NEW! Health & Safety Session at the Annual Meeting

The members of the Health & Safety Committee and 2014 Annual Meeting organizers are excited to announce the first full-day session dedicated to health and safety topics at the 42nd Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Health & Safety Session: Sustaining the Conservator will take place on Saturday, May 31 and will include the following talks:

Controlling Hazardous Collection Materials
Kerith Koss Schrager, Anne Kingery-Schwartz and Kathryn Makos
Responsible stewardship of hazardous collections materials involves implementing policies that ensure the health and safety of the materials as well as the individuals who come in contact with them. This talk will discuss employing collections-based risk management plans, understanding hazard disclosure requirements, and knowing when and how to consult health and safety professionals.

Unintended Consequences of Persistent Residual Vapor-Phase Chemicals within Collection Storage
Catharine Hawks and Kathryn Makos
Residual chemicals within cabinetry and collections have been identified through technical scientific study. While health implications are cautionary and controllable, adverse consequences to the condition of the collections can be significant. Recommendations for mitigation of these hazards will be presented.

Solvents, Scents and Sensibility – Part II, Sequestering and Minimizing
Chris Stavroudis
Continuing with the topics covered in Solvents, Scents and Sensibility-Part I (General Concurrent Session), this talk includes a discussion of safer solvents to help sustain the conservator and the environment, toxicity overviews, in-depth reviews of reformulating “bad” solvents, and molecular interactions and solubility parameters.

Medical Evaluations for Museum and Collection Care Professionals
David Hinkamp, MD (University of Illinois School of Public Health) and Ruth Norton.
Using examples from the Field Museum, the authors will discuss methods to promote occupational health benefits and safer working practices through medical evaluations, exposure monitoring, maintaining lists of materials used, and accurately describing conservation and collections care work practices to medical staff.

Sustainability for the Conservator: Mold Remediation
Chris Stavroudis and AIC Emergency Committee
The AIC Emergency Committee will present lessons learned and techniques used for Hurricane Sandy recovery at the Cultural Recovery Center in Brooklyn, New York to highlight the key steps conservators need to take to protect themselves when working with mold or moldy artworks.

Ergonomics in Collection Care
David Hinkamp, MD (University of Illinois School of Public Health)
Dr. Hinkamp will discuss current ergonomics theories and best practices for improving workstations and postures/positions using real world conservation task examples supplied by Emerging Conservations Professionals Network and the Health & Safety Committee.

The Committee is also organizing events that will take place throughout the 2014 Annual Meeting:
Yoga and Stretching
General session and some specialty group sessions
Don’t just sit there – get up and stretch! Throughout the meeting, organizers will encourage attendees to move around between talks with guided instruction.
‘The Safety Doctor Is In’ with J. R. Smith (Safety Manager, Smithsonian Institution)
Health & Safety Booth in the Exhibitors Hall
Friday, May 30: 9am-12pm and 1pm-3pm OR contact for an appointment
Learn how to create a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for conservation tasks. This is a standard occupational safety approach to breaking down a task into simple components, materials, operations and then analyzing for hazards and setting ways to prevent an injury or illness from that hazard.
Health & Safety Booth
Exhibitors Hall
We’re teaming up again with the Emergency and Sustainability Committees to provide information on current health and safety issues. Stop by if you have questions or comments for members of the Committee.
Respirator Fit Testing
Lecture: Wednesday, May 28: 6:30-7:30pm
Appointments: Thursday, May 29: 9am-6pm ($39)
Register now for your annual respirator fit testing! Respirator fit testing requires that you complete the lecture, a 15-20 minute fit test appointment, and an OSHA Medical Evaluation Form signed by your healthcare professional (available on the Health & Safety webpage).
We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!
Have a question or concern about health and safety in your conservation work? Contact the committee at
Also visit our webpage and wiki for more information and Committee publications on conservation-related health and safety topics.