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Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS)

Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS)

Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS)

What is a Safe Work Method Statement?

Regulations require a written Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) be used for High-Risk Construction Work carried out at a workplace.

A SWMS is a legal document and enables all people involved with specific high-risk construction work to have a full understanding of the hazards and risks involved with the task and provides controls to manage the risk associated with those hazards.

SWMS are also referred to by other terms including, Safe Work Method Statements, Work Method Statements, Safe Work Methods, SWM or WMS.

SWMS Content

Our SWMS are not blank templates and contain the most common hazards and controls to manage risk. We cant see what's happening on your site though, so it's important you include site-specific hazards, assess the risk and make the SWMS specific to the task at hand.

The SWMS sets out the work activities in logical sequences; identifies hazards and describes the corresponding control measures.

The content of a SWMS should be regularly reviewed and needs to include consultation with workers and other persons. If you are changing sites or conducting a new activity, the SWMS content should be checked and amended to suit.

SafetyCulture SWMS include provision for:

  • The name of the principal contractor.
  • Name, address and ABN
  • Details of the person responsible for ensuring monitoring and compliance with the SWMS
  • The date the SWMS was prepared and review dates
  • The signature of each worker

All SafetyCulture SWMS:

  • Identify the high-risk construction work
  • Specify hazards and risks relating to the work
  • Describe the control measures used to control identified risks
  • Describe how the control measures will be monitored and reviewed. 

A Safe Work Method Statement is an important part of workplace safety, assisting with training and compliance requirements for WHS regulations.

How to Write a Safe Work Method Statement

The Ultimate 10-Point Checklist

1. Is your SWMS site-specific?

2. Does the SWMS identify hazards, risks and control measures associated with each work step?

3. Does the SWMS template adequately identify high-risk work as prescribed by the WHS regulations?

4. Does the SWMS identify the risks levels associated with each job task (Have risks been assessed using a risk assessment matrix)?

5. Do the controls demonstrate the use of a hierarchy of control?

6. Does the SWMS show evidence of the appropriate licenses, qualification and training required to understand the job?

7. Does the SWMS outline PPE requirements?

8. Does the SWMS include relevant and current legislation and codes of practice?

9. Does the SWMS include details of all plant, equipment and hazardous substances required to complete the task?

10. Is there a section to sign off by workers to confirm that they have read, and understood the SWMS?

A Safe Work Method Statement is an important part of workplace safety, assisting with training and compliance requirements for WHS regulations.

How to assess hazards and risk

Perform a risk assessment and modify your SWMS at the beginning of each new job or if changes are made to the current job. The risk assessment process can be expressed in the diagram below:

Before starting work, workers should be aware of the people, equipment, materials and work methods at the workplace. Stop and think, "What might cause harm?" Identify anything that could potentially cause an incident

Example: Trip and hazards when constructing a new pathway

Control the hazards

Upon hazard identification, apply control measures to reduce health and safety risks. Stop and think, "What can I do to prevent harm?"

Example: Add safety fencing and signage – Isolate the area to prevent access

Modify the SWMS

Add any new controls and who is responsible for making the change on site

Start work

Once the hazards are controlled, the worker can begin work. Risk assessments are a continuous process to maintain the health and safety of everyone on site.

SWMS available for instant download and supplied in fully editable MS Word format for use in your business.

Looking for an industry-specific SWMS pack? check out our range of Industry packs