladders when installing or hanging work. Do not stand on chairs, stools or tables.
  • Move flats with caution using the ends and near the bottom – they are top heavy and very prone to tipping over if pushed from the back.
  • Sandbag all lights and booms that will be extended above 5’.
  • Ensure lights and booms are completely lowered when moving. Watch your fingers - do not hold onto the inner extension pole of stands
  • Never sit or place heavy objects on Studio product tables, do not place studio ‘hot’ lights underneath and do not change angle of the rear panel on Product Tables
  • Do not hang anything from overhead pipes
  • Note the difference between the "hot" lights and the "cool" lights such as Kino Flo - VistaBeam lights. Use heavy work gloves when redirecting the ‘hot’ lights and do not use tape of any kind.
  • Do not place the lights near flammable material or plastic
  • Use extension cords and avoid tripping hazards. There should not be any tension on electrical cords or plugs.
  • Roll up all cables and cords when finished and remove all tape from equipment

Sound Stage (IMA 301) – additional safety precautions

  • Proper use of the scaffold (outriggers, brakes and safety harness) must be understood and strictly adhered to and can only be used following training.
  • Flats / set pieces must be securely attached and braced with jacks and sandbags.
  • Knowledge of the safe and proper use of the grid is required.  Never stand below the moveable grid as it is being raised or lowered.  Safety chains must be used to secure lights hung from the grid.  Barn doors must also be attached to the grid or the light.
  • A basic understanding of electrical power and the dangers of equipment misuse is required - breakers, lights, electrical distribution boxes, etc.
  • Knowledge of grip equipment is required before use.
  • The Skyjack lift may only be operated by individuals trained and certified on this equipment.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear (ie. no open-toed shoes).

Darkrooms and other areas where using chemicals

  • Know your chemicals and how to use safely.
  • Wear personal protective equipment and appropriate clothing and footwear, ie. goggles, gloves, no open-toed shoes).
  • Never leave water running unattended
  • Know where the Eye Wash Station is and how to use it
  • Coordinate the disposal of chemicals with technical staff
  • No headphones – you need to be able to hear what is going on around you
  • Clean up all spills immediately

Print Finishing Room (Basement above PIT)

  • Know how to safely use matte cutters, paper trimmers and heat presses
  • Do not throw discarded blades in the garbage - place them in the designated container


General Precautions


  • For life threatening emergencies, dial “911
  • If you call ‘911’ give them your exact location in IMA if possible. They will contact Ryerson Security to direct emergency vehicles to the scene.
  • For non-life threatening situations, call Ryerson Security: 416.979.5040 on cell phones or external lines. They will come immediately. The Security office is on the main floor of the Victoria building, on the west side of IMA.
  • St. Michaels Hospital Emergency is 2 blocks south to Shuter and then one block west (right), corner of Shuter & Victoria St.

Fire Safety

If you see, smell, or hear a fire:

  •       Pull the closest fire alarm.
  •       Dial “911” from a safe location
  •       Close all doors.
  •       Ensure doors and exits are clear, do not block doors.
  •       Exit by stairwells; do not use elevators.
  •       Leave the building immediately by the nearest safe exit.
  •       Assist people with disabilities or children, as required.
  •       Wait outside the building as directed by Security or the Fire Wardens.

Personal Safety

A downtown campus such as Ryerson does tend to attract the occasional wanderer to its buildings in spite of regular checks by Campus Security. Keep these tips in mind when working in the building during irregular hours:

  • Whenever possible, do not work alone. Inform technical staff if you are alone or in an isolated area.
  • Notify any IMA staff or call Campus Security if you see someone suspicious in the building.
  • Know where the blue Emergency Pull Stations are. These are a direct link to Campus Security.
  • Use your common sense. If someone who doesn’t appear to belong in the building asks for your help, refer the person to any staff, Reception, or Security.

Walk Safe Program

This service provides Ryerson's community with a protected escort by security officers or supervisors 24 hours a day to any location on the Ryerson campus, to the Dundas subway or to a number of parking lots off campus. To request an escort, call security at 416-979-5040 or ext.5040 from any internal phone. 


Theft of personal or borrowed school property has unfortunately been known to happen. DO NOT leave your belongings unattended at any time anywhere in the building or campus. Avoid storing valuable equipment in your locker overnight or over weekends. If you see someone suspicious, or anyone who seems to be paying a little too much attention to you and/or the contents of your locker, call Campus Security.


Lockers are situated in the basement and the 3rd floor of the IMA building. They are free and available to use for all Image Arts students for the duration of one school year, one per student. Note that items and locks must be removed from your locker at the end of the winter academic term. Any locks left on after April 30 will be cut off and the contents discarded.

Bike Theft | Vandalism

Bikes left overnight or even until a late hour in front of the School are at high risk for theft or vandalism. Leaving it in other areas of campus that are more populated at night may at least reduce the risk and alternating spots is a good idea if you tend to follow a routine. If you see theft in progress or if it happens to you, report it immediately to Campus Security.


There are City parking lots nearby and Ryerson Parking Garage on Victoria St, near the Image Arts building. See link for more details re parking. 


As a student of Image Arts, whether you are studying Film or Photography, you will be borrowing and using professional, valuable equipment on a regular basis. While there are great benefits to accessing this equipment, you assume full responsibility in the event of loss, theft or damage.  

Property Insurance

Every enrolled student is covered by the same insurance policy at Ryerson, which covers both property and liability. Equipment loss or damage falls under property, which currently has a deductible of $50,000. This means that each time you sign out equipment from the Cage, you are responsible for paying the first $50,000 for repairs or replacement if that equipment is lost, stolen or damaged. On-campus equipment losses must be reported to both Campus Security and Philani Moyo, ext. 553772. Thefts should also be reported to Police. Any damage or loss to IMA equipment must be reported to the Cage immediately.

You may want to talk to an insurance agent about what coverage options may be available. We suggest you speak to the company that has dealt with our students: Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance, contact is Judi Heron at 905.305.5938 .

Liability Insurance

The liability clause of Ryerson’s policy offers significantly better protection to students in the event of an accident or damage to public or private property while filming or photographing away from campus. For example, you can still be sued if someone trips on a cable that you have placed on a city street while filming but if it can be proven that you are a registered student of Ryerson and that the activity that caused the accident was directly related to course work, you will not be held financially accountable as Ryerson’s insurance policy will cover you.

Occasionally, you will be asked to produce a Certificate of Insurance from the university as proof that you are a full-time student with coverage in case of accident. Typically, only government or large public-sector organizations such as the TTC will request this from you but a request can come from anyone. Whether or not you obtain this Certificate, your coverage is active.

To obtain a Certificate of Insurance, contact Ryerson’s Risk & Finance Officer, Philani Moyo. It takes 5 working days to prepare so make sure you notify him as soon as you know you need one. The policy covers equipment used outside of Ontario; however, the Insurance Office must be advised before leaving.

Negligence is inexcusable and costly in any situation, no matter which party ends up ultimately responsible for damages. Liability insurance is there for you in case of accident - it is not a license to be careless or to take avoidable risks. If a lawsuit arises from a situation you are involved in, though you may not be held financially accountable, take all precautions and act responsibly in every situation!

Note: If you are bringing in non-students to work on a photo or film production in IMA facilities, those individuals are required to complete a Liability Waiver for assumption of risks and responsibilities. This form is available from the Operations Manager and on this website.