Purpose of a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)
The major goal of an SWMS document sets out the high risk construction work activities to be carried out at the workplace, the hazards arising from these activities and the measures to be put in place to control the risks. A SWMS is an administrative control and is used to support higher order controls to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety, for example engineering controls. A SWMS is a tool to assist supervisors and workers in the workplace to comply with the appropriate work health and safety standards set forth for high-risk construction works and monitor and control measures required for the workplace.
The SWMS must be simple enough for those who need to understand what has been planned to manage the risks and impose the control measures in order for the project to succeed.
What You Need to Include in a Safe Work Method Statement
A SWMS should provide guidance on the health and safety measures to be used. There should be no statements requiring personnel to make a decision. For example, the direction “use necessary PPE” does not describe any of the controls. The controls should be clearly defined.
Consultation with workers and their health and safety representative should be included in the SWMS drafting. If workers are not consulted at the planning stage, consultation should take place when the SWMS is first released to workers, for example, during induction training or after it has been reviewed, such as during workplace-specific training or a toolbox talk.
Preparation of SWMS
A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) that carries out high risk construction work must ensure a SWMS is prepared or has already been prepared by another person before commencement of the proposed work.
If there are multiple PCBU members, they must consult, cooperate and coordinate with one another in order to the greatest extent feasible. A PCBU is ideally situated to prepare the SWMS because it understands the work being done and the individuals doing it, and can ensure that the SWMS is implemented, maintained, and reviewed correctly.
Generic Safe Work Method Statement
A generic SWMS can be submitted by a business who carries out regular work activities. The content included in this form of SWMS can be optimised and managed over several years, and can be shaped through consultation with a health and safety officer, employees, and PCBUs. Before a new business activity is undertaken, the SWMS must be reviewed to determine whether it is compliant with the intended construction work or activity, and that it is relevant and up-to-date.
How Pillar Group Consulting Can Help
Pillar Group will act as your health and safety representative and walk you through all of the requirements for your Safe Work Method Statement, and ensure that your compliance is thorough and adheres to the appropriate laws. We will guide you every step of the way through the process of developing and implementing your SWMS, and manage all of the necessary processes, and deal with any potential issues. Our health and safety officers will carefully listen to any questions or concerns you may have, and advise you as to the best way forward.
Get in touch with us at 0419 539 280 and book your free health and safety assessment today!