Design and technology

Health and safety guidance for school Design and technology departments

Practical design and technology activities must always be carried out in an orderly safe environment. Teachers must teach safe use of tools and equipment and must exercise proper levels of supervision at all times.

For HIAS guidance on risk assessments, use of portable hand-held and fixed machine tools, please visit the Design and Technology Moodle.

COSHH risk assessments and data sheets

Using chemicals and other hazardous substances can put people's health at risk. The COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations require exposure to hazardous substances to be controlled to prevent ill health. These hazardous substances include:

  • substances used directly in workplace activities in schools, such as glues or cleaning agents
  • substances generated during activities, such as fumes from glue guns
  • naturally occurring substances, such as dust
  • biological agents, such as bacteria and other micro organisms

To comply with COSHH regulations and Hampshire County Council's corporate policy, managers and staff in workplaces and schools have a statutory obligation to:

  • identify hazardous substances used
  • assess the risks to health
  • implement measures to prevent or control exposure
  • ensure control measures are used and maintained

Every school should have someone who is COSHH assessor trained. Information about courses can be found on LMS. They must complete a COSHH risk assessment form when work with hazardous substances has been identified in your general or art classroom risk assessment.

All COSHH assessments should have a data sheet attached, available from manufacturers.

The safety data sheet is the manufacturer’s advice about dangers and recommendations for a product. These generally are provided for products that have risk ratings or safety ratings such as flammable liquids or gases and powders or dust which are classified as irritants.

If the product was purchased from County Supplies, COSHH data sheets can be obtained by searching the online catalogue. Enter the product you require a COSHH sheet for, click on the item, select more detail, and then click on the COSHH button.

Alternatively, phone County Supplies on 01962 826999 or email [email protected].

Safety notices

The statutory regulations, Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), states that only adults who hold a valid certificate of competence should be allowed to use high-risk wood cutting machines, some metal cutting engineering equipment, metal casting and foundry equipment, and welding equipment.

The Department for Education (DfE) guidance on the health and safety related legal duties and powers, is explicit in the need for training for employees who use wood working machines.

Schools should keep a register of those employees who use high-risk wood-cutting equipment and ensure that their training is up to date. The Health and Safety Executive recommends that all users of such equipment receive refresher training at least every five years. Within schools, these regulations apply to all employees, including design and technology teachers, technicians, community education instructors, tutors or teachers, youth workers, site maintenance and grounds staff.


CLEAPSS materials are sent to all schools via the School Communications system.

CLEAPSS risk assessment applicability and curriculum audit

CLEAPSS DT website – materials, textiles, food, art and design and construction. Includes project ideas, model risk assessments, FutureMinds newsletter and management guidance.

CLEAPSS Primary website – Information for primary teachers of science, technology, art and design. Includes teaching ideas, doing things safely, primary competition and leadership guidance.