There requires to be more clarity around SWMS documents and their usage, and we want to provide that. Whether you use them in high-risk building and construction or elsewhere, they can be among your most efficient and efficient control procedures, and when you do SWMSs well, almost 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 consist of?
Who is responsible?
The use of SWMSs in high-risk construction.
When they’re asked for elsewhere.
Some market package and system options.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Technique Statement (SWMS) is a document that discusses how specific office activities are to be performed. The document determines:
The actions being fulfilled.
The risks they produce, and
How to manage those threats.
WHY ARE SWMS CENTRAL TO YOUR WHS SYSTEM?
There are two reasons why SWMS files are main to your system. In specific instances, they are required. They are reliable, efficient and practical in their execution.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk building and construction work is performed (as specified by the WHS. Act, which we’ll discuss soon). This implies the Person Carrying out an Organization or Undertaking (the PCBU) should 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 procedures. They are the most typical and influential of administrative controls. When their usage becomes a work-culture centrepiece, they can strongly allow and proof your duty of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Permitting yourself a little innovative imagination, believe about how you control dangers as being like strapping on a bulletproof vest. Your Safe Work Approach Statements (SWMS) are like those velcro straps that hold the vest comfortably and efficiently in place.
They can be overdone. 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 jobs and procedures. An SWMS is different due to the fact that:
It is broader in its treatment of activities,
It is highly focused on determining and monitoring control procedures.
It can cover both particular activities in addition to mix and complex activities (which most high-risk building work activities are).
WHAT MUST AN SWMS INCLUDE?
Safe Work Approach Statements (SWMS) are simply among numerous available danger control steps. That stated, they are likewise (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 technique statement does this by providing the needed info, directions, and a means of taping actions in a predictable and fuss-free format.
Recognize the High-Risk Building Work (HRCW) function – if it is one.
Recognize risks and hazardous work practices.
Detail the very best control measures, in addition to backup controls.
Explain what enters into the implementation of risk management plans.
Information the individual or company doing the work and the person responsible.
At a construction project, detail the primary professional, worksite address, the date of preparation and when supplied to the primary contractor.
Note the names of workers spoken with, the dates and the signatures.
Program any review date and sum up any modifications made.
SWMS danger control methods, based on the hierarchy of control, usually seek to:.
Eliminate threats (possibly by utilizing engineering controls),.
Minimize them (for instance, by producing traffic corridors),.
Administratively reduce them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Recommend Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
A well-designed SWMS template is easy to prepare, simple for appropriate employees to carry out, and will enable an effective and efficient evaluation procedure. That is what our SWMS templates do.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
When a safe work approach declaration is required, the PCBU should prepare it; where there is more than one PBCU, or the work costs $250,000 or more, a Principal Professional (PC) is appointed. This person is then responsible for gathering, examining, keeping an eye on and examining any SWMS in place.
A PC and PCBU can entrust processes and work activities, BUT the duty for SWMS quality and application remains with them.
The Principal Contractor (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is responsible for:.
Preparing SWMS files prior to work begins,.
Making sure any persons included fulfil their duties consistently,.
Determining and controlling dangers and threats based on the file, and.
Reviewing and changing the SWMS for ongoing effectiveness in time (Note: workers must be consulted – including contractors and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK APPROACH STATEMENTS AND HIGH-RISK BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and wellness Laws (2011) and the Design WHS Laws (last updated in 2022) need using SWMS files for a range of high-risk building work activities. Specifically, Guideline 291 details 19 High-Risk Category activities and an SWMS should be prepared prior to any such work is undertaken.
You can follow the Policy 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 work (HRCW), and they all involve threats and dangers with considerable potential for substantial damage. For clearness, we decrease this 19-item list into five threat groupings. They are activities that:.
It may result in falling,.
May establish due to distance (or being close to something/someone),.
Result from using a powered mobile plant, particular equipment or materials,.
Prevail when dealing with specific structures and services, and.
Occur in a range of environmental specifics.
To break this down more particularly, these 5 activity groups involve the following scenarios: an SWMS is needed in such circumstances:.
When there is a risk of a person falling more than two metres or falling into a trench or shaft of excavated depth greater than 1.5 m.
If somebody might drown by falling into 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 involved.
When powered mobile plant work is being done or the plant is being moved.
If rail traffic or nearby road users could be damaged.
Whenever asbestos is being interrupted or removed.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever dynamites are used 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 telecommunications towers.
If a workspace could have a contaminated or flammable environment, artificial temperature level extremes or a confined area.
A safe work method declaration need to be kept in these recommended scenarios. The SWMS can be particular to each high-risk construction work item or include lots of items in a single SWMS. The most essential thing to bear in mind is that these dangers are identified, and the dangers are controlled.
If you wish to see the breakdown, follow this Regulation 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE REQUESTED FOR A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not uncommon for customers to stipulate different SWMS that exceed the legal minimums for building and construction projects – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender process is open, worked out, selective or staged. These remarkable expectations can include requests for safe work technique statements beyond the stated high-risk building work activities. We understand from conversations with our customers that this is increasingly occurring and that there needs to be more clarity around the issue.
These expectations and confusion aren’t helped by SWMS design template providers that don’t tell you their extra offerings are not needed or who oversell with needless SWMS documents. Both are practices we do not do.
We constantly tell our customers that there are 2 forms of compliance; what is lawfully required and what your customers expect. Both are very real and pertinent to win work!
WHEN CUSTOMERS REQUEST FOR MORE.
Technically, your client can be as unrealistic as they like. They’re paying for the work, so they can specify whatever control determines they desire. In theory, they can even require a SWMS for taking a dump (and no, we’re not speaking about rubbish removal). Our list of available design templates exceeds the original 19 HRCW activities.
When the market demands additional SWMS or market control measures modification, we normally promptly resolve the requirement. At other times we have assisted them use a generic SWMS template to satisfy the demand.
There have actually also been times when we have coached our clients on challenging the tender requirement, and often, modifications result. Sometimes it is an honest mistake by an overzealous tender writer, and when the proposed steps are nicely questioned, they are withdrawn. Many do not comprehend the policies and understand there are less tiresome approaches of managing risks to health and safety.
Here, as always, we advise you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to delight in higher clearness and performance in your purchase journey.
An SWMS is needed whenever high-risk building work is carried out (as specified by the WHS. Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are just one of numerous offered danger control procedures. Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they help other controls work and empower the people who utilize them. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk building work product or incorporate lots of items in a single SWMS. These amazing expectations can include demands for safe work approach 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