Darkroom Safety Tips

Using portable darkrooms / temporary darkrooms set up in normally used house rooms

When working in a portable darkroom, or in a darkroom which has been temporarily set up in what is normally a standard used house room (perhaps a kitchen or bathroom), it’s even more important to ensure common sense and good working practices are applied. The following offers some guidance on good working practices:

- It is advisable that the users have regular breaks from working in the darkroom, in order to enable changes of fresh air to circulate into the room via the door. (If an extractor is fitted - then this is not so critical). This helps to prevent any excessive build up of chemical fumes.

- It is advisable to ensure the working darkroom is not over warm. Keeping it cool helps to reduce any build up of chemical fumes.

- It is advisable to ensure the room is not over cluttered with items, so that working in total darkness or with darkroom safelights, is a practical and safe area for manoeuvring around. Care needs to be taken too with electric cables/wet work areas.  
It is better to organise everything before work starts (in full lighting) - than trying to find things in total darkness/subdued lighting.

- It is advisable to wear the protective items listed in Health and Safety data sheets - as available on the website www.ilfordphoto.com (i.e. glasses, protective clothing, gloves etc).
It is advisable that food is not eaten in the darkroom to avoid any chemical contamination on hands coming into contact with any food.
The Health & Safety data sheets also cover a variety of other useful and commonly requested topics.

- It is advisable that trays of chemistry used in a session are not kept overnight, but are discarded. Again, this helps to reduce any build up of chemistry fumes. If the chemistry trays are needed for a following day, it is recommended that they be covered over.

- It is advisable to ensure any bottle caps are tightly secured.

- If toning applications are to be completed, users should be aware that toners such as the HARMAN Selenium toner do emit quite strong fumes (this is indicated in the user instructions) so extra care needs to be followed in terms of ensuring adequate breaks are taken, and adequate ventilation is present.

- Assuming only small volumes of chemistry will be required for disposal, its important that each chemistry is disposed of separately and each flushed away with adequate water.

Details on disposal are shown in the Health & Safety data sheets.

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