Practical workshop activities


​Guideline review date: 28 October 2021​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

This guideline is provided to support schools in implementing the managing risks in school curriculum activities procedure.

The CARA planner (DOCX, 600KB) must be used for the specific school context in conjunction with this guideline considering additional risks, hazards and controls and including environmental, facility, equipment and student considerations

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline, complete a CARA record using the CARA generic template (DOCX, 488KB).

Activity scope

This guideline relates to student participation in practical workshop activities using process and production skills as an activity to support curriculum delivery.

Process and production skills include using plant to manipulate materials for construction and/or to process materials for fabrication (e.g. making a jewellery box).

These activities may have elements with various risk levels (e.g. risks from plant, manufacturing processes and materials). Plant includes any machinery, equipment, appliance, container, implement and tool, and includes any component or anything fitted or connected to any of those items.

Depending on the scope of this activity, other risk assessments may be required when planning. Curriculum activities encompassing more than 1 CARA guideline must comply with the requirements of all CARA guidelines appropriate to the activity.

For activities conducted at a non-Department of Education venue, and/or when engaging external expertise, request written risk assessment advice and attach it to this CARA record.

For activities conducted off-site, schools must comply with the school excursions procedure.

Risk level

The risk level of the ​activity is determined by the highest risk level of the plant/equipment/materials planned for use in the activity, in conjunction with risks associated with the school context (e.g. location, student participants). Consult the Plant and Equipment Risk Assessments (P&ERA) and Safe Operating Procedures (SOP) to assist in determining the risk level.

The plant, equipment and materials in curriculum activities template may be completed, referenced and attached to this CARA record prior to conducting the curriculum activity.

Activity requirements

If any requirement cannot be met, the activity must not occur.

If any other safety recommendation cannot be met, modify the activity (or elements of it) and/or identify and use the hierarchy of controls to implement alternative control measures to meet or exceed the minimum safety standard.

Compliance with the department’s guide to managing electrical equipment in departmental schools and workplaces is required.

The risks associated with working at heights​ must be assessed and managed.​​


Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for all activities conducted off-site.

Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for all activities conducted off-site and strongly recommended for high risk activities conducted on-site.

Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for extreme risk activities.


Principals make final supervision decisions for the activity. Sufficient adult supervision must be provided to manage the activity safely (including emergency situations).

For activities with students with a medical condition or disability that may impact on safety during the activity, consultation with parents is required prior to allocating supervision to determine the impact of students’ medical condition or disability on safety during the activity.

It is recommended that teacher demonstration be used as the principal teaching strategy for practical activities.

The number of adult supervisors required to fulfil emergency and supervision roles must consider the nature of the activity, students’ ages, abilities and specialised learning, access and/or health needs.

Before the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record
  • must inspect the intended location in order to identify variable risks, hazards and potential dangers.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must closely monitor students for the duration of the activity
  • must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • must suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable.

Supervisor qualifications

Principals make final decisions in determining supervisor capability (competence, relevance and currency) and are responsible for encouraging and enabling school-based activity supervisors to raise their qualifications to improve safety standards.

All adult supervisors must comply with the working with children authority – blue cards procedure and be able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.

A registered teacher must be appointed to maintain overall responsibility for the activity.

For low risk activities:

  • At least 1 adult supervisor is required to be:
    • a registered teacher with knowledge of the activity, its potential hazards and safe use of equipment; or
    • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with demonstrated competence (knowledge and skills) in the activity, its potential hazards and safe use of equipment specific to the activity.

For medium risk activities:

  • At least 1 adult supervisor is required to be:
    • a registered teacher with demonstrated competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching the activity and safe use of equipment specific to the activity; or
    • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with a current relevant trade qualification or similar.

For high risk and extreme risk activities:

  • At least 1 adult supervisor is required to be:
    • a registered teacher with qualifications in Design and Technologies or equivalent demonstrated capability (e.g. relevant trade qualification or similar); or
    • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with demonstrated competence in safely using plant, equipment and machinery specific to the activity. Examples of demonstrated competence include:
      • relevant VET trainer qualifications; or
      • another method determined by the principal.

Facilities and equipment

The qualified adult supervisor of the activity, in consultation with the principal, determines the requirements for facilities and equipment appropriate to the local context.

Location must be suitable for the activity being undertaken, including sufficient space to prevent overcrowding, adequate lighting and ventilation to ensure safe participation and that safety rules and procedures can be followed. This may be in a specialised facility (e.g. workshop) or other suitable location (e.g. welding bay). Consider additional hazards created by oversized products (e.g. stability, sharp edges). Undertake a reconnaissance of new or infrequently used locations to ascertain suitability.

Consult chemicals in curriculum activities for support in assessing the risks of chemicals used with/by students in curriculum activities.

If a CARA record is required in OneSchool, a summary of chemicals, plant, equipment and/or materials used in the activity must be provided by entering directly onto the CARA record in OneSchool or by attaching a summary. Sample templates are provided on chemicals in curriculum activities and plant, equipment and materials in curriculum activities.

Safe work zones to be outlined (e.g. yellow painted floor lines or similar).

Participants must wear personal protective equipment when required by the safety data sheets (SDS) or Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) (e.g. safety glasses with Australian Standard specification, appropriate enclosed footwear, earplugs and leather gloves).

All equipment must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

A process for checking for damage for all equipment used in the activity must be established and employed.

A maintenance schedule (e.g. checking for damage, repairing, sharpening) must be established and enacted for all plant and equipment used in the workspace (e.g. hand/power tools, machinery). Consult Equipment Maintenance Records (EMR) and Plant and Equipment Risk Assessments (P&ERA) documents.

A retirement schedule must be developed to replace plant and equipment by manufacturers' nominated expiry date or when significant wear causes a hazard.

If privately owned equipment is being used, principal approval and owner consent/insurance details must be obtained prior to the activity.

The risks associated with working at heights, confined spaces (PDF, 1.5MB), biological, asbestos, slip/trip/fall and noise must be assessed and managed.

Refer to the design and technologies handbook to manage the workspace in relation to layout and conditions (e.g. working at heights).

Fire safety equipment must be available, accessible and maintained.

Clean up equipment (e.g. broom, dustpan, bin, spill kit) must be available.

Maintain the ducted waste (dust) extraction system, if installed. Ensure it is connected, operational, cleaned and emptied.

 Common hazards and controls

Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.

Environmental hazards Control measures
Environmental conditions

Follow the school’s sun safety strategy if participating outside.

Follow the managing excessive heat in schools guidelines when participating in very hot or extreme heat conditions.

Ensure drink breaks occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks.


Manage excessive noise levels during practical activities (e.g. control the use of equipment/machines).

Dust, gas or fumes

Ensure adequate ventilation/extraction when sanding and when using materials that release fumes or particles (e.g. contact adhesives, paints, solvents, glues, dust).

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures

Slips, trips, falls

Floors and walkways must be clean and clear of debris and obstructions.

Extension leads must not be run across the floor.

Faulty or dangerous equipment

Check equipment for damage before and during the activity.

Heat sources

Monitor temperatures from heat sources in the workspace.

Confined spaces

Ensure adequate lighting and ventilation.

Waste disposal/spill clean up Procedures must be in place to immediately manage the removal of all spilt substances (e.g. breakages bin, spill kit for large spills).

Equipment and implements to be stored safely and securely when not in use.

Student considerations Control measures


Ensure equipment is not accessed and used without direct supervision of an adult supervisor.

Manual handling
Lifting equipment

Use correct manual handling processes when lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying.

Student issues
Student numbers, special needs, high risk behaviours, medical conditions

Remove accessories (e.g. jewellery, lanyards) before participating.

Ensure clothing, fingernails and hair do not pose a hazard.

Footwear must be appropriate to the activity.

Monitor and enforce the correct use of plant and equipment.

Maintain close supervision of students.

 Additional links


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Last updated 14 July 2022