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Health & Safety

Individuals should consider their own health and safety to be equally as important as the health and safety of the collections in their care. The Health & Safety Committee provides educational and technical information to the AIC membership to increase knowledge of safety hazards and general health issues related to the conservation profession. It offers information through lectures, workshops, displays, AIC's publications, AIC's website, and other electronic and print media. It also addresses health and safety issues of concern to the AIC membership by maintaining current information through research, by collaboration with health and safety professionals and with other health and safety organizations, and, periodically, by statistically valid surveys, the results of which facilitate establishing priorities. Read more about the committee and its members by going to the Health and Safety Committee.


Have a question or concern about health and safety in your conservation work? Contact our Health & Safety committee at Health-Safety@conservation-us.org

Health & Safety Wiki

AIC members, specialty groups and committees contribute to a conservation-related knowledge base funded through a grant from the National Park Service and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training. Placing this content on the AIC wiki platform allows for easy and timely collaborative editing and also provides much broader access to these resources, ensuring that innovative methods and materials are documented and widely disseminated to the conservation community. AIC's Health & Safety Committee maintains a section of AIC's Conservation-wiki on health and safety topics relevant to conservation and collection professionals.

Visit the Health & Safety Wiki >>

AIC News Articles

Committee members, along with consulting safety and healthcare professionals, regularly write articles and guides that are published in AIC News on topics relevant to the conservation community. These publications are offered for information purposes only. Some of the information included in old articles may be out of date, particularly with regard to toxicological data and regulatory standards. More recent publications may include more up-to-date information, but there has been no attempt by the committee to review and update previously published articles in the AIC News or to exhaustively catalogue current legal requirements and standards applicable to the profession.

Articles and Guides published in AIC News >>

AIC Annual Meeting Resources

Health & Safety Sessions: The Health & Safety Committee has maintained a strong presence at the AIC’s Annual Meetings, and hosted a full-day session dedicated to health and safety topics at the 2014 conference. Presentations covered topics such as ergonomics, safe chemical alternatives, handling of hazardous collection materials, and mold remediation. In addition, the committee also periodically organizes workshops and luncheon lectures at the Annual Meeting.

Respirator Fit Testing: The Committee is striving to provide low-cost respirator fit testing to attendees at the AIC Annual Meeting. Respirator fit testing requires that you complete a lecture, a 15-20 minute fit test appointment, and an Medical Evaluation Form signed by your healthcare professional.

Exhibit Booth: The Health & Safety Committee provides sample publications for perusal, samples of respirators, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) by various manufacturers and answers questions about health and safety issues. In 2014, the Health & Safety Committee held a session with J.R. Smith (Safety Manager, Smithsonian Institution), "The Safety Doctor Is In" with J. R. Smith to discuss creating a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) and other safety issues.

Brochures, Handouts & Charts

The Health & Safety Committee publishes brief informational guides to provide quick reference on a variety of important health and safety topics.

Bibliography & Web Resources

Numerous public health and safety resources exist to help private conservators and large facilities assess hazards and develop and implement health and safety protocols. These include easily accessible web-based information, such as directories of professional organizations’ safety consultants, information on pro-bono services, and links to occupational medical clinics.

Controlling Hazardous Collections Materials

The Health & Safety Committee is working to provide outreach materials for creating risk management plans for the handling of hazardous collection materials such as pesticide-contaminated objects, ammunition, and mercury-containing mirrors. Collections with uncontrolled safety risks are inaccessible for research or display. Creating a comprehensive plan to assess and manage risks provides management with a prioritized plan for budgeting resources toward not only protecting staff but making collections accessible for use. Safety investments are not just a legal requirement of the collecting institution to provide a safe environment, but also a positive factor in productivity.

Sample Safety Documents

There are certain documents that conservators and laboratories should regularly produce and maintain such as a Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) and Job Hazard Analysis (JHA). The Committee provides samples of these important documents for reference. In addition, if you feel like you are not comfortable developing, managing or evaluating your safety documents or don’t have a safety specialist available to your organization, the Health & Safety Committee can assist you in finding an appropriate solution. A third party can also provide insight into areas and problems that may be taken for granted or overlooked due to familiarity.

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