Safe Work Method Statements

Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS)

I have been exposed to many variations of Safe Work Method Statement’s and some are really great and some not so much. I’ve found that what people tend to forget is that a SWMS is meant for the workers and must ‘be set out and expressed in a way that is readily accessible and understandable to persons who use it‘. Unfortunately, its generally the client that demands excessive additions to a SWMS document and not the regulator. However do not feel deflated, there are ways in which I can assist your company in satisfying your client needs whilst still maintaining a user friendly and easily understandable SWMS. I will work with you to create relevant and effective SWMS’s for all types of high risk construction activities, in consultation with your workforce, subcontractors and managers.

High Risk Construction

A SWMS is required for the 18 high risk construction work activities defined in the WHS Regulations and reference below. A SWMS is a written document that sets out; high risk construction work carried out, hazards and risks and the measures to be put in place to control the risks. Its main purpose is to assist the work group in implementing and monitoring suitable control measures to ensure high risk work is carried out safely.

Although a SWMS may not be required for all other construction activities, a person conducting a business or undertaking still must manage risks to health and safety by eliminating or minimising risks so far as is reasonably practicable.

High risk construction work means construction work that;

(a) involves a risk of a person falling more than 3 metres; or
(b) is carried out on a telecommunication tower; or
(c) involves demolition of an element of a structure that is load-bearing or otherwise related to the physical integrity of the structure; or
(d) involves, or is likely to involve, the disturbance of asbestos; or
(e) involves structural alterations or repairs that require temporary support to prevent collapse; or
(f) is carried out in or near a confined space; or
(g) is carried out in or near—
(i) a shaft or trench with an excavated depth greater than 1.5 metres; or
(ii) a tunnel; or
(h) involves the use of explosives; or
(i) is carried out on or near pressurised gas distribution mains or piping; or
(j) is carried out on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines; or
(k) is carried out on or near energised electrical installations or services; or
(l) is carried out in an area that may have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere; or
(m) involves tilt-up or precast concrete; or
(n) is carried out on, in or adjacent to a road, railway, shipping lane or other traffic corridor that is in use by traffic other than pedestrians; or
(o) is carried out in an area at a workplace in which there is any movement of powered mobile plant; or
(p) is carried out in an area in which there are artificial extremes of temperature; or
(q) is carried out in or near water or other liquid that involves a risk of drowning; or
(r) involves diving work.

SWMS, JSA, SOP – Whats the difference?

To learn more about safety management and developing a SWMS, please contact me on (08) 8244 2482 or via email for a free consultation