Health & Safety Funding

Q: What funding has been made available to schools?

A: The details are given in the table below:

Wood Dust Extraction for Woodwork & Technology Rooms From June 2001 Varies depending on individual school requirements  
Health & Safety
Engineering Rooms
Dec 2005 €70,000* 411 rooms funded
Health & Safety
Technology Rooms
Dec 2005 €15,000* 156 rooms funded
Personal Protection Equipment Dec 2005 €1,500* Grant payable for each individual room (Technology, Engineering, Mat. Tec Wood.)
Health & Safety
Materials Technology/ Arch.Tec Rooms
Dec 2006 €20,000* 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 advice?

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 or 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 Studies Rooms.

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

  1. 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)
  2. That tenders for the replacement /upgrading of all non compliant machines /equipment have been obtained in accordance with DAE guidelines ( circularM6/02)
  3. That a contract has been placed with the companies that have provided the lowest tender meeting the DES specifications
  4. That all obsolete machines/equipment have been disposed of in compliance with Health and Safety and Environmental requirements

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 marked machine?

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 standards
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 the classroom?

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 Authorities.

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 simultaneously.









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