There needs to be more clearness around SWMS files and their use, and we want to provide that. Whether you use them in high-risk building and construction or somewhere else, they can be one of your most efficient 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 different from a J.S.A. and S.O.P
. What must an SWMS include?
Who is accountable?
Using SWMSs in high-risk building.
When they’re requested somewhere else.
Some market package and system options.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Approach Statement (SWMS) is a document that describes how particular office activities are to be performed. The file identifies:
The actions being fulfilled.
The risks they produce, and
How to control those threats.
WHY ARE SWMS CENTRAL TO YOUR WHS SYSTEM?
There are 2 reasons that SWMS files are central to your system. First of all, in certain circumstances, they are required. They are efficient, efficient and practical 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 implies the Individual Performing a Business or Undertaking (the PCBU) should guarantee the preparation, following, and retention of these SWMS and their regular and methodical review.
SWMSs are likewise one of the most effective of all control measures. They are the most typical and prominent of administrative controls. When their usage ends up being a work-culture centrepiece, they can powerfully enable and proof your task of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Enabling yourself a little imaginative imagination, think of how you control threats as resembling strapping on a bulletproof vest. Most of your WHS. or OH&S danger controls are like the padding and absorption functions of the vest. Your Safe Work Approach Statements (SWMS) are like those velcro straps that hold the vest comfortably and efficiently in location.
However they can be overdone. More on that soon.
HOW IS A SWMS DIFFERENT FROM A J.S.A. OR S.O.P.?
A Task Security Analysis (J.S.A.) and a Safe Operating Treatment (S.O.P.) are more focused than a SWMS. They focus on isolated tasks and procedures. An SWMS is various due to the fact that:
It is more comprehensive in its treatment of activities,
It is highly concentrated on identifying and keeping track of control procedures.
It can cover both particular activities along with 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 just one of different offered danger control procedures. When utilized efficiently, they bring structure and stability to other WHS.
Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they assist other controls work and empower the people who utilize them. They bring physical stability to what would otherwise be a loose-fitting and inadequate strategy. A safe work approach declaration does this by offering the required information, guidelines, and a means of tape-recording actions in a predictable and fuss-free format. They will:.
Determine the High-Risk Building And Construction Work (HRCW) function – if it is one.
Identify threats and hazardous work practices.
Detail the best control procedures, as well as backup controls.
Describe what goes into the execution of threat management strategies.
Information the individual or business doing the work and the individual responsible.
At a building job, information the principal contractor, worksite address, the date of preparation and when offered to the primary professional.
Note the names of employees consulted, the dates and the signatures.
Program any evaluation date and summarise any modifications made.
SWMS risk control methods, according to the hierarchy of control, usually seek to:.
Get rid of risks (possibly by utilizing engineering controls),.
Minimize them (for instance, by developing traffic passages),.
Administratively minimise them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Recommend Personal Protective Devices (PPE).
A well-designed SWMS template is easy to prepare, straightforward for appropriate workers to carry out, and will make it possible for an efficient and effective evaluation procedure. That is what our SWMS design templates do.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
When a safe work technique declaration is required, the PCBU needs to prepare it; where there is more than one PBCU, or the work costs $250,000 or more, a Principal Professional (PC) is designated. This person is then responsible for gathering, examining, monitoring and evaluating any SWMS in place.
A PC and PCBU can hand over processes and work activities, BUT the duty for SWMS quality and execution stays with them.
The Principal Professional (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is accountable for:.
Preparing SWMS files before work starts,.
Ensuring any persons involved fulfil their duties consistently,.
Recognizing and controlling threats and risks as per the file, and.
Examining and changing the SWMS for ongoing efficiency over time (Note: workers should be sought advice from – consisting of contractors and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK TECHNIQUE STATEMENTS AND HIGH-RISK CONSTRUCTION WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and Safety Laws (2011) and the Design WHS Laws (last updated in 2022) require using SWMS documents for a variety of high-risk construction work activities. Specifically, Policy 291 details 19 High-Risk Classification activities and an SWMS need to be prepared prior to any such work is undertaken.
You can follow the Regulation 291 link to see the specific list, but for ease of understanding, we’ll summarise them as follows.
WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE CONSIDERED HIGH-RISK BUILDING WORK?
There are 19 activities classified as high-risk building work (HRCW), and they all include threats and risks with considerable capacity for significant harm. For clearness, we decrease this 19-item list into 5 hazard groupings. They are activities that:.
It may lead to falling,.
Might develop due to distance (or being close to something/someone),.
Result from the use of a powered mobile plant, specific devices or products,.
Are common when dealing with specific structures and services, and.
Occur in a series of environmental specifics.
To break this down more specifically, these five activity groups include the following circumstances: an SWMS is needed in such situations:.
When there is a danger of a person falling more than 2 metres or falling into a trench or shaft of excavated depth greater than 1.5 m.
If someone 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 close-by roadway users could be hurt.
Whenever asbestos is being interrupted or removed.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever explosives are utilized or demolition work is being conducted.
When work takes place on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines, energised electrical services, pressurised gas distribution mains, piping or telecom towers.
If a work space could have a polluted or combustible atmosphere, synthetic temperature extremes or a restricted space.
A safe work method declaration need to be kept in these recommended circumstances. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk building work item or encompass numerous products in a single SWMS. The most essential thing to remember is that these hazards are identified, and the dangers are controlled.
If you want to see the breakdown, follow this Policy 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE REQUESTED A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not uncommon for customers to specify separate SWMS that surpass the legal minimums for building and construction jobs – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender process is open, negotiated, selective or staged. These extraordinary expectations can consist of requests for safe work technique declarations beyond the specified high-risk building and construction work activities. We know from discussions with our customers that this is progressively occurring and that there requires to be more clearness around the concern.
These expectations and confusion aren’t helped by SWMS design template suppliers that don’t tell you their additional offerings are not needed or who oversell with needless SWMS documents. Both are practices we do refrain from doing.
We always tell our consumers that there are two kinds of compliance; what is legally required and what your clients expect. Both are extremely real and relevant to win work!
WHEN CUSTOMERS ASK FOR MORE.
Technically, your client can be as unrealistic as they like. They’re paying for the work, so they can stipulate whatever control determines they want. Theoretically, they can even demand a SWMS for taking a dump (and no, we’re not talking about rubbish elimination). Our list of readily available design templates goes beyond the initial 19 HRCW activities.
When the market needs extra SWMS or market control measures change, we generally promptly deal with the need. Often we likewise establish particular options for specific clients. At other times we have helped them use a generic SWMS design template to satisfy the demand. Eventually, we aim to be as helpful as we can pay for to be.
There have likewise been times when we have actually coached our customers on challenging the tender requirement, and in some cases, changes result. In some cases it is a truthful error by an overzealous tender author, and when the proposed measures are pleasantly questioned, they are withdrawn. Numerous do not understand the guidelines and understand there are less laborious approaches of handling threats to health and wellness.
Here, as always, we advise you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to enjoy greater clarity and efficiency in your purchase journey.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk building work is performed (as defined by the WHS. Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are simply one of various available risk control procedures. Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they help other controls work and empower the individuals who utilize them. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk construction work product or include lots of products in a single SWMS. These remarkable expectations can consist of requests for safe work technique statements beyond the stated 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