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Have your schools risk assessed their design & technology equipment recently?

9 November 2012

This week the Health & Safety Executive prosecuted a West Midlands school for failing to properly risk assess a piece of equipment used in a design technology lesson. The equipment was working fine, the guard was in place and the lesson plan wasn’t criticised. There was a generic risk assessment. But what the school had apparently failed to appreciate was that little hands can reach into equipment where most adult hands cannot. So although the guard in place of the bench sanding machine was fine for an adult operator, a Year 7 pupil’s hand could fit through a gap. Last year a Year 7 pupil’s hand became trapped between the rotating face of the sanding disc and the machine’s table edge, causing personal injury.

These lessons are vitally important for a balanced curriculum but this accident and subsequent prosecution again highlights the need for up to date and relevant risk assessments. Unfortunately generic risk assessments are not always going to be sufficient.

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