Practical work – Health and Safety Question

  • mrduncan



    Just a quick question which i’m hoping someone with more experience will be able to help me with. As part of the new qualifications coming in (and possibly as part of an elective) i would really like to introduce a practical element to the course.

    This would perhaps involve the students taking apart and reassembling a computer (and then going on to install software). Instead of talking about, or showing them, the inner workings it would be hands on. The PC’s would not be classroom PC’s but older models.


    I know that some Schools run a Cisco qualification and elements of this are incorporated. Do any Schools currently carry out something similar as part of their current curriculum or has anyone got plans too?


    There are obviously some issues with breakages and damage to parts but the bigger concern is obviously Health and Safety. For example, do the computers need to be PAT tested again if they have been opened?


    I need to decide if this is worth pursuing or if Health and Safety would prevent if from being a possibility.


    I’d really appreciate it if anyone could offer some advice or guidance on this. Especially if you are currently involved with similar projects.


    Many thanks!

    Lorraine Muir



    We have run the Int 1 Hardware Fundamentals for the past year as part of a year course where the pupils can try and complete up to 4 Int 1 awards including Internet Safety, Web Design Fundamentals and Software Development.


    I’m not sure about the PAT testing as the pupils have to put the PC back together after the parts have been removed, they do have to wear the anti-static bands while working on it.  Feedback has been really positive and the kids feel like they have actually learned something.  It is our Faculty Head who is a Technical /Computing teacher and he has seemed quite comfortable with the work.



    Mark J Tennant



    Not an expert on this (in fact it had never crossed my mind until now!) but I would imagine you would not have to worry about re-PAT testing the machine.  a PAT test only covers the mains-voltage components (i.e. the power lead and the PSU) so as long as both of those were tested and not altered in any way you should be fine.  To be absolutely sure, I wouldn’t even take the PSU out of the case.


    In my experience the things I have most often had to worry about are ensuring the students have unplugged any hardware they are working on, and (trivial usually) cuts from the rough edges of the case!  Make sure kids are briefed appropriately and I’d imagine that would be any H&S issues covered.  Also, make sure kids know to avoid the PSU, and don’t even touch the inlet socket on the back – I’ve had quite a kick through a finger when handling a PSU, presumably just from capacitors in the unit.


    Hope this helps.




    Thanks Lorraine and Mark,


    I’m hoping we can go ahead with this and include it in our courses but will need to wait and see. At the very least we’ll get them to take apart the PC and then reassemble. It might just mean that the computers need checked over before they can turn them back on.


    Thanks for your input.



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