Q: What funding has been made
available to schools?
A: The details are given in the
|Wood Dust Extraction for Woodwork & Technology Rooms
||From June 2001
||Varies depending on individual school requirements
|Health & Safety
||411 rooms funded
|Health & Safety
||156 rooms funded
|Personal Protection Equipment
||Grant payable for each individual room (Technology,
Engineering, Mat. Tec Wood.)
|Health & Safety
Materials Technology/ Arch.Tec Rooms
||684 rooms funded
* 80% of
the amounts shown was transferred to school/VEC accounts in
the months shown with the balance to be claimed as indicated
at No.8 below
Q: The money has been allocated to the school
account. How do I determine how to spend it?
A: Funding has been provided to
allow the school upgrade machinery and equipment which does
not meet relevant Health and Safety standards. The report
“ Review of Occupational Health and Safety in the Technologies
In Post-Primary Schools” ( Department of Education and
Science /State Claims Agency: Dec 2005) provides significant
insight into the Health & Safety requirements that apply
to school workshops and to the process that should be followed
in examining the workshop from a health and safety perspective.
Appendix VI, the Machinery Risk Assessment Tool is of particular
importance being designed to act as a guide for a technology
subject teacher in conducting a risk assessment which would
inform any decision on the expenditure of funds
Q: In relation to the safety audit, I am unclear
on a few issues. Where can I seek clarification or get expert
A: Currently there is no readily
accessible source of information available to teachers on
the conduct of a safety audit other than the “Review
of Occupational Health and Safety in the Technologies In Post-Primary
Schools” (Department of Education and Science /State
Claims Agency: Dec 2005). Proposals for the provision of Health
and Safety training for teachers specific to the technology
subject are currently under development by t4 in collaboration
with a number of agencies. The Building Unit of the Department
of Education and Science (DES) can provide clarification in
relation the use of the funds provided for health and safety.
The contact persons are
Teachers can email general queries to
Such queries will be addressed in as far as possible and the
answers posted on the t4 website.
Q: Am I required to get a quotation for every
item or are items under a certain price excluded?
A: DES Circular Letter M6/02 (www.education.ie/servlet/blobserverlet/m6_
02.doc) states that national procurement procedures apply
when the estimated total cost of furnishing and/or equipping
an entire facility is less than €162,293. A variation
of this can be used when the value of goods is below €10,000.
Below €10,000 contracts can be awarded on the basis of
responses to specifications sent by fax/email to a minimum
of three suppliers.
Q: Can I spend the money once I have carried
out the audit and identified the room requirements or do I
need to seek the approval of BOM/DES or any other body?
A: The School Management Authority
(SMA) has ultimate responsibility for the use of public funds
provided to it. The spending of funds provided for the purpose
of Health and Safety upgrading should be sanctioned by the
SMA or any person who the management authority have authorised
to so do on their behalf.
Q: If all of the money is not required for specific
H & S requirements, can I spend it on other equipment
required for the room?
A: Money should be utilised to
maxamise the impact on health and safety within the classroom.
In the first instance this should be used to upgrade machinery
and power tools to current and recommended safety standards9including
the upgrading of services). Other safety issues arising from
the audit can be addressed. This could include hand tools,
furniture and fittings, ICT equipment, storage etc. Only equipment
listed on the DES equipment list should be purchased. DES
Circular PBU5/2005 also pointed out that where there was a
balance remaining after spending in relation to Metalwork/Engineering
and Technology Rooms the remainder should be spent on machinery
and equipment in Materials Technology (Wood)/Construction
Q: How much time do I have to spend the money?
A: It is anticipated that most
schools will complete purchasing associated with this initiative
by December 2007 but no definitive cut off point exists consequently
completion of the purchasing process and claiming of the balance
of the grant will extend into 2008 in the case of some schools.
Q: How do I go about claiming the balance?
A: Submit a written confirmation
from the SMA that
- an audit of all equipment in the workshop has taken place
in accordance with the guidelines outlined in “ Review
of Occupational Health and Safety in the Technologies In
Post-Primary Schools” ( Department of Education and
Science /State Claims Agency: Dec 2005)
- That tenders for the replacement /upgrading of all non
compliant machines /equipment have been obtained in accordance
with DAE guidelines ( circularM6/02)
- That a contract has been placed with the companies that
have provided the lowest tender meeting the DES specifications
- That all obsolete machines/equipment have been disposed
of in compliance with Health and Safety and Environmental
Q: What paperwork do I have to keep/be able
to provide in relation to this funding?
A: Schools are requested to retain
copies of records that will indicate adherence to the criteria
above e.g. reports on the audit process undertaken, copies
of tenders for the replacement /upgrading of machinery, copies
of quotations received for any contracts awarded and copies
of the contracts themselves, as well as copies of documentation
supporting of any obsolete equipment in compliance with health
and safety and environmental requirements.
Q: I have a machine that is working perfectly
but it is not CE marked. Do I have to replace it with a CE
A: It may not be necessary to
replace such a machine. All machines must comply with specific
safety requirements for guarding of machines in the Safety,
Health & Welfare at Work, General Application Regulations,
1993 - Part IV, Work Equipment.
The report “Review of Occupational Health and Safety
in the Technologies In Post-Primary Schools” (Department
of Education and Science /State Claims Agency: Dec 2005, p.
53) states that “Recommendation 1. Schools should carry
out a preliminary assessment of their workshop equipment.
Any equipment, which is obviously beyond economical repair
or which cannot be repaired /upgraded to meet the relevant
technical standards should be decommissioned”. It is
further stated that “As indicated in Recommendation
No. 1, following an assessment, a decision can be made taking
into consideration the associated cost of bringing the machine(s)
up to the appropriate safety standards, either to upgrade
or replace the machines(s)”
The CE marking requirement was introduced after 1993. The
CE mark is not an independent certification of a machine but
rather a self – certification statement by a manufacturer
that their product meets essential health and safety requirements.
The absence or presence of a CE mark is not the issue. Where
there is a CE mark it merely indicates that the manufacturer
is self-certifying that the machine provided complies with
all legal health and safety requirements. Where machines don’t
have a CE mark the school must carry out their own assessment
of the machine as indicated above and where necessary/if possible
upgrade the machine to the appropriate legal and technical
It is important to note that all machines, which carry a CE
mark should come with a ‘Declaration of Conformity’;
this declaration should indicate the standards to which the
machine was manufactured and this must be adhered to in particular
when purchasing new machines.
Q: Can I still use 230v hand power tools in
A: The report “Review of
Occupational Health and Safety in the Technologies In Post-Primary
Schools” (Department of Education and Science /State
Claims Agency: Dec 2005) recommends that power tools should
be supplied at a voltage not exceeding 125v AC. Such tools
should be powered by a step down transformer from a 230v supply.
Q: 110V portable power tools are specified.
Should I get a 110v supply installed in the classroom?
A: 110v power supplies are not
currently specified by the DES for new build or renovation
work in school workshops. 110 v supply is to be provided by
means of step down transformers from a 230v supply.
Q: I have done the audit to the best of my ability
but as I have little formal knowledge of H&S. I am concerned
that if I have made a mistake and an accident subsequently
occurs that I may be held responsible?
A: Whilst consideration of any
particular situation would be dependent on the specific circumstances
that would apply, all the advice available to t4 suggest that
a teacher who has endeavoured to implement health and safety
recommendations to the best of their ability will be in a
far stronger legal position than a teacher who had taken no
such action. Where a teacher believes that they are not competent
to comment on some individual issue arising in a H&S audit
they should bring this to the attention of the School Management
Q: The SCA/DES guidelines require that a safe-working
zone be marked around all machinery. Where can I get details
of these zones?
A: T4 has been unable to obtain
definitive guidance on the specific dimensions of such zones
but is continuing to investigate this matter.
Establishing and marking of a clear area around all machines
is recommended. The purpose of the clear zone is to allow
the machine operator to work safely (across the general range
of tasks undertaken by that machine in the particular setting)
without the risk of another user of the room making contact
with them. Clear zones may overlap but in such a situation
the machines associated with both zones should not be used