These guidelines are provided to help, teachers and other supervising adults, identify possible hazards (anything with the potential to cause harm) and minimise risks (likelihood and severity) when making.

They are not intended as ‘blanket’ rules as every situation is different and appropriate risk assessments must be carried out. Not all activities require formal written risk assessments but during unit planning teams and individual teachers must discuss safety and decide whether to write a formal risk assessment.Once the Risk Assessment is written it needs to be signed by Business Manager. Teams can use this template

Renaissance College is an Associate Member of CLEAPSS whose mission is to support practical activities in science, D&T and art.

CLEAPSS provides a number of model risk assessment for different types of activities and different types of tools (internal access only).

A model risk assessment is just that – a model, which is broadly appropriate for most classes, in most schools, most of the time. Teachers should review the advice and consider whether further modification is needed for the special circumstances of their lessons with their classes. Professional judgement is needed.


Guidance on Levels of Supervision

“Under Close and Very Close Supervision” means that a small group of children (up to 6) should have the undivided attention of a supervising adult. Such adults need not be teachers, but if they are parents, teaching assistants, etc, they must have been well briefed by the teacher in charge on the nature of the risk before the activity and be aware of guidance.

  • Years 1 and 2 – 1:2 ratio
  • Years 3 and 4 – 1:4 ratio
  • Years 5 and 6 – 1:6 ratio
  • Consider developmental needs of students taking into account: age, competency, SEN, language
  • Consider time of the day, week, term
  • Consider expertise of supervising staff in using the tool as well as supervising the use of tool

Environment: Makerspaces and Workshops


The space must be big enough to allow the safe layout of equipment and to provide adequate working spaces at benches and machines so that pupils do not impede each other’s movements or disturb each other. The plan of the room and the layout of equipment should permit full supervision by the teacher.


School workshop floors should be at one level. The floor surface needs to be provided and maintained in a non-slip condition and free from risks of tripping.


  • Lockable for tools when not in use
  • Spaces for projects in progress
  • Labelling using photographs
  • Lighting
  • Natural lighting preferable to artificial lighting
  • Non-reflective surfaces
  • consider colour of parts/tools and colour of surface for visibility


Electric equipment should not be used is there is any doubt as to the safety of the electrical installation

Most power tools require installation of stop button. The use of two- or three-way adaptors should be avoided.If extension leads are used they should be secured and not cause tripping hazard


Some variety in the height of the benches provided can be helpful to accommodate for difference in students heights.

Must be stable with appropriate surface for activity. Pay attention to cluttering in number and variety of tools available to students. Consider different tables for different activities.

Storage and Labelling

Materials are best kept in their original containers. This way, you can refer to label instructions and emergency advice later. Materials and tools should be stored systematically by labelled categories. Equipment and tools should be inspected regularly and repaired as soon as damages occur. Damaged tools which are beyond repair should be put aside and be written off.

Common Safety Signs & Hazard Symbols


This is especially important when using glues, paints, or when fumes and saw dust are generated. Ventilation can be improved with opening windows or doors, fans or purpose build extractors.

Tools and Activities



Simple Electric Circuits with Bulbs and Batteries


Copper Tapes

Hand Tools

Tools and Techniques in Primary DT (saws, craft knives, drills, glue guns, hammers)




Glues and Adhesives and Joining


Screws and Screwdrivers

Glue guns

Textiles, Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting and Weaving.

Textiles: Small Sharp Items (Hand sewing, pinning for machine sewing and unpicking stitching)

Textiles: Sewing Machines


When tools are shared by teachers one teacher should have responsibility for managing storage, labelling, maintenance and inspection of tools.

Inspecting and Testing Portable Electrical Appliances


Teams are advised to establish process (eg wrapping blades) and consider specialist disposal containers separated from general rubbish, when disposing tools and materials:

Sharp tools and materials: blades, nails, broken tools, sharp edged items

Toxic and flammable : glue, paints, its containers and packaging

Protective Clothing and Equipment

Sources and Further Information

Hong Kong Education Bureau:

Guidelines on Safety for Visual Arts in Primary Schools

Guidelines on Safety for Visual Arts in Secondary Schools

Safety in School Workshops

The National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD)

Machines, Equipment, Tools and Processes

Management and Organisation


Machines, Equipment, Tools and Processes

Be safe! Health and safety in school science and technology for teachers of 3-12 year olds (4th edition, 2011, Association for Science Education, ISBN 978 0 86357 426 9).