There needs to be more clearness around SWMS documents and their usage, and we ‘d like to supply that. Whether you use them in high-risk building or elsewhere, they can be one of your most effective and efficient control measures, and when you do SWMSs well, nearly everything else you do will tend to follow.
Let’s quickly 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 asked for in other places.
Some market plan and system solutions.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a file that discusses how particular workplace activities are to be carried out. The file determines:
The actions being satisfied.
The dangers they produce, and
How to control those risks.
WHY ARE SWMS CENTRAL TO YOUR WHS SYSTEM?
There are two reasons why SWMS documents are central to your system. In particular instances, they are required. Second of all, they work, effective and practical in their application.
An SWMS is needed whenever high-risk building work is performed (as specified by the WHS. Act, which we’ll describe soon). This suggests the Individual Conducting a Business or Undertaking (the PCBU) should guarantee the preparation, following, and retention of these SWMS and their routine and systematic review.
SWMSs are likewise among the most efficient of all control steps. They are the most common and prominent of administrative controls. When their use becomes a work-culture centrepiece, they can powerfully make it possible for and proof your duty of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Enabling yourself a little imaginative creativity, believe about how you control dangers as being like strapping on a bulletproof vest. Your Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are like those velcro straps that hold the vest conveniently and successfully in place.
But they can be exaggerated. More on that quickly.
HOW IS A SWMS DIFFERENT FROM A J.S.A. OR S.O.P.?
A Task Safety Analysis (J.S.A.) and a Safe Operating Procedure (S.O.P.) are more focused than a SWMS. They focus on separated tasks and processes. An SWMS is different due to the fact that:
It is broader in its treatment of activities,
It is extremely concentrated on recognizing and monitoring control procedures.
It can cover both specific activities along with mix and complex activities (which most high-risk construction work activities are).
WHAT MUST AN SWMS INCLUDE?
Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are simply one of numerous readily available danger control measures. That said, they are also (arguably) the centrepiece. When utilized efficiently, they bring structure and stability to other WHS. and OH&S activities.
Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they assist other controls work and empower the people who use them. A safe work approach declaration does this by providing the needed information, directions, and a way of taping actions in a predictable and fuss-free format.
Identify the High-Risk Construction Work (HRCW) function – if it is one.
Determine dangers and risky work practices.
Information the best control steps, as well as backup controls.
Explain what enters into the application of threat management plans.
Detail the individual or business doing the work and the individual accountable.
At a building and construction job, information the principal professional, worksite address, the date of preparation and when offered to the primary professional.
List the names of workers sought advice from, the dates and the signatures.
Program any review date and sum up any modifications made.
SWMS threat control methods, as per the hierarchy of control, normally seek to:.
Remove threats (possibly by utilizing engineering controls),.
Reduce them (for instance, by creating traffic corridors),.
Administratively reduce them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Recommend Personal Protective Devices (PPE).
A properly designed SWMS template is easy to prepare, straightforward for relevant employees to carry out, and will enable an efficient and efficient review process. That is what our SWMS templates do.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
When a safe work method declaration is needed, the PCBU needs to 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 collecting, examining, monitoring and evaluating any SWMS in place.
A PC and PCBU can entrust processes and work activities, BUT the obligation for SWMS quality and execution stays with them.
The Principal Contractor (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is responsible for:.
Preparing SWMS documents before work starts,.
Making sure anyones involved satisfy their responsibilities consistently,.
Identifying and managing threats and risks as per the file, and.
Reviewing and changing the SWMS for ongoing efficiency over time (Note: employees should be spoken with – consisting of professionals and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK TECHNIQUE DECLARATIONS AND HIGH-RISK BUILDING WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and wellness Regulations (2011) and the Design WHS Laws (last upgraded in 2022) require using SWMS files for a series of high-risk building work activities. Particularly, Policy 291 information 19 High-Risk Category activities and an SWMS must be prepared prior to any such work is carried out.
You can follow the Guideline 291 link to see the specific list, but for ease of understanding, we’ll summarise them as follows.
WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE DEEMED HIGH-RISK BUILDING WORK?
There are 19 activities categorized as high-risk building and construction work (HRCW), and they all include risks and threats with substantial potential for substantial harm. For clarity, we decrease this 19-item list into five threat groupings. They are activities that:.
It may lead to falling,.
May establish due to distance (or being close to something/someone),.
Result from using a powered mobile plant, specific equipment or materials,.
Prevail when handling specific structures and services, and.
Occur in a variety of ecological specifics.
To break this down more specifically, these five activity groups involve the following circumstances: an SWMS is required in such situations:.
When there is a risk of an individual falling more than two metres or falling into 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 utilized 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 close-by road users could be damaged.
Whenever asbestos is being disturbed or removed.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever explosives are utilized or demolition work is being carried out.
When work takes place on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines, energised electrical services, pressurised gas circulation mains, piping or telecom towers.
If an office might have an infected or combustible atmosphere, artificial temperature level extremes or a confined area.
A safe work technique declaration need to be kept in these recommended circumstances. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk building and construction work item or incorporate many products in a single SWMS. The most essential thing to bear in mind is that these risks are recognized, and the risks are controlled.
If you want to see the breakdown, follow this Regulation 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE REQUESTED A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not uncommon for clients to specify different SWMS that surpass the legal minimums for building and construction tasks – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender procedure is open, negotiated, selective or staged. These extraordinary expectations can include ask for safe work approach declarations beyond the stated high-risk building and construction work activities. We understand from discussions with our consumers that this is increasingly occurring which there requires to be more clearness around the problem.
These expectations and confusion aren’t helped by SWMS template providers that do not tell you their extra offerings are not required or who oversell with needless SWMS documents. Both are practices we do refrain from doing.
We always tell our customers that there are two types of compliance; what is legally needed and what your clients anticipate. Both are extremely genuine and appropriate 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 removal).
When the market demands additional SWMS or industry control determines change, we generally swiftly address the need. Sometimes we also establish particular services for particular clients. At other times we have helped them utilize a generic SWMS template to meet the demand. Ultimately, we aim to be as practical as we can afford to be.
There have also been times when we have coached our customers on challenging the tender requirement, and in some cases, changes result. In some cases it is a sincere mistake by an overzealous tender author, and when the proposed steps are pleasantly questioned, they are withdrawn. Many do not understand the regulations and know there are less tiresome techniques of managing risks to health and wellness.
Here, as always, we advise you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to enjoy higher clearness and performance in your purchase journey.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk building work is carried out (as defined by the WHS. Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are just one of various readily available risk control steps. 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 product or encompass many products in a single SWMS. These amazing expectations can include demands for safe work method statements beyond the stated high-risk building and construction work activities.
For more information, contact:Occupational Safety SolutionsLevel 3/55 Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Pyrmont NSW 20091800 304 336www.occupational-safety.com.au