4.4.1 Describe strategies that support students’ wellbeing and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum, and legislative requirements.
Working in the Industrial Arts area, the safety of the students in paramount as we are surrounded by an abundance of sharp hand tools, power tools and heavy machinery.
There were a lot of strategies in place at the school in relation to the personal safety of the staff & students. Is is school policy at Lambton High that students are to wear leather upper footwear to be able to participate in practical lessons. This was by far the biggest WH&S concern that I noticed. Time and time again, students would turn up without the correct footwear which in turn meant that they could not come into the workshop. This resulted in emails home to the students parents.
On advice from my mentoring teacher I printed up a double sided palm card that became my practical lesson ques. How to start and end a practical lesson.
It was important that the start of every lesson began with a check of correct footwear and a reminder to wear an apron, and the end of the lesson left enough pack up time so that tools could be returned and areas cleaned and swept ready for the next class.
Certain year levels are allowed to use certain tools, but before they are given a demonstration on how to use the tool, they must complete a safety test on the tool. This is a good strategy to make sure that they are fully aware of not only how to operate it, but what can go wrong also. Here is an example of a year 7 safety test from their booklet.
An excellent safety strategy for me as a prac teacher, or any casual teacher in the IA dept. was a ‘User Group Table’ on each machine that stated what year levels were allowed to use what machines. A few times, students asked me if they could use the bandsaw and when I asked them what year they were in and they said “year 8”, I could look at this and tell them no!
Posters around the room also serve as great reminders to what PPE you need for what machinery.
Another tool or strategy in a practical sense which I could see made the world of difference to students and their interactions with the tools were the use of jigs. Having jigs made up so that students could concentrate on the task at hand rather than how best to hold their timber or metal while they performed said task.
However, the best strategy in place to ensure the safety of your students in a workshop is to keep your eyes and ears open! If you notice a group becoming silly or joking around just remind them where they are and that concentration is paramount.