Safety in Design and Technology

Key elements of safety
The environment
The teaching and learning environment of Design and Technology plays a key
role in the safety of Teachers and students. The elements of the environment
that contribute to safety are:
Room layout
As this subject requires several teaching and learning modes, rooms
are divided into three zones: computers; classroom; workshop. This
facilitates a clear delineation between the kinds of thinking the students
need to employ when undertaking the activities for these areas.
Importantly, this also contributes to the culture of safety in the
Safe working areas
Safe working areas for scroll saws, disc sanders, pedestal drills, are
marked as lines on the floor. Only one student is to be in front of this
line when the machine is in operation.
Equipment that is not for use by students or can only be used with
direct supervision is kept in a Specialist Workshop which is locked
unless it is in use. This separation ensures a further level of safety.
Standard operating procedures
Each piece of equipment has a SOP which is attached to the nearest
wall. The SOP outlines the safe operation of equipment and who is
allowed to use it. Teachers must know the restrictions and the
requirements for safe use as outlined in the SOP for all equipment.
They are required to communicate relevant information to their classes
and enforce proper and safe use of equipment.
Equipment and restrictions of use
All SOPs are to be followed for use of each piece of equipment. The
following equipment is not to be used by students for safety reasons:
Belt sanders
Table router
Milling machine
Bench knife
Combination sheet metal roller
Extra lighting is used for soldering, milling, centre-lathe, scroll-saws.
This provides the user with better vision and therefore the activity
becomes safer. Teachers are required to ensure that this additional
lighting is used when required.
Lights are not turned off during videos or power-point presentations.
The projector is of a sufficient power to be seen clearly with lights on.
Electrical and pneumatic
Electrical isolation switches turn off all electrical outlets and are used
by Teachers in the event of an emergency.
Air tools are generally used in preference to electric tools. Air tools are
lighter and smaller and are therefore easier to control for younger
Equipment and workspaces that have particular safety requirements
have extra signage. This is typically for electrical hazard, eye and ear
protection and laser hazard.
An effective and neat storage system for students’ project work and
tools is important in creating an orderly workspace. This orderliness
contributes to the culture of safety in the workshops.
Air quality
Various activities in Design and Technology create dust or fumes.
Maintaining air quality during these activities is an important safety
Various options are available in maintaining air quality. These are:
room exhaust; dust extractor; fans; opening doors and windows; fume
The following table outlines the various activities that may compromise
air quality and the action taken to minimise or remove this hazard.
Disc sanding
Hand filing
Hot-wire cutter
Strip heater
Gluing (except
Band Saw
Panel Saw
Laser engraving
Orbital sanding
Extractor to be turned on and engaged; room
exhaust on.
Windows and door to be open, and fans may be
on; room exhaust on.
Activity to be undertaken under fume hood and
fume hood to be turned on. ; room exhaust on.
Windows and door to be open, and fans may be
on; room exhaust on.
Activity to be undertaken under fume hood and
fume hood to be turned on. ; room exhaust on.
Extractor to be turned on and engaged; room
exhaust on.
Extractor to be turned on and engaged; room
exhaust on.
Filtration system turned on; room exhaust on.
User to wear mask, windows and door to be
open, and fans may be on; room exhaust on.
Activity to be undertaken under fume hood and
fume hood to be turned on; room exhaust on.
Some equipment in Design and Technology can cause hearing
damage if exposure is excessive. The limit for hearing damage is a
sustained level of 85dB.
The operator of any equipment that produces a noise level of over
85dB requires hearing protection.
This equipment is:
Band saw
Table saw
Air hose
Radial arm saw
Disc sander
Sand blaster
Orbital sander
Finger jointer
Biscuit jointer
Air Drill
Mini Drill (on Al.)
Bench Grinder
Scroll saw (on Al.)
Power Drill
Vacuum Cleaner
Noise level
These levels were measured at the distance of the operator and
included background workshop noise as would be expected under
normal operating conditions. Recorded levels showed that nonoperators at a viewing distance were not at risk with the exceptions of
the Band saw, Table saw, Radial arm saw, Sand blaster, and finger
jointer. In these cases students and Teachers within 1m of the activity
also require ear protection.
To protect against exposure to noise over 85dB students and Teachers
are required to wear either ear plugs or ear muffs. They are to know
the location of this safety equipment. Teachers are to explain noise
hazards to students and to enforce the required safety measures.
Trip hazards
Teachers are to be aware of trip hazards in the workshop and
classroom areas. Trip hazards are minimised by the following
 Students are not to bring bags into the classrooms;
 Consideration is given to the layout of the tables and workbenches to
allow for best access to tools and equipment;
 Teachers ensure that rubbish is removed from the floor throughout any
 Pendant power-points and air outlets are provided to the work benches
so that no cords are at ground level;
Teaching methods
Personal safety of Teachers
Teachers are required to adhere to safety standards outlined on the
Standard operating Procedures for equipment. Teachers are to wear
leather upper shoes at all times and an apron when using tools and
Standards and information sheet
Each student is given a standards and information sheet in their first
lesson. This details the general safety requirements for students in the
Design and Technology studios. Teachers are to explain these
requirements in detail.
Teachers physically demonstrate the safe and proper use of all
equipment that is relevant to each project. The risks of each activity
are explained as well as the methods used to minimise risk. Students
are required to record the safety considerations for each of the tools
and equipment. Teachers should also revise safety procedures at the
beginning of each lesson before students commence work on
Safe usage records
Teachers directly supervise students using equipment for the first time.
Intervention is taken as necessary. A record is made once the student
is deemed competent and able use the equipment safely.
Classroom supervision during practical lessons is to be active and
vigilant. Teachers are to intervene whenever they perceive a
potentially unsafe situation. It is not possible to employ direct
supervision for every student for every piece of equipment, but
Teachers should provide general supervision once a student has been
deemed competent on a piece of equipment. When a Teacher is giving
a student individual help they are also responsible for the general
supervision of the whole class and must intervene whenever they see
an unsafe activity, or the development of a poor tone that could lead to
unsafe activities.
Cleaning and pack-up.
Teachers are required to ensure neatness of learning environments.
This includes: ensuring tables are neatly aligned; all students’ work is
packed away at the end of every lesson; all tools are packed away in
correct locations. At the end of the last lesson of the day for each room
chairs are to be placed on tables, windows closed, fans turned off,
extractor, compressor, hood exhaust and room exhaust turned off, and
the room is locked.
Students are to wash their hands after every practical lesson.
Class tests and exams.
Students are tested on safety in class tests and in exams.
Teacher skills
OH&S documents
Teachers are required to read the School OH&S documents and sign
that they have read and understood them.
Technical training
Teachers are required to show competency on the safe use of tools
and equipment. Those without an external accreditation are to show
competency to the Head of Design and Technology. This will involve
the HOD demonstrating the safe and proper use of equipment outlining
classroom issues; and observation of classroom supervision.
First aid
As the workshop is identified as an area of increased risk each Teacher
should have current first aid training.