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 construction or somewhere else, they can be one of your most effective and effective control steps, and when you do SWMSs well, almost whatever else you do will tend to follow.
Let’s rapidly take a 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?
The use of SWMSs in high-risk building and construction.
When they’re asked for elsewhere.
Some market package and system options.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Technique Declaration (SWMS) is a document that explains how specific office activities are to be performed. The document recognizes:
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 SWMS documents are main to your system. In certain instances, they are required. Secondly, they work, effective and useful in their execution.
An SWMS is needed whenever high-risk building and construction work is performed (as defined by the WHS. Act, which we’ll describe quickly). This implies the Person Performing a Company or Undertaking (the PCBU) need to guarantee the preparation, following, and retention of these SWMS and their routine and systematic evaluation.
SWMSs are likewise one of the most efficient of all control steps. They are the most typical and prominent of administrative controls. When their use becomes a work-culture centrepiece, they can powerfully allow and evidence your responsibility of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Enabling yourself a little creative imagination, think about how you control risks as being like strapping on a bulletproof vest. Your Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are like those velcro straps that hold the vest comfortably and successfully in place.
However 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 focused than a SWMS. They concentrate on isolated jobs and procedures. An SWMS is different since:
It is more comprehensive in its treatment of activities,
It is extremely concentrated on recognizing and monitoring control steps.
It can cover both specific activities as well as combination and complex activities (which most high-risk building and construction work activities are).
WHAT MUST AN SWMS INCLUDE?
Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are just one of different readily available risk control measures. When used effectively, 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 inefficient technique. A safe work approach declaration does this by offering the required info, instructions, and a means of recording actions in a foreseeable and fuss-free format. They will:.
Recognize the High-Risk Construction Work (HRCW) function – if it is one.
Identify hazards and unsafe work practices.
Detail the very best control measures, in addition to backup controls.
Explain what goes into the execution of risk management strategies.
Detail the person or service doing the work and the person responsible.
At a construction task, detail the principal contractor, worksite address, the date of preparation and when provided to the primary specialist.
List the names of employees sought advice from, the dates and the signatures.
Program any review date and sum up any modifications made.
SWMS danger control techniques, based on the hierarchy of control, normally look for to:.
Eliminate risks (possibly by utilizing engineering controls),.
Lower them (for instance, by creating traffic corridors),.
Administratively reduce them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Recommend Personal Protective Devices (PPE).
A well-designed SWMS template is simple to prepare, uncomplicated for relevant workers to carry out, and will enable an effective and reliable review procedure. That is what our SWMS design templates do.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
When a safe work method statement is required, the PCBU must 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, evaluating, keeping an eye on and evaluating any SWMS in place.
A PC and PCBU can hand over processes and work activities, BUT the obligation for SWMS quality and execution remains with them.
The Principal Professional (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is responsible for:.
Preparing SWMS files prior to work begins,.
Making sure anybodies included fulfil their responsibilities consistently,.
Determining and managing threats and risks as per the document, and.
Reviewing and adjusting the SWMS for continuous efficiency in time (Note: workers must be sought advice from – consisting of specialists and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK TECHNIQUE DECLARATIONS AND HIGH-RISK CONSTRUCTION WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and Safety Laws (2011) and the Design WHS Regulations (last updated in 2022) need utilizing SWMS files for a range of high-risk building and 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 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 WORK?
There are 19 activities classified as high-risk building and construction work (HRCW), and they all involve hazards and dangers with substantial capacity for considerable damage. For clearness, we decrease this 19-item list into five threat groupings. They are activities that:.
It might lead to falling,.
May develop due to proximity (or being close to something/someone),.
Result from using a powered mobile plant, particular equipment or products,.
Are common when handling specific structures and services, and.
Take place in a range of environmental specifics.
To break this down more specifically, these 5 activity groups involve the following situations: an SWMS is needed in such situations:.
When there is a threat of a person falling more than 2 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 utilized 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 close-by road users could be harmed.
Whenever asbestos is being interrupted or removed.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever explosives are used or demolition work is being carried out.
When work happens 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 flammable environment, synthetic temperature level extremes or a confined space.
A safe work method declaration should be kept in these prescribed scenarios. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk building work item or incorporate many items in a single SWMS. The most important thing to bear in mind is that these dangers are determined, and the risks are managed.
If you want to see the detailed list, follow this Policy 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE ASKED FOR A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not unusual for clients to state separate SWMS that surpass the legal minimums for building tasks – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender process is open, worked out, selective or staged. These extraordinary expectations can consist of ask for safe work technique declarations beyond the specified high-risk building and construction work activities. We know from conversations with our clients that this is significantly happening which there needs to be more clarity around the issue.
These expectations and confusion aren’t assisted by SWMS design template providers that don’t inform you their additional offerings are not required or who oversell with needless SWMS documents. Both are practices we do refrain from doing.
We always inform our customers that there are 2 forms of compliance; what is lawfully needed and what your customers expect. Both are very real and appropriate to win work!
WHEN CUSTOMERS ASK FOR MORE.
They’re paying for the work, so they can specify whatever control measures they want. Theoretically, they can even demand a SWMS for taking a dump (and no, we’re not talking about rubbish elimination).
When the marketplace needs additional SWMS or industry control determines modification, we normally swiftly address the requirement. At other times we have assisted them use a generic SWMS design template to meet the demand.
There have likewise been times when we have coached our customers on challenging the tender requirement, and in some cases, changes result. Sometimes it is a truthful error by an overzealous tender writer, and when the proposed procedures are politely questioned, they are withdrawn. Numerous do not understand the policies and know there are less tiresome methods of handling dangers to health and safety.
Here, as constantly, we suggest you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to enjoy higher clearness and effectiveness 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 simply one of numerous available danger control measures. Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they assist other controls work and empower the people who utilize them. The SWMS can be particular to each high-risk building and construction work product or incorporate many items in a single SWMS. These extraordinary expectations can include requests for safe work approach statements beyond the stated 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