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Batik - Risk Assessment

Discussion in 'Art and design' started by lexismum, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Hi, I'm looking for some help in writing a risk assessment for using hot-wax for batik. I've been 'tasked' with writing it on behelf of a colleague but as I don't use the process myself I'm struggling a bit to know the details of the do's and don't. (I'm not an art specialist!)
    It's Year 6 pupils that use the process. They're using pelletted wax in a 'proper' wax melting pot with tjantings onto cotton.
    Any advice or 'pointing in the right direction' of where I can find info on the safety aspects of this process would be very much appreciated.
  2. joli2

    joli2 New commenter

    You might find more detailed info from the manufacturer, but basically the risks are to do with burns as the wax gets very hot. The pupils will be sharing a wax-pot and dipping their tjantings in to collect hot wax, then transporting that to their cotton material and 'drawing' onto the material with the wax. It dries very quickly. Material is then dyed using cold water dye. When dry, the wax is cracked and picked off and the cloth ironed between layers of absorbent paper.
    -The edge of the pot is hot and if too many using it at once more chance of burning/spilling
    - The wax is hot - not to touch it
    - The tjantings have metal bowls, to hold the heat so must be held by the wooden handles
    - Carrying the tjanting to the cotton -risk of dripping hot wax - put a folded paper towel against the spout
    - The usual trip hazards in a classroom, but with carrying hot wax
    - Risks of burns from iron, if children are doing this part themselves.
  3. I've been teaching Batik for years now at GCSE and AS/A2 (Actually in the middle of a large Batik project with my year 10's at the moment) and it's not an easy thing to do as the hot wax is difficult to control and the tjantings require a certain knack to use.
    The main issues are:
    • Burns from touching the wax, accidentally or on purpose (even my GCSE students can't resist 'testing' the temperature!).
    • Burns from the tjantings (touching the metal parts) or from splashing wax out of the bowls in the tjantings.
    • Overly excited pupils splashing wax on each other when pulling their tjantings out of the melting pot.
    • Fitting students around the put and the possibility of someone catching the electric cable and tipping the whole pot.
    • The cotton tends to move around if not fastened onto something and so this can lead to students putting their fingers to close to the hot wax.
    • Certain fabric dyes can cause skin reactions so make sure they are always wearing gloves (parents don't like their children to have funny coloured hands either!) and that you use suitable dyes that have been mixed correctly.
    • Using an iron to remove the wax has its own risks - hot iron, how melted wax stuck to newspaper (we use newspaper to soak up the excess wax and this can stay hot for a while)
    If i'm honest, I would be a bit concerned that year 6's are doing Batik, it's a tricky technique and there are much easier ways of getting a Batik effect without the risks of using hot wax with a younger age group (Google wax resist and cold batik) but that is just my opinion.
    If the person teaching Batik has experience and is a confident practitioner themselves then they would probably be ok but I am worried that your colleague isn't writing the risk assessment themselves as this would be easy for someone that knows their stuff. (Sorry if I sound negative, I just know what a nightmare Batik can be and what a nightmare it is if a student hurts themselves.)

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