Standard for health and safety for design and technology in schools revised

16 September 2014

BSI, the business standards company has recently revised a standard offering educational establishments guidance on health and safety within their design and technology departments.  BS 4163:2007 Health and safety for design and technology in educational and similar establishments - Code of practice, is the first simple and comprehensive guidance that schools can follow. 

Previously local authorities had their own health and safety policies which varied around the country and so teachers were often confused or lacked guidance if they moved school or authority. The standard brings a national perspective to health and safety  in this area.

Changes to BS 4163 include:

  • Originally developed to cover Craft Design and Technology it now includes all the various disciplines covered by the design and technology curriculum
  • Now more relevant than ever as schools become autonomous bodies ensuring governors and employers comply with the requirements of the law

BS 4163 is primarily for protection of learners, employees, trainee teachers, and other adults across the full range of design and technology teaching areas. It refers to facilities where materials are manipulated and processed, equipment is used and designed and/or manufacturing takes place. It applies to schools of all types, including those maintained by local authorities, academies, free schools, independent schools and any type of school for learners with special educational needs. It will also be helpful to further education colleges, universities, teacher training establishments, adult education workshops, and workshops in hospitals and prisons.

The standard was developed using a consensus-based approach from such experts as the National Association of Advisers and Inspectors in Design and Technology (NAAIDT), Local Authority subject advisers, Health and Safety Officers, Health and Safety Executive, Department for Education and subject Inspectors. 

Anne Hayes Head of Market Development for Governance & Risk at BSI said: “Design and Technology is one of the safest parts of the school curriculum due to the awareness by the teaching and technician staff of risks that are involved. This guidance is the first revision since 2007 and has drawn upon and referenced other British Standards, legislation and Health and Safety guidance in its production.”

BS 4163 will be of use to every secondary school and local authority nationally, as well as individual teachers,  teacher training establishments and vocational day centres. Manufactures and distributors of machines for the educational market  can also use the standard to demonstrate their equipment’s compliance to Health and Safety standards. 

Richard Watson, Chair of the BSI Committee for BS 4163 said: “With the decline of support to schools from local authorities, this standard is a necessary document for all those involved in this important curriculum area. It is a key Code of Practise that safeguards the safety of all those working within design and technology in an easily readable and referenced format that can be used by employers and employees alike. The standard also provides information so that individual training needs can be addressed by all those delivering the subject.”