A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is like a Job Safety Analysis but specific to the construction industry. It identifies the hazards involved with a task/activity and assists in raising discussion with the workers involved in the activity to determine the most effective and reliable risk control measures. Consultation with workers involved in the task and during the process of developing a SWMS is important and integral to the success of managing risks in a high risk environment.
It is important that a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) reflects the specific circumstances of the workplace in which it will operate — that is, the workplace where high risk construction work is to be carried out, the work environment and the workers carrying out the work.
One SWMS can be prepared to cover a variety of tasks if it takes into account the changing nature of the work environment. Alternatively, a separate SWMS can be prepared for each high risk construction work activity. In this case, organisations should consider situations where different activities impact each other, for example, using powered mobile plant during the construction of a tunnel.
A SWMS must be easily understood by workers, including those from non-English speaking backgrounds. Pictures or diagrams may be an effective way of communicating information.
The SWMS should be kept at the workplace where the high risk construction work will be carried out and may be kept electronically. Ai Group can assist organisations with developing a SWMS to address high risk construction activities.
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