What is an emergency stop button?

An emergency stop button is a safety device that switches off all the machines in a workshop instantly that the emergency stop button is pressed. It enables anyone to switch off a machine anywhere in a workshop in order to prevent an accident.

All the machines in a school workshop are connected to a circuit that is protected by a residual-current device (RCD) and one or more emergency stop buttons. Several emergency stop buttons are usually fixed in easily accessible places on walls around a school workshop.

The emergency stop buttons trip an RCD and so switch off all the machines in a workshop immediately that an emergency stop button is pressed. Machines and other electrical devices on the circuit cannot be started again until the RCD is reset by a person authorised to do so.

Emergency stop button

Where are the emergency stop buttons in your workshop?

You should know where the emergency stop buttons are in all the workshops that you use.


  1. Draw a plan of each workshop that you use and mark the position of each emergency stop button.

  2. Make an accurate, coloured drawing of the type of emergency stop buttons used in your school workshops.

  3. Explain why emergency stop buttons are necessary in school workshops.

  4. Describe when you should press an emergency stop button.


Workshop plan
Click here to view the PDF version of this resource. MDTE PDF Emergency stop buttons PDF
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