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Getting Started with a Safety Management Plan for Construction

Getting Started with a Safety Management Plan for Construction

Oct 4th 2022

Getting Started with a Safety Management Plan for Construction

What Is a Safety Management Plan (SMP)?

A Safety Management Plan (SMP) is a detailed document that outlines the risks associated with a particular job, the measures in place to eliminate or control those risks, and the health and safety responsibilities of accountable people. The plan demonstrates a commitment to the safety and health of employees, contractors, and visitors. An SMP should be prepared in coordination with workers and health and safety representatives, and it should be evaluated regularly to ensure it is up to date.

An SMP is also known as a WHS Management Plan or a Work Health and Safety Management Plan. It's used to plan all WHS processes and procedures for a worksite, such as construction. It is a legal requirement on all construction sites to ensure that each contractor meets all work, health, and safety policies and procedures.

Safety Management Plan for Construction

A construction safety management plan sets out how to manage work, health, and safety on a building project. This is because many contractors and subcontractors are usually involved, and things can change quickly.

Contractors and subcontractors must prepare and understand the WHS management plan to work safely on the site. The plan should be developed with workers, health and safety representatives, and other relevant stakeholders.

A WHS management plan is a requirement in construction work due to the high-risk nature of the work. Construction workers are susceptible to various injuries, including slips, trips, falls, being hit by falling objects, and electric shocks.

There is also a range of work, health, and safety risks associated with construction. These include exposure to harmful substances, such as asbestos and silica dust, and other activities that can cause noise-induced hearing loss.

Who Is Responsible for a WHS Management Plan?

In the construction industry, this is typically the principal contractor. As the principal contractor for a construction project, you generally have an obligation to prepare and implement a safety management plan under the WHS Act and the WHS Regulations. This plan must be easily understandable by all workers on the project, including contractors and subcontractors.

Safety responsibilities must be defined for several different positions within an organisation. They include:

  • Corporate management, such as the managing director and project director
  • Superintendent or representative of the principal contractor on-site
  • Project managers and site managers
  • WHS committee members, workers, contractors and subcontractors

Benefits of Having a WHS Management Plan

A variety of measures can be taken to improve workplace safety, such as having safe work method statements and risk assessments. However, the most crucial step is ensuring that security is given priority in all workplaces. Only by focusing on safety will the number of workplace fatalities decline.

One of the steps that must be taken is having a WHS management plan. Here are some of its key benefits:

Minimised fatalities

Construction is one of the most dangerous industries, with a fatality rate significantly higher than the national average. According to Safe Work Australia's latest data, the third highest industry for workplace fatalities was construction, with 11 worker fatalities.

Improved workers' morale

Workers feel valued when their employer is taking steps to protect their safety and health. When workers feel valued, they are more likely to have improved morale and be more active, boosting productivity.

Employees give a high-five

Enhanced safety culture

A strong safety culture starts with management commitment and is then reinforced by workers' attitudes and behaviours. A safety management plan can help improve safety culture by promoting positive safety attitudes and behaviours.

Reduced safety-related expenses

According to the Safe Work Australia report, the cost of work injuries and diseases in Australia is estimated at AUD $61 billion, or 4.8% of GDP. The cost of workplace injuries and illnesses is high. Not only are there direct costs, such as medical expenses and workers' compensation, but there are also indirect costs, such as lost productivity.

A safety management plan can help to reduce these costs by preventing injuries and illnesses from occurring in the first place.

Save time and resources

There is less need for investigations and paperwork when there are few to no accidents or injuries. This saves time and resources, which can be better used elsewhere.

When properly implemented, a safety management plan can significantly reduce workplace accidents and injuries.

Greater efficiency

When workers feel safe, they are able to work more efficiently without having to worry about potential accidents. This leads to increased productivity and fewer disruptions.

What Should a WHS Management Plan Include?

At a minimum, your safety management plan should cover the following:

Key information of personnel

Key information includes the names, roles and safety responsibilities of each individual or group. These critical team members may have but are not limited to; the Principal Contractor, Project Manager, WHS Representative and Site Supervisor.

Site-specific health information

This section will have specific information about the site, such as how people can access it and what security measures are in place. It will also cover working hours, training, and competency requirements.

Preparations for consultation, cooperation, and coordination

This explains what type of communication is in place with subcontractors across the project. This would include daily pre-start meetings and weekly toolbox talk consultations. These safety meetings are an opportunity to discuss risks in the workplace, how can these risks be avoided, and how can they continually make improvements.

Managing WHS safety incidents

This section covers how risks and incidents are managed and controlled, how safety incidents are reported, and who is notified. This also includes site safety rules and what happens if an incident occurs.

Injured worker being supported by colleague

Safe work procedures management

This explains developing, implementing and maintaining safe work procedures, such as safe work method statements, JSAs, and other relevant policies. They must be reviewed and updated, and all workers must be trained.

Safety records management

This includes document control and record keeping. The SMP will be recorded, reviewed and updated regularly to keep data accurate.

Additionally, a SMP may include the following:

  • Information on the provision and maintenance of a hazardous material register, safety data sheets, and chemicals storage.
  • Information on workplace security and public safety
  • Information on the safe use and storage of plant
  • Development of a construction traffic management plan
  • Ensuring workers have appropriate licences and training to undertake the construction work.

The WHS Management Plan is essential to any construction project and should be developed in consultation with all relevant parties. Ensuring that all potential workplace hazards are identified and addressed can significantly reduce the risk of accidents or injuries.

Duty to Inform

According to regulations, "The principal contractor for a construction project must ensure each worker on the project is informed about:

(a) the risks to health and safety that are associated with the project; and

(b) the measures that have been or will be put in place to control those risks.”

This means that it is the principal contractor's responsibility to ensure that all workers working on a construction project are aware of any risks to their health and safety, and that measures have been put in place to control those risks.

Reviewing of WHS Management Plan

This duty extends to informing workers about any changes to the risks or control measures that occur during the project. The principal contractor for a construction project has an important responsibility when it comes to workplace safety. According to the law, the contractor must regularly review and revise the project's WHS management plan to ensure that it remains up-to-date.

This is essential to protect workers from potential hazards on the job site. The principal contractor must also ensure that all workers know the latest version of the plan and that they understand and comply with its provisions. By taking these steps, the principal contractor can help to create a safe and healthy work environment for all workers on the construction project.

Maintaining the WHS Management Plan

It is the responsibility of the principal contractor who prepared the safety management plan to maintain it. This means that the SMP must be:

  • Regularly reviewed to ensure that it is still up-to-date and relevant; and
  • Amended as required to reflect changes in the construction project.

The WHS management plan must be made available to any person who is required to comply with it. This includes the persons carrying out construction work and any other person who is engaged in carrying out work in connection with the construction project.

Get Started by Using a Safety Management Plan Template from SafetyDocs!

A safety management plan can be the difference between a safe and successful workplace and one plagued by accidents and injuries. By using a safety management plan template, you can be sure that all the essential components are included in your plan.

SafetyDocs by SafetyCulture offers a range of safety management plan templates that you customise to suit your specific needs. With our easy-to-use templates, you'll be able to develop a comprehensive plan that covers all the bases and ensures your workplace is a safe and

To get started, check out these construction safety management plans:

We are Australia's leading provider of safety documents and templates. Our safety documents feature best practice content and are developed by professionals, so you can be confident that your WHS management plan will meet all the necessary requirements.

Contact us today and see how easy it is to create a safety management plan for your construction project.

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