Safety at Raku kilns

SIM 03/2009/11


This SIM draws inspectors' attention to safety aspects associated with the Raku ceramic firing process.


Raku is a ceramic firing technique which, in practice, involves heating glazed ware in a reducing atmosphere to approximately 900oC and then removing it from the kiln whilst red hot and putting it into a 'secondary' or 'post firing' reducing atmosphere (normally a bin containing leaves, sawdust or similar materials) where it is allowed to cool for a period of time. The ware is then either, removed and left to cool completely or alternatively rapidly cooled in water, halting the process.

The process is relatively quick and simple allowing the user to see the results of their work in a short period of time and it is for this reason that it is often carried out in schools and other educational establishments.

Historically concerns have been raised about the precautions required and observations about the 'ad hoc' nature of the work.  Of particular interest are the types of kiln used and the methods of work adopted to control the risks associated with this firing technique.


The Sector suggests the following precautions are taken:

Action by inspectors

Any inspector who has any information relating to the Raku firing process and the methods of work adopted by the client is requested to contact the Metals and Minerals Sector.


Inspectors should be aware of who (in terms of diversity eg men, women, disabled etc) is the target group in the sector they are dealing with. Give consideration to, and factor into the approach, any issues that may surround this audience such as literacy issues, English as a second language and disability (access needs).

Cancellation of instructions

SIM 03/2002/54 - cancel and destroy

Updated 2022-05-24