There needs to be more clearness around SWMS documents and their use, and we wish to provide that. Whether you use them in high-risk building or elsewhere, they can be one of your most efficient and effective control procedures, and when you do SWMSs well, almost everything else you do will tend to follow.
Let’s quickly take a look at the following:
What they are.
Why are they central to your WHS or OH&S system.
How they are various from a J.S.A. and S.O.P
. What must an SWMS consist of?
Who is accountable?
Making use of SWMSs in high-risk building and construction.
When they’re requested somewhere else.
Some industry package and system solutions.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a document that describes how specific work environment activities are to be performed. The document recognizes:
The actions being satisfied.
The threats they produce, and
How to control those risks.
WHY ARE SWMS CENTRAL TO YOUR WHS SYSTEM?
There are two reasons that SWMS files are main to your system. In certain instances, they are required. They are effective, efficient and useful in their application.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk construction work is carried out (as defined by the WHS. Act, which we’ll describe quickly). This implies the Person Carrying out a Business or Undertaking (the PCBU) need to ensure the preparation, following, and retention of these SWMS and their routine and systematic evaluation.
SWMSs are also one of the most reliable of all control measures. They are the most common and prominent of administrative controls. When their usage ends up being a work-culture centrepiece, they can powerfully allow and evidence your task of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Enabling yourself a little imaginative creativity, think about how you control dangers as being like strapping on a bulletproof vest. Your Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are like those velcro straps that hold the vest easily and efficiently in place.
They can be overdone. More on that soon.
HOW IS A SWMS DIFFERENT FROM A J.S.A. OR S.O.P.?
A Job Safety Analysis (J.S.A.) and a Safe Operating Treatment (S.O.P.) are more concentrated than a SWMS. They concentrate on isolated tasks and processes. An SWMS is various because:
It is more comprehensive in its treatment of activities,
It is highly focused on determining and keeping an eye on control measures.
It can cover both particular activities as well as combination and complex activities (which most high-risk building and construction work activities are).
WHAT MUST AN SWMS INCLUDE?
Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are simply among numerous available threat control procedures. That stated, they are likewise (perhaps) the centrepiece. When used successfully, they bring structure and stability to other WHS. and OH&S activities.
Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they help other controls work and empower the people who use them. A safe work technique declaration does this by providing the needed info, directions, and a way of taping actions in a foreseeable and fuss-free format.
Determine the High-Risk Construction Work (HRCW) function – if it is one.
Identify threats and hazardous work practices.
Detail the very best control procedures, along with backup controls.
Explain what goes into the implementation of danger management strategies.
Information the individual or organization doing the work and the person responsible.
At a building project, detail the primary contractor, worksite address, the date of preparation and when provided to the primary contractor.
Note the names of employees sought advice from, the dates and the signatures.
Show any evaluation date and sum up any modifications made.
SWMS threat control methods, as per the hierarchy of control, generally seek to:.
Eliminate threats (perhaps by utilizing engineering controls),.
Minimize them (for example, by creating traffic corridors),.
Administratively minimise them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Recommend Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
A well-designed SWMS template is simple to prepare, uncomplicated for relevant workers to carry out, and will make it possible for an effective and efficient evaluation procedure. That is what our SWMS templates do.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
When a safe work method statement is needed, the PCBU must prepare it; where there is more than one PBCU, or the work costs $250,000 or more, a Principal Contractor (PC) is selected. This person is then responsible for gathering, evaluating, keeping an eye on and evaluating any SWMS in place.
A PC and PCBU can entrust procedures and work activities, BUT the responsibility for SWMS quality and application remains with them.
The Principal Specialist (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is accountable for:.
Preparing SWMS documents before work starts,.
Making sure anybodies included fulfil their duties regularly,.
Determining and controlling dangers and threats as per the document, and.
Examining and changing the SWMS for ongoing efficiency gradually (Note: employees need to be consulted – consisting of contractors and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK APPROACH DECLARATIONS AND HIGH-RISK BUILDING WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and Safety Regulations (2011) and the Design WHS Laws (last upgraded in 2022) require using SWMS documents for a range of high-risk construction work activities. Particularly, Regulation 291 information 19 High-Risk Classification activities and an SWMS must be prepared prior to any such work is carried out.
You can follow the Regulation 291 link to see the particular list, but for ease of understanding, we’ll summarise them as follows.
WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE DEEMED HIGH-RISK BUILDING WORK?
There are 19 activities classified as high-risk building and construction work (HRCW), and they all include hazards and risks with considerable potential for significant harm. For clearness, we reduce this 19-item list into five threat groupings. They are activities that:.
It may lead to falling,.
May establish due to proximity (or being close to something/someone),.
Arise from the use of a powered mobile plant, particular devices or products,.
Prevail when dealing with particular structures and services, and.
Happen in a variety of environmental specifics.
To break this down more specifically, these five activity groups involve the following scenarios: an SWMS is needed in such situations:.
When there is a risk of a person falling more than two metres or falling under a trench or shaft of excavated depth greater than 1.5 m.
If somebody could drown by falling under a liquid, a structural collapse or as a result of diving work.
Where structural changes are used to prevent a collapse.
Wherever a tunnel is included.
When powered mobile plant work is being done or the plant is being moved.
If rail traffic or neighboring roadway users could be hurt.
Whenever asbestos is being interrupted or gotten rid of.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever explosives are used or demolition work is being performed.
When work happens on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines, energised electrical services, pressurised gas circulation mains, piping or telecom towers.
If an office could have an infected or flammable environment, artificial temperature level extremes or a restricted area.
A safe work technique declaration need to be maintained in these recommended situations. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk building and construction work product or include numerous items in a single SWMS. The most essential thing to bear in mind is that these dangers are identified, and the threats are managed.
If you want to see the detailed list, follow this Regulation 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE ASKED FOR A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not unusual for customers to stipulate separate SWMS that exceed the legal minimums for building jobs – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender process is open, negotiated, selective or staged. These amazing expectations can include ask for safe work technique declarations beyond the stated high-risk building and construction work activities. We understand from conversations with our clients that this is increasingly happening and that there needs to be more clarity around the problem.
These expectations and confusion aren’t assisted by SWMS template providers that do not inform you their additional offerings are not needed or who oversell with needless SWMS documents. Both are practices we do not do.
We constantly inform our customers that there are 2 forms of compliance; what is legally needed and what your customers anticipate. Both are extremely genuine and appropriate to win work!
WHEN CLIENTS REQUEST MORE.
They’re paying for the work, so they can specify whatever control determines they desire. In theory, they can even demand a SWMS for taking a dump (and no, we’re not talking about rubbish removal).
When the marketplace demands additional SWMS or industry control determines change, we usually swiftly deal with the requirement. At other times we have assisted them use a generic SWMS template to meet the need.
There have actually also been times when we have coached our consumers on challenging the tender requirement, and in some cases, changes result. Often it is a truthful error by an overzealous tender author, and when the proposed steps are nicely questioned, they are withdrawn. Lots of do not comprehend the regulations and understand there are less tiresome techniques of managing dangers to health and safety.
Here, as always, we suggest you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to delight in greater clearness and effectiveness in your purchase journey.
An SWMS is needed whenever high-risk building and construction work is performed (as defined by the WHS. Safe Work Approach Statements (SWMS) are simply one of various readily available danger control measures. Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they assist other controls work and empower the people who utilize them. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk building and construction work product or incorporate numerous items in a single SWMS. These remarkable expectations can include demands for safe work technique statements beyond the stipulated high-risk construction work activities.
For more information, contact:Occupational Safety SolutionsLevel 3/55 Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Pyrmont NSW 20091800 304 336www.occupational-safety.com.au