Safety Courses for Artists

The Workers' Compensation Board provides a free course to artists called "Safety Awareness for
Artists and Carvers." It covers:

  • The history of Workers' Compensation,
  • The Personal Optional Coverage accident insurance available to artists
  • Safety as an attitude
  • Personal protective equipment

Tool safety and more

Artists that have completed the course can train others in their own community. The Workers' Compensation Board urges artists to establish training programs in their communities. Since many quarries in Nunavut are not owned by any one person or company, there is often no one responsible for making sure that the Mine Health and Safety Act is followed. We need your help to keep artists educated about safe practices and their rights.

For more information, contact:
Safety Education Department
Workers' Compensation Board
Phone: 1-877-404-8878 or (867) 645-5605
Fax: (867) 645-5601


Accident Insurance

The Worker's Compensation Board protects workers who lose income as a result of a work-related injury. Nunavut artists and carvers can be covered by the WCB by registering as "Independent Operators with Personal Optional Coverage."

If you are injured while working, you may be eligible for:

  • Medical aid
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Compensation for wage loss during any period of total temporary disability
  • Permanent disability pensions.

Should you die while at work, your dependent may be eligible for:

  • Pensions
  • Funeral expenses

You need to register with the board to be covered. You must renew your coverage each year and there is a fee.

For more information call the Iqaluit board at 1-877-404-4407 or the Rankin Inlet board at 1-877-404-8878.

Safety Tips for Carvers

Use the right tools.

  • Always read the operating instructions for any mechanical tool, and understand them. If you
  • have trouble understanding the English, ask for help from the Workers' Compensation Board safety officer.
  • Use the right tool for the job.
  • When using electric tools, use double-insulated tools only. Always use a ground fault interrupter.
  • Use only the attachments recommended for the tool.

Use them safely.

  • Make sure your extension cords are meant for outdoor use and are properly grounded.
  • Make sure the bur on your die grinder has as short a shaft length as possible.
  • Remember to disconnect tools before changing the bit, bur or disc.
  • Use a vice or sandbags to hold your carving in place - not your legs or feet. Or secure it from the bottom with masonry screws fastened to a solid base.
  • Disconnect and store all tools in a dry, dust-free place.
  • Roll up all extension cords.
  • Don't leave power tools outside - condensation can form inside and freeze. Maintaining your power tools helps them last longer.

Use protective equipment.

  • Whenever cutting or grinding rock, wear protective eye goggles.
  • Wear protective ear muffs.
  • Wear gloves. If working with air hammers and vibrating equipment, wear special vibration isolating gloves.
  • Wear a rubber apron and safety-toed footwear.
  • Always wear a good respirator - a high quality face mask respirator with replaceable air cartridges and clean filters. Don't settle for a cheap dust mask.
  • Make sure your respirator fits well. You must be clean shaven . No beards allowed, not even stubble! The respirator must fit snugly to your face to prevent leaks. Test your respirator as well.
  • Check your respirator for dust build-up and clean, if necessary.
  • Stock up on replacement filters for your respirator.
  • Change out of your dusty work clothes before going indoors.

Make sure your tools are in good working order.

  • Make sure power tool cords are not cut or frayed.
  • Make sure grinding and cutting discs are in good shape, not worn.
  • Make sure safety guards are in place. If your grinder kicks back, or you lose control of it, the guard could prevent a serious injury. Guards keep dust and chips moving away from your body. Guards also keep dust away from the ventilation ports of your tools. Rock dust is very abrasive and can damage the inside of your tools, too.

Keep a safe work environment.

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome, a repetitive movement affliction that bothers typists, can happen to carvers too because they hold their wrist in the same unnatural position. While carving, try to reposition your body or your work to maintain the neutral position of your wrists when you drop your hands to your side.
  • Work away from water and wet areas.
  • Make sure nobody is wandering around your worksite while you're using grinders.
  • Make sure children don't play around your dusty worksite.