A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a written document that sets out the risk components of work activities being carried out at a workplace, the hazards and subsequent risks arising from these activities.
SWMS look to support organisations by facilitating the measures to be put in place to control the identified risks within task performance. Its primary purpose is to help supervisors and workers implement and monitor the control measures established at the workplace to ensure “risky” work is carried out safely.
Why do you need a SWMS?
SWMS are directly able to support a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) by enabling
them to manage risks to health and safety by eliminating or minimising risks so far as is reasonably
SWMS provides baseline documents that aids the PCBU in future instances of training, instruction and
supervision that upholds their Work Health & Safety compliance requirements. It is critical that workers,
supervisors and health & safety representatives are consulted throughout the development of the
SWMS and are supportive of the details contained within the released documentation.
How should you develop a SWMS?
To develop robust and site specific SWMS a visit to site should be facilitated to ensure that
open consultation is enacted, and site specific hazards and controls can be developed.
Particularly, SWMS must be able to take into account the circumstances at the workplace that may affect the way in which the work is being carried out, and provide clear directions as to the means of how a control measure is to be implemented.
Benefits of a SWMS?
Demonstrates control as per the hierarchy of control;
Legally required in High Risk Construction Work (HRCW)
Provides a solid basis for induction. Employees understand and are able to demonstrate how to do the job safely before commencing; and
Assists in meeting legal requirements (risk management).
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