Frequently Asked Questions

If you cannot find the answer to your question here, then please call us on 01789 470007 or email info@data.org.uk

What is the maximum number of students that should be taught within D&T workshops and studios?

Detailed advice regarding student numbers in D&T is set out in our publication: ‘Risk Assessment in Secondary Schools and Colleges D&T Teaching Environments’, available from the D&TA resource shop. Alternatively, log in to read a full response to the question.

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What size should D&T rooms be and what space is required around individual machinery and equipment?

Safe working practice in D&T requires sufficient overall space so that students can move safely around the furniture, equipment and machinery that is required today in a modern D&T workshop or studio. Log in to read the full response to this question.

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What risk assessments should be in place in a D&T department?

‘Suitable and sufficient’ risk assessments are an explicit requirement of ‘The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.’ D&T department risk assessments should facilitate both a safe place of work and safe systems of work. Log in to read the full response to this question.

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What are legal implications regarding other teachers, i.e. unqualified teachers, teaching D&T?

The document BS4163:2014 Health and safety for design and technology in educational and similar establishments – Code of Practice’ provides clear guidance on those responsible for supervising students whilst undertaking design and technology activities. As a Code of Practice it provides practical compliance of how to comply with the law. Log in to read the full response to this question.

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What are the regulations or guidance relating to the amount of technician support required in D&T departments? Is there a prescribed ratio, as per subjects such as in Science?

There is no legal requirement governing technicians, however we fully recognise the important contribution that technicians make to both the school as a whole and the department, as well as standards achieved by students. Log in to read the full response to this question

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Are there any age restrictions relating to the use of machines by students in school workshops?

We would always advise schools to follow the guidance provided in ‘BS4163:2014 Health and safety for design and technology in educational and similar establishments – Code of practice’ and any further guidance provided by your employer. Log in to read the full response to this question.

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When should ITT students be registered on-line for their H&S accreditation?

The D&T Association H&S Training Standards establish the professional view of what should constitute the minimum H&S training requirements for ITT students in D&T. Log in to read the full response to this question.

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Is MDF safe to use in school workshops?

Are there woods that are not recommended for use in schools? Much media attention has been drawn towards MDF and the hazards associated with its use in schools, although there is no evidence that calls for it to be removed entirely from use in schools, it’s use does raise serious concerns. Log in to read the full response to this question.

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Should D&T Staff be required to lift sewing machines in and out of cupboards under benches on a daily basis.

Wherever possible it is recommended that employees should avoid manual handling, so is it necessary to move the sewing machines from a cupboard onto the work-surface, or can they be safely left out in the classroom? Log in to read the full response to this question.

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Should brakes be fitted on woodworking machinery in school workshops?

The ruling on braking to certain classes of woodworking machinery was introduced following the updating of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) in 1998. Log in to read the full response to this question.

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Can students use glue guns in Primary schools?

The D&T Association H&S guidelines for Primary colleagues provides guidance on the use of low-melt glue guns and whether they are safe to use in primary schools. Log in to read the full response to this question.

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Can Primary School children use sewing machines?

We are not aware of any age restrictions on the use of a sewing machine and many younger children find them relatively easy to use. We would advise a risk assessment is always done. Please log in to read the full advice.

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How much space should be allocated around sewing machines?

The space-allocation diagram indicates the recommended distances around sewing machines on a side bench

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Just how safe are borax based fluxes used in soldering and brazing?

If you use any Borax based flux, such as SIFBronze, you should be aware that the 2016 manufacturer's MSDS seriously upgraded the identified hazard.

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