There needs to be more clearness around SWMS documents and their use, and we want to provide that. Whether you utilize them in high-risk building and construction or elsewhere, they can be one of your most reliable and efficient control measures, and when you do SWMSs well, almost everything else you do will tend to follow.
Let’s rapidly 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 building.
When they’re requested somewhere else.
Some market package and system services.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Approach Declaration (SWMS) is a file that explains how specific workplace activities are to be performed. The document determines:
The actions being fulfilled.
The risks they produce, and
How to control those risks.
WHY ARE SWMS CENTRAL TO YOUR WHS SYSTEM?
There are two reasons that SWMS documents are main to your system. First of all, in certain circumstances, they are needed. They are reliable, effective and useful in their execution.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk building and construction work is carried out (as defined by the WHS. Act, which we’ll explain soon). This means the Individual Performing a Company or Undertaking (the PCBU) should 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 procedures. They are the most typical and influential of administrative controls. When their use becomes a work-culture centrepiece, they can strongly allow and evidence your duty of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Permitting yourself a little innovative imagination, believe about how you manage dangers as being like strapping on a bulletproof vest. Your Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are like those velcro straps that hold the vest conveniently and efficiently in place.
They can be overdone. More on that soon.
HOW IS A SWMS DIFFERENT FROM A J.S.A. OR S.O.P.?
A Job Security Analysis (J.S.A.) and a Safe Operating Procedure (S.O.P.) are more focused than a SWMS. They focus on separated tasks and processes. An SWMS is various since:
It is broader in its treatment of activities,
It is extremely concentrated on determining and keeping track of control steps.
It can cover both particular activities as well as mix and complex activities (which most high-risk construction work activities are).
WHAT MUST AN SWMS INCLUDE?
Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are just among different readily available danger control measures. That said, they are likewise (perhaps) 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 individuals who utilize them. They bring physical stability to what would otherwise be a loose-fitting and ineffective method. A safe work method declaration does this by offering the needed information, instructions, 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 risks and hazardous work practices.
Information the best control measures, as well as backup controls.
Describe what enters into the application of risk management strategies.
Detail the person or business doing the work and the individual accountable.
At a building and construction task, detail the principal specialist, worksite address, the date of preparation and when provided to the principal professional.
Note the names of workers spoken with, the dates and the signatures.
Program any evaluation date and summarise any changes made.
SWMS risk control strategies, as per the hierarchy of control, normally seek to:.
Eliminate hazards (perhaps by using engineering controls),.
Decrease them (for instance, by producing traffic corridors),.
Administratively reduce them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Suggest Personal Protective Devices (PPE).
A properly designed SWMS template is easy to prepare, uncomplicated for relevant workers to execute, and will enable an effective and effective evaluation procedure. That is what our SWMS templates do.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
When a safe work technique 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 Professional (PC) is appointed. This person is then responsible for collecting, evaluating, keeping track of and reviewing 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 Contractor (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is responsible for:.
Preparing SWMS files before work begins,.
Making sure anyones involved fulfil their duties regularly,.
Identifying and controlling risks and threats according to the document, and.
Evaluating and adjusting the SWMS for ongoing effectiveness over time (Note: workers must be sought advice from – including contractors and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK TECHNIQUE 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 documents for a range of high-risk building work activities. Specifically, Guideline 291 information 19 High-Risk Category 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 and construction work (HRCW), and they all include risks and dangers with substantial capacity for significant harm. For clarity, we minimize this 19-item list into 5 danger groupings. They are activities that:.
It may lead to falling,.
May develop due to distance (or being close to something/someone),.
Result from the use of a powered mobile plant, particular equipment or products,.
Are common when handling specific structures and services, and.
Happen in a series of environmental specifics.
To break this down more particularly, these five activity groups include the following circumstances: an SWMS is needed in such scenarios:.
When there is a danger of a person falling more than two metres or falling under a trench or shaft of excavated depth greater than 1.5 m.
If someone might drown by falling under a liquid, a structural collapse or as a result of diving work.
Where structural alterations are utilized 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 road users could be hurt.
Whenever asbestos is being interrupted or eliminated.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever explosives are utilized or demolition work is being performed.
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 might have a polluted or flammable environment, artificial temperature extremes or a restricted area.
A safe work approach statement must be kept in these recommended circumstances. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk construction work product or include many items in a single SWMS. The most essential thing to remember is that these hazards are determined, and the dangers are managed.
If you want 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 clients to state different SWMS that surpass the legal minimums for construction tasks – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender procedure is open, negotiated, selective or staged. These extraordinary expectations can include ask for safe work method declarations beyond the stated high-risk building and construction work activities. We understand from conversations with our customers that this is increasingly taking place which there requires to be more clearness around the problem.
These expectations and confusion aren’t assisted by SWMS design template suppliers that do not tell you their extra offerings are not required or who oversell with needless SWMS documents. Both are practices we do refrain from doing.
We constantly inform our customers that there are two types of compliance; what is legally needed and what your customers anticipate. Both are really real and pertinent to win work!
WHEN CUSTOMERS REQUEST MORE.
Technically, your client can be as impractical as they like. They’re spending for the work, so they can stipulate whatever control determines they want. Theoretically, 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 initial 19 HRCW activities.
When the marketplace demands additional SWMS or market control measures modification, we generally promptly deal with the need. Sometimes we also develop particular options for specific customers. At other times we have helped them use a generic SWMS design template to meet the need. Ultimately, we aim to be as helpful as we can manage to be.
There have also been times when we have coached our clients on challenging the tender requirement, and sometimes, modifications result. Sometimes it is a truthful mistake by an overzealous tender writer, and when the proposed steps are politely questioned, they are withdrawn. Many do not comprehend the guidelines and know there are less tiresome techniques of handling dangers to health and safety.
Here, as constantly, we suggest you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to enjoy higher clarity and effectiveness in your purchase journey.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk building and construction work is carried out (as defined by the WHS. Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are simply one of different readily available threat control steps. Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they assist other controls work and empower the people who utilize them. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk construction work item or include numerous products in a single SWMS. These remarkable expectations can include requests for safe work approach declarations beyond the specified 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