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Ministry of Education.
Kaua e rangiruatia te hāpai o te hoe; e kore to tātou waka e ū ki uta


Safety in Technology Education: A Guidance Manual for New Zealand Schools, cover image of a student chopping vegetables

Safety in Technology Education: A Guidance Manual for New Zealand Schools provides teachers, principals, and Boards of Trustees with the guidelines and information necessary to establish and implement sound health and safety policies and procedures for technology teaching and learning. 

This manual interprets and applies the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and associated Amendments, as well as other relevant Acts and Regulations, within the context of technology teaching in New Zealand schools. The manual also refers to other statements with which teachers and Boards of Trustees should be familiar, especially the National Administration Guidelines 3 and 5

The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, with associated Amendments and guidelines, also applies to students in Mäori-medium settings so this manual provides useful guidance for those students and teachers learning hangarau through Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

Continually reviewing safe practices is particularly important as new technologies become part of teaching and learning in technology education. To ensure the health and safety of their students and staff, Boards of Trustees and principals need to ensure that safety procedures and practices continue to be developed and implemented within their school, in keeping with the guidance presented in this manual and with any subsequent changes to Acts or regulations that cover health and safety in the workplace.

However, it should not be assumed that the warnings and precautions stated in this manual are all inclusive. In some situations, Boards of Trustees, principals and teachers need to use their professional judgment and seek additional information from health and safety professionals and relevant websites to prevent unsafe classroom practices occurring.

Safety in Technology Education is designed to assist classroom teachers and their students to take an active role in planning and implementing safe practices for the protection of everyone involved in technology education activities. Safe practices, as promoted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), should be viewed as an integral part of the planning for and delivery of technology education.

Teaching and learning programmes in technology integrate the three curriculum strands; Technological PracticeTechnological Knowledge, and the Nature of Technology. Safety planning in technology needs to encompass all aspects of the teaching and learning programme.

The definition of safety adopted in this manual is wide, including aspects of physical, emotional, cultural, and environmental safety, as well as the safety of the end-users of the products or systems that result from technological practice.

Technology takes place within cultural settings. This aspect of safety should be addressed when planning student learning experiences in technology. This might include, for example, understanding local Māori protocols, such as whether it is acceptable for both genders to carry out traditional activities like carving or weaving. In one context, it may be acceptable for a whakapapa to be recorded in writing or for a picture of an ancestor to be used in a publication – in another situation, this may not be acceptable.

The key to planning for safety is identifying potential hazards and managing the risks associated with them. Involving students in developing safety plans for units of work supports their understanding of working safely as a life-long skill. As teachers develop a unit of work in technology education, they should use this manual to develop a safety plan that identifies the hazards involved and the appropriate strategies to mitigate them. This safety plan should be an appendix to the unit of work and become part of its documentation. In this way, teachers revisiting the unit of work at a later date have the benefit of this planning and an opportunity to add to the safety plan.

The first two sections of this manual – Legal Requirements and Responsibilities, and Responsibilities of Boards of Trustees and Principals – set the expectations of the school leadership. The remaining sections:

  • focus on aspects that teachers and students need to consider when planning for and implementing safety practices in technology classrooms
  • document issues that teachers should be aware of when planning for and implementing safety in different areas of the technology curriculum
  • suggest approaches to take if an incident occurs
  • provide suggestions for when technology students are involved in out-of-school vocational or pathways activities.

Boards of Trustees, principals, and teachers should first read the general information in Sections 1 and 2. Teachers and students should then read sections relevant to specific learning contexts and, if necessary, refer to any applicable specialist information that is beyond the scope of this manual. 

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