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Health & safety for design & technology in educational & similar establishments — Code of practice

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 places a general duty on employers to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees and other persons affected by their activities.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MSHWR)1999 require employers to carry out risk assessments for the purpose of identifying what is required to comply with this general duty and any relevant Regulations made under this Act.

Implementation of this British Standard is not a legal requirement, but it is suggested that it does provide one means of demonstrating that reasonably practicable steps have been taken to minimize risks from the machinery, equipment, processes and materials used. The recommendations in this British Standard cannot ensure the health and safety of learners and employees without proper training and supervision. Anyone in charge of a teaching space covered by this British Standard is advised to consider the desirability of having recognized accredited training in health and safety.

This British Standard is intended to be a useful guide to those who teach and manage in design and technology areas in educational establishments, and it aims to contribute to the prevention of accidents and dangerous occurrences. Employers and employees can incorporate the recommendations of this British Standard into their working environment.

This British Standard has also been written for persons responsible for providing services, equipment and machinery in educational establishments, and for persons employed to work in these establishments. If similar resources are used in other school departments and colleges of further education, the recommendations of this British Standard can be applied to these departments. They can also be applied where learners are undergoing initial teacher training.

Risk assessment is an important part of health and safety and teachers need to be made aware of the five-step approach (information is available via the HSE toolbox1). In design and technology teaching areas, risk assessments are likely to be applied to the working environment, equipment, processes, techniques and activities.

Practical experience provides opportunities to introduce learners to concepts of risk assessment and safe working methods. With encouragement, learners can develop their understanding of risk assessment processes and, through application of this process, they can be trained to use appropriate control measures to minimize risks to themselves and others. Teachers need to be fully conversant with hazards in the area that they supervise, and that they plan, organize, control and monitor the work so that risks can be controlled.

Whilst this British Standard is meant to be comprehensive, it does not preclude the development and introduction of new technologies so long as appropriate risk assessments are made and the employer accepts their introduction.

This British Standard supersedes BS 4163:2014, which is withdrawn.

It is available here.

British Standards Institute October 2021


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