There needs to be more clarity around SWMS documents and their usage, and we ‘d like to supply that. Whether you use them in high-risk building and construction or in other places, they can be among your most reliable and effective control steps, and when you do SWMSs well, practically everything else you do will tend to follow.
Let’s rapidly take a look at the following:
What they are.
Why are they main 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?
The use of SWMSs in high-risk construction.
When they’re requested in other places.
Some industry package and system solutions.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Approach Statement (SWMS) is a document that discusses how specific work environment activities are to be performed. The file identifies:
The actions being satisfied.
The threats they produce, and
How to control those risks.
WHY ARE SWMS CENTRAL TO YOUR WHS SYSTEM?
There are 2 reasons why SWMS documents are central to your system. In particular instances, they are needed. Second of all, they work, efficient 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 discuss quickly). This implies the Person Performing a Business or Endeavor (the PCBU) need to ensure the preparation, following, and retention of these SWMS and their regular and methodical review.
SWMSs are likewise among the most effective of all control measures. They are the most common and prominent of administrative controls. When their use becomes a work-culture centrepiece, they can strongly make it possible for and evidence your task of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Permitting yourself a little innovative creativity, think about how you manage risks as resembling strapping on a bulletproof vest. The majority of your WHS. or OH&S risk controls resemble the padding and absorption features of the vest. Your Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are like those velcro straps that hold the vest easily and effectively in location.
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 Security Analysis (J.S.A.) and a Safe Operating Treatment (S.O.P.) are more concentrated than a SWMS. They focus on isolated jobs and procedures. An SWMS is various because:
It is wider in its treatment of activities,
It is extremely focused on identifying and keeping an eye on control procedures.
It can cover both particular activities as well as mix and complex activities (which most high-risk building work activities are).
WHAT MUST AN SWMS INCLUDE?
Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are simply one of various available danger control measures. That stated, they are also (arguably) the centrepiece. When used successfully, 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. They bring physical integrity to what would otherwise be a loose-fitting and inadequate technique. A safe work method statement does this by providing the needed details, guidelines, and a means of taping actions in a predictable and fuss-free format. They will:.
Identify the High-Risk Building Work (HRCW) role – if it is one.
Determine dangers and hazardous work practices.
Detail the very best control measures, as well as backup controls.
Explain what goes into the execution of risk management strategies.
Information the individual or organization doing the work and the individual responsible.
At a construction project, information the primary specialist, worksite address, the date of preparation and when offered to the primary professional.
Note the names of employees spoken with, the dates and the signatures.
Program any evaluation date and summarise any modifications made.
SWMS threat control methods, based on the hierarchy of control, normally look for to:.
Get rid of dangers (perhaps by utilizing engineering controls),.
Minimize them (for instance, by developing traffic corridors),.
Administratively reduce them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Suggest Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
A well-designed SWMS design template is easy to prepare, simple for pertinent workers to execute, and will allow an efficient and effective review process. That is what our SWMS design templates do.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
When a safe work approach declaration 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 selected. This person is then responsible for collecting, evaluating, monitoring and evaluating any SWMS in place.
A PC and PCBU can entrust procedures and work activities, BUT the responsibility for SWMS quality and implementation remains with them.
The Principal Specialist (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is responsible for:.
Preparing SWMS files before work begins,.
Making sure any persons included fulfil their responsibilities consistently,.
Recognizing and controlling dangers and risks according to the file, and.
Reviewing and changing the SWMS for ongoing effectiveness in time (Note: workers need to be sought advice from – including professionals and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK METHOD STATEMENTS AND HIGH-RISK BUILDING WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and wellness Laws (2011) and the Model WHS Regulations (last upgraded in 2022) require using SWMS documents for a variety of high-risk construction work activities. Particularly, Regulation 291 details 19 High-Risk Category activities and an SWMS need to be prepared prior to any such work is undertaken.
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 classified as high-risk construction work (HRCW), and they all involve risks and threats with considerable capacity for substantial damage. For clarity, we reduce this 19-item list into 5 risk groupings. They are activities that:.
It may lead to falling,.
Might develop due to distance (or being close to something/someone),.
Result from using a powered mobile plant, specific devices or products,.
Prevail when dealing with particular structures and services, and.
Take place in a range of environmental specifics.
To break this down more particularly, these 5 activity groups include the following circumstances: an SWMS is required 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 under a liquid, a structural collapse or as a result of diving work.
Where structural modifications 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 neighboring roadway users could be harmed.
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 happens on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines, energised electrical services, pressurised gas circulation mains, piping or telecom towers.
If an office might have a polluted or flammable environment, artificial temperature extremes or a confined area.
A safe work approach declaration must be kept in these recommended situations. The SWMS can be particular to each high-risk construction work product or include numerous items in a single SWMS. The most essential thing to remember is that these risks are recognized, and the dangers are controlled.
If you wish to see the breakdown, follow this Policy 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE REQUESTED A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not unusual for clients to state different SWMS that go beyond the legal minimums for building tasks – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender process is open, worked out, selective or staged. These remarkable expectations can consist of requests for safe work technique statements beyond the specified high-risk building and construction work activities. We understand from discussions with our customers that this is progressively occurring and that there requires to be more clarity around the problem.
These expectations and confusion aren’t helped by SWMS template suppliers that do not inform you their additional offerings are not required or who oversell with needless SWMS documents. Both are practices we do refrain from doing.
We constantly tell our customers that there are two kinds of compliance; what is legally needed and what your customers anticipate. Both are very genuine and pertinent to win work!
WHEN CUSTOMERS ASK FOR MORE.
They’re paying for the work, so they can stipulate whatever control measures they want. Theoretically, they can even require a SWMS for taking a dump (and no, we’re not talking about rubbish removal).
When the market needs extra SWMS or market control determines modification, we usually quickly deal with the need. At other times we have actually helped them use a generic SWMS template to satisfy the need.
There have also been times when we have coached our customers on challenging the tender requirement, and in some cases, modifications result. In some cases it is a sincere error by an overzealous tender writer, and when the proposed measures are nicely questioned, they are withdrawn. Numerous do not understand the regulations and understand there are less laborious techniques of handling dangers to health and safety.
Here, as always, we recommend you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to take pleasure in greater clearness and performance in your purchase journey.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk building work is performed (as defined by the WHS. Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are simply one of numerous readily available threat control procedures. Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they help other controls work and empower the people who use them. The SWMS can be particular to each high-risk building work product or include lots of products in a single SWMS. These remarkable expectations can include requests for safe work method declarations 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