Inspiring STEM Educators

Technology – Risk Assessment

///Technology – Risk Assessment
Technology – Risk Assessment2018-09-05T12:43:52+00:00

The tabs below contain details about the risk assessment process as well as model risk assessments for a variety of workshop and other technology activities.

Risk assessments should be undertaken for activities that are carried out by teachers and technicians, as well as for those carried out by learners. BS4163:2014

Although it is essential that the risk assessment process is robust, a proportionate approach to safety should be taken and risk management within educational establishments should enable learners to undertake activities safely and not prevent activities from taking place. BS4163:2014

Assessing Risk

SSERC recommends that risks be assessed using the 5-Step approach suggested by the HSE in INDG 163 (even though they no longer talk about ‘five steps).

The 5 steps are:

1. Identify the hazards

2. Decide who might be harmed and how

3. Evaluate the risks and decide on precaution

4. Record your findings and implement them

5. Review your assessment and update if necessary

Risk Assessment Templates

A blank Risk assessment template  is available here for you to print off and make your own risk assessments (MS Word).

There is no requirement in any legislation for you to use a particular format to record the findings of you risk assessment. We suggest the one above because if is clear and straightforward to write and to use.

You are, however, legally bound to follow your employer’s guidance in this matter. If they have a particular format they want you to use then you do need to do so – even if you don’t like it. If you think it is particularly problematic, you can get in touch with us and we might be able to have a conversation with your employer and possibly come to some sort of a compromise. We cannot overrule them though.

Matrices and the ‘quantitative’ approach

At SSERC, we do not recommend this approach. There are a few problems with it in our view:

1. The numbers add little if anything to the criteria

2. It tends to lead to a more ‘tick-box’ approach compared to the more ‘open’ method we espouse.

3. We have yet to come across a matrix approach that does not throw up a few inconsistencies.

However, we are aware that some people do like them and so we are including guidance on this in another tab.

SSERC is continually creating and revising a range Risk Assessments for various machines, tools and processes commonly used in Scottish school Technical Education departments. All these revised school Risk Assessments refer to British Standard 4163:2014.

Our risk assessments are freely available in Microsoft Word format for SSERC members to download and must be edited to be specific and refer to your own school department.

If there are any further Risk Assessments which are not featured here that schools may require, or you require help with website log-in or downloads, please contact

Adhesives (updated September 2015)

Bandsaw (updated September 2015)

Belt Sander/Band Facer (updated September 2015)

Biscuit Jointer/Tenon Jointers *Portable* (updated June 2016)

Bobbin/Oscillating Sanding Machine (updated August 2016)

Brazing & Silver Soldering (updated January 2016)

Buffing and Polishing Machine(updated November 2015)

Casting (updated January 2016)

Centre Lathe (updated August 2016)

Circular Saw *Student Specific Version* (updated September 2015)

CNC Controlled Router (updated October 2015)

Forge (updated February 2015)

Fret Saw (updated October 2015)

Glue Gun *Hot Melt* (updated October 2015)

Grinding Machines (Bench & Pedestal) (updated May 2016)

Hand Tools (updated October 2015)

Heat-Treatment Ovens (updated January 2015)

Hot Wire Cutters (updated October 2015)

Jigsaw (updated October 2015)

Laser Cutter (updated October 2015)

Low Temperature Casting (updated October 2015)

Metals (updated October 2015)

MIG Welding (updated June 2016)

Mitre Trimmer (updated October 2015)

Mortise Machine (updated October 2015)

Orbital Sander (updated October 2015)

Oven (updated October 2015)

PCB Etching (updated October 2015)

Pillar Drill (updated October 2015)

Plasma Arc Cutting (updated February 2016)

Plastic Trimming Gerbil (updated August 2016)

Portable Drill (updated October 2015)

Portable Router (updated September 2015)

Planer Thicknesser *Student Specific Version* (updated September 2015)

Plastics (updated September 2015)

Soldering Iron (updated October 2015)

Spindle Moulder (updated September 2015)

Strip Heater (updated October 2015)

Vacuum Former (updated October 2015)

Wood (updated September 2015)

Wood Lathe (updated July 2016)

3D Printer (updated September 2015)

The matrix approach proceeds as follows:

The first two steps, ‘identifying the hazards’ and ‘deciding who can be hurt and how’ proceed as usual.

Step 3 Evaluating the Risks and Deciding on Precautions

In an attempt to quantify each hazard, three parameters are used Severity (S), Likelihood (L) and Total Risk (T) are used.

Severity (S) and Likelihood (L) are considered as a five point scale as shown below.

Total Risk (T) is obtained by multiplying S x L.

Severity Factors

  • Severity factor of 1 is an Insignificant Injury (minor injury).
  • Severity factor of 2 is a Slightly Harmful Injury (slight injury).
  • Severity factor of 3 is a Harmful Injury (injury is reportable to the HSE).
  • Severity factor of 4 is a Very Harmful Injury (serious injury).
  • Severity factor of 5 is an Extreme Injury (fatal injury).

Likelihood of Injury

  • 1 is Injury very unlikely.
  • 2 is Injury unlikely.
  • 3 is Injury likely.
  • 4 is Injury very likely.
  • 5 is Injury certain.

Total Risk

The Risk Rating is decided by multiplying the Severity factor by the Likelihood factor. The totals fall into the following categories:

Total Risk
1 – 3 Minimum Risk
4 – 6 Low Risk
8 – 10 Moderate Risk
12 – 16 Substantial Risk
20 -25 Intolerable Risk

The diagram below shows the product of Severity and Likelihood in a chart form. Totals with high values, are high priorities, they represent areas which should be considered first.