Use of Machinery in Technology Teaching

​​​​​​Technology students and teachers are likely to be using a range of tools and machines that, by their nature, present a higher risk than other areas of the curriculum. Injuries involving plant can have serious consequences that include amputation, degloving, scalping and hearing loss resulting in permanent impairment to students and employees.

The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (Part 3.5 – Plant) require employers to identify and control risks associated with machinery and plant in the workplace. The Workplace Manager is responsible for ensuring that the relevant safety precautions for operating machinery in the school are implemented and that teachers have had the appropriate training and have attained the required levels of competency in machinery and plant.

This section expands on safety precautions and competency requirements for working safely in Technology. The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act 2004) and, in particular, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017, impact substantially on the provision of Technology in schools with particular regard to safe systems of work, use of plant, manual handling, noise and hazardous substances. All relevant aspects of these legislative provisions as they apply to schools must be implemented.

Relevant sections of the OHSMS


Sample Plant and Equipment Risk Management Forms and Safe Work Procedures

What do you need to do - Teachers?

Principals must ensure that teachers have appropriate training and experience with the use of the machines and equipment that students will use in their classes. All machinery and equipment must be maintained in safe working condition.

A risk assessment of the schools technology workshop facility should be documented using the Task Based Risk Management Form to assess:

  • Access/egress
  • Lighting
  • Ventilation
  • Fume / dust extraction
  • Floor surface
  • Signage
  • Storage of equipment / tools
  • Hazardous noise - see Noise Hazard Guide
  • Guarding
  • Space around machines
  • Housekeeping practices

Undertake and document a plant risk assessment for each restricted item of plant in use, see sample Plant and Equipment Risk Management Forms.

1. VIT Required teaching qualifications

The requirements for teaching technology subjects are outlined in the Victorian Institute of Teaching Specialist Area Guidelines. Teachers must have completed one year of study in Technology Studies which includes a range of materials and systems.

Teachers who wish to specialise in a particular material or system, such as Agriculture, Automotive Studies, Electronics, Food (including Food Preparation and Food Technology), Horticulture, Metalwork, Textiles/Clothing or Wood, must hold one of the following:

(a) Sub-major study in the specialist area; or

(b) Industry or Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications equivalent to Certificate IV or higher in the specialist area; or

(c) Certificate of Proficiency in a relevant trade area.

2. Completion of 'Course in Safe use of Machinery for Technology Teaching

All woodwork and metalwork teachers are required to pass the prescribed competency test in the VRQA accredited ‘Course in Safe Use of Machinery for Technology Teaching (Woodwork and Metalwork) (22454VIC)'.  This course provides relevant training to pass the competency test and assist teachers in developing and implementing the safe use of machinery tests appropriate for their school and students. The competency test applies to each item of plant and machinery where student supervision is required and to those items of plant detailed on the Safe Use Test List (See below). Teachers receive a ‘pass-book’ describing the machinery for which they have competency in supervising safe use. All completed and planned training should be recorded in the Training Planner / Register

Please note that the Course in Safe Use of Machinery for Technology Teaching (Woodwork and Metalwork) is only open to teachers who already meet the requirements outlined by the Victorian Institute of Teaching above and is intended to support the occupational health and safety requirements for the secondary school system where teachers are working with machinery in educational settings.  Participants must be able to operate wood and metal machinery used in materials technology teaching prior to enrolment in the course.

Course Name​​Course Code​Course Duration
Apply safe work practices involving machines used in technology teachingVU22276 ​4hrs

Perform safe work operations involving metal working machines used in technology teachingVU22277​18hrs
Perform safe work operations involving wood working machines used in technology teachingVU22278​


The course is conducted by participating TAFEs at selected Secondary Schools in each region. Contact the OHS Advisory Service on 1300 074 715 to discuss training requirements and course availability.


Course in Safe Use of Machinery ​in Technology Assessment Booklet (A5)

What do you need to do - Students?

Plant requiring completion of a Student Safe Use Test

The following list comprises plant which has been assessed as safer for student use. However, items can only be used by students under general supervision after the student has passed a Safe Use of Plant and Equipment Competency Test . 

 Items have been grouped according to their useful work purpose.

  • Cold Metal Drop Saw
  • Power Hacksaw
  • Jig Saw
  • Scroll saw
  • Cold Metal Saw
  • Small mitre saw (with simple drop saw action and work piece secured by clamps or similar constraint)
  • Metal Cutting ‘Horizontal’ Band Saw
  • Wood Lathe
  • Metalworking Lathe
  • Plunge Router – where used with either a  template or guide fence or, a ball-bearing profile cutter
  • Milling Machine
  • Angle Grinder
  • Welding
  • Biscuit Jointer
  • Dowling or Horizontal Drill
  • Drill Press (Pedestal or Bench)
  • ​Linisher (belt & Disc sander)
  • Sanders (Belt & Orbital)

Restricted Plant - student use

The following restricted plant items (below) have been assessed as representing a greater risk of injury to students. Consequently their use is restricted to senior secondary students only who have passed a Restricted Plant Saf​e Use Competency Test ​

Only teachers who have attended the VRQA short course and been assessed as competent in the use of a restricted item of plant are permitted to assess and supervise a student using a restricted plant item..

  • Rip Saw (Table Saw, Bench Saw)
  • Band Saw
  • Docking Saw (Cross-Cut Saw, Radial Arm Saw)
  • Triton Work Centre
  • Portable Circular Saw
  • Circular Saw Table
  • Slide Compound Mitre Saw & Compound Mitre Saw
  • Reciprocating Saw
  • Guillotine (Powered or manually-operated)
  • Panel Saw
  • Grinder (Pedestal or Bench)
  • Buzzer (Surface Planer)
  • Thicknesser
  • Spindle Moulder
  • Power Wood Shaper
  • Portable Planer
  • Metal Cut-off Saw
  • Table Inverted Router
  • Portable Plunge Router (unsecured) ie without template or  guide fence.

Schools are strongly advised to seek alternative methods of achieving curriculum aims through the use of safer plant however, if schools continue to utilise restricted plant with students they must: 

  1. Complete and document a risk assessment of their technology workshop facility, see  Risk Assessment Template
  2. Undertake and document a plant risk assessment for each restricted item of plant in use, see sample Plant and Equipment Risk Management Forms and Safe Work Procedures .

Contact us

OHS Advisory Service on ph. 1300 074 715 or email: