There requires to be more clarity around SWMS files and their use, and we ‘d like to supply that. Whether you utilize them in high-risk building or somewhere else, they can be one of your most efficient and efficient control steps, 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 different from a J.S.A. and S.O.P
. What must an SWMS consist of?
Who is accountable?
The use of SWMSs in high-risk construction.
When they’re asked for elsewhere.
Some industry plan and system options.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a document that explains how specific workplace activities are to be carried out. The file determines:
The actions being satisfied.
The dangers they produce, and
How to control those dangers.
WHY ARE SWMS CENTRAL TO YOUR WHS SYSTEM?
There are 2 reasons SWMS files are central to your system. In certain circumstances, they are required. Secondly, they work, effective and useful in their execution.
An SWMS is needed whenever high-risk construction work is performed (as defined by the WHS. Act, which we’ll describe soon). This suggests the Person Carrying out an Organization or Endeavor (the PCBU) need to ensure the preparation, following, and retention of these SWMS and their routine and organized evaluation.
SWMSs are likewise among the most effective of all control procedures. They are the most typical and prominent of administrative controls. When their use becomes a work-culture centrepiece, they can powerfully make it possible for and evidence your duty of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Enabling yourself a little creative creativity, think about how you control threats as being like strapping on a bulletproof vest. Most of your WHS. or OH&S risk controls resemble the cushioning and absorption functions of the vest. However, your Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) resemble those velcro straps that hold the vest easily and effectively in place.
However they can be overdone. More on that soon.
HOW IS A SWMS VARIOUS FROM A J.S.A. OR S.O.P.?
A Job Security Analysis (J.S.A.) and a Safe Operating Treatment (S.O.P.) are more focused than a SWMS. They concentrate on isolated jobs and processes. An SWMS is various because:
It is wider in its treatment of activities,
It is extremely concentrated on recognizing and keeping an eye on control procedures.
It can cover both specific activities along with combination and complex activities (which most high-risk construction work activities are).
WHAT MUST AN SWMS INCLUDE?
Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are just one of different available risk control procedures. That stated, they are also (probably) the centrepiece. When utilized efficiently, 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 utilize them. They bring physical stability to what would otherwise be a loose-fitting and ineffective method. A safe work technique declaration does this by providing the required details, directions, and a method of tape-recording actions in a foreseeable and fuss-free format. They will:.
Determine the High-Risk Building Work (HRCW) role – if it is one.
Identify dangers and unsafe work practices.
Information the very best control measures, in addition to backup controls.
Explain what goes into the execution of risk management strategies.
Detail the person or organization doing the work and the individual accountable.
At a construction job, information the principal contractor, worksite address, the date of preparation and when provided to the principal specialist.
List the names of workers sought advice from, the dates and the signatures.
Program any evaluation date and summarise any modifications made.
SWMS danger control strategies, as per the hierarchy of control, usually seek to:.
Eliminate hazards (possibly by utilizing engineering controls),.
Decrease them (for instance, by producing traffic corridors),.
Administratively minimise them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Recommend Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
A properly designed SWMS template is easy to prepare, uncomplicated for pertinent workers to execute, and will make it possible for an effective and effective review procedure. That is what our SWMS design templates do.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
When a safe work technique 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 appointed. This person is then responsible for gathering, assessing, keeping an eye on and examining any SWMS in place.
A PC and PCBU can entrust procedures and work activities, BUT the duty for SWMS quality and execution remains with them.
The Principal Professional (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is responsible for:.
Preparing SWMS documents before work starts,.
Guaranteeing anyones included satisfy their duties regularly,.
Recognizing and managing hazards and risks according to the file, and.
Evaluating and adjusting the SWMS for ongoing effectiveness with time (Note: employees need to be spoken with – including professionals and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK APPROACH STATEMENTS AND HIGH-RISK BUILDING WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and wellness Regulations (2011) and the Design WHS Laws (last updated in 2022) need utilizing SWMS documents for a range of high-risk construction work activities. Specifically, Regulation 291 details 19 High-Risk Category activities and an SWMS need to be prepared before any such work is undertaken.
You can follow the Guideline 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 AND CONSTRUCTION WORK?
There are 19 activities categorized as high-risk building and construction work (HRCW), and they all include hazards and risks with significant potential for considerable damage. For clarity, we minimize this 19-item list into 5 hazard groupings. They are activities that:.
It may result in falling,.
May establish due to distance (or being close to something/someone),.
Result from making use of a powered mobile plant, specific devices or products,.
Prevail when handling particular structures and services, and.
Occur in a series of environmental specifics.
To break this down more specifically, these 5 activity groups include the following scenarios: an SWMS is needed in such situations:.
When there is a danger 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 alterations are used to prevent a collapse.
Wherever a tunnel is involved.
When powered mobile plant work is being done or the plant is being moved.
If rail traffic or neighboring road users could be damaged.
Whenever asbestos is being disrupted or gotten rid of.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever dynamites are used or demolition work is being carried out.
When work occurs on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines, energised electrical services, pressurised gas distribution mains, piping or telecommunications towers.
If an office might have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere, artificial temperature extremes or a confined area.
A safe work technique statement need to be kept in these prescribed situations. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk building work item or incorporate numerous items in a single SWMS. The most important thing to keep in mind is that these risks are recognized, and the risks are controlled.
If you want to see the detailed list, follow this Regulation 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE REQUESTED A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not unusual for clients to state separate SWMS that exceed the legal minimums for building and construction jobs – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender procedure is open, worked out, selective or staged. These extraordinary expectations can consist of requests for safe work approach declarations beyond the specified high-risk building work activities. We know from conversations with our clients that this is increasingly occurring and that there requires to be more clarity around the issue.
These expectations and confusion aren’t assisted by SWMS design template providers that don’t inform you their additional offerings are not required or who oversell with needless SWMS files. Both are practices we do refrain from doing.
We constantly inform our customers that there are two kinds of compliance; what is lawfully needed and what your customers anticipate. Both are very genuine and pertinent to win work!
WHEN CLIENTS ASK FOR MORE.
They’re paying for the work, so they can state whatever control measures they desire. In theory, they can even require a SWMS for taking a dump (and no, we’re not talking about rubbish elimination).
When the marketplace demands additional SWMS or market control measures change, we typically swiftly attend to the need. At other times we have helped them use a generic SWMS design template to fulfill the demand.
There have also been times when we have actually coached our clients on challenging the tender requirement, and sometimes, changes result. In some cases it is an honest mistake by an overzealous tender writer, and when the proposed measures are nicely questioned, they are withdrawn. Numerous do not understand the policies and know there are less tiresome approaches of managing risks to health and safety.
Here, as always, we recommend you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to take pleasure in higher clarity and performance in your purchase journey.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk construction work is performed (as specified by the WHS. Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are just one of numerous readily available risk control measures. Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they assist other controls work and empower the individuals who use them. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk building work item or incorporate many products in a single SWMS. These remarkable expectations can include requests for safe work technique statements beyond the specified high-risk building work activities.
For more information, contact:Occupational Safety SolutionsLevel 3/55 Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Pyrmont NSW 20091800 304 336www.occupational-safety.com.au