There needs to be more clarity around SWMS documents and their usage, and we want to offer that. Whether you use them in high-risk building or elsewhere, they can be one of your most effective and efficient control measures, and when you do SWMSs well, practically everything else you do will tend to follow.
Let’s rapidly 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?
Using SWMSs in high-risk building and construction.
When they’re asked for somewhere else.
Some market bundle and system solutions.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Technique Declaration (SWMS) is a document that explains how specific office activities are to be performed. The file determines:
The actions being satisfied.
The dangers they produce, and
How to manage those risks.
WHY ARE SWMS CENTRAL TO YOUR WHS SYSTEM?
There are two reasons why SWMS documents are central to your system. To start with, in certain circumstances, they are required. They are reliable, efficient and practical in their implementation.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk building work is performed (as defined by the WHS. Act, which we’ll describe quickly). This means the Person Performing a Company or Undertaking (the PCBU) need to make sure the preparation, following, and retention of these SWMS and their routine and systematic review.
SWMSs are also among the most effective of all control steps. They are the most common and prominent of administrative controls. When their use becomes a work-culture centrepiece, they can powerfully enable and proof your duty of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Allowing yourself a little innovative creativity, think about how you control threats as resembling strapping on a bulletproof vest. The majority of your WHS. or OH&S threat controls resemble the padding and absorption functions of the vest. However, your Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) resemble those velcro straps that hold the vest conveniently and efficiently in place.
But they can be overdone. More on that quickly.
HOW IS A SWMS DIFFERENT FROM A J.S.A. OR S.O.P.?
A Task Safety Analysis (J.S.A.) and a Safe Operating Procedure (S.O.P.) are more focused than a SWMS. They focus on isolated tasks and procedures. An SWMS is different since:
It is broader in its treatment of activities,
It is highly focused on determining and keeping an eye on control measures.
It can cover both specific activities in addition to mix 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 available threat control measures. When used efficiently, they bring structure and stability to other WHS.
Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they help other controls work and empower the individuals who utilize them. A safe work approach declaration does this by providing the required information, instructions, and a way of tape-recording actions in a foreseeable and fuss-free format.
Identify the High-Risk Building Work (HRCW) role – if it is one.
Determine dangers and risky work practices.
Information the very best control procedures, as well as backup controls.
Describe what enters into the implementation of danger management plans.
Detail the person or organization doing the work and the individual accountable.
At a construction task, information the principal professional, worksite address, the date of preparation and when provided to the principal specialist.
List the names of workers sought advice from, the dates and the signatures.
Program any review date and sum up any changes made.
SWMS threat control methods, based on the hierarchy of control, usually seek to:.
Get rid of hazards (possibly by using engineering controls),.
Lower them (for example, by producing traffic corridors),.
Administratively minimise them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Suggest Personal Protective Devices (PPE).
A well-designed SWMS design template is easy to prepare, uncomplicated for relevant workers to execute, and will make it possible for an efficient and efficient evaluation process. That is what our SWMS design templates do.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
When a safe work method declaration is required, the PCBU needs to prepare it; where there is more than one PBCU, or the work costs $250,000 or more, a Principal Professional (PC) is designated. This person is then responsible for collecting, assessing, monitoring and reviewing any SWMS in place.
A PC and PCBU can delegate processes and work activities, BUT the obligation for SWMS quality and implementation remains with them.
The Principal Specialist (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is accountable for:.
Preparing SWMS files prior to work starts,.
Guaranteeing anybodies included satisfy their tasks consistently,.
Recognizing and controlling threats and risks as per the document, and.
Evaluating and changing the SWMS for ongoing effectiveness in time (Note: workers need to be spoken with – consisting of professionals and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK APPROACH STATEMENTS AND HIGH-RISK CONSTRUCTION WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and wellness Laws (2011) and the Model WHS Laws (last upgraded in 2022) require utilizing SWMS documents for a range of high-risk construction work activities. Specifically, Guideline 291 information 19 High-Risk Classification activities and an SWMS need to be prepared before any such work is carried out.
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 CONSTRUCTION WORK?
There are 19 activities categorized as high-risk construction work (HRCW), and they all involve dangers and dangers with significant capacity for considerable damage. For clearness, we lower this 19-item list into 5 risk groupings. They are activities that:.
It may result in falling,.
May develop due to distance (or being close to something/someone),.
Arise from making use of a powered mobile plant, specific equipment or materials,.
Prevail when handling specific structures and services, and.
Occur in a variety of environmental specifics.
To break this down more specifically, these 5 activity groups involve the following circumstances: an SWMS is needed in such situations:.
When there is a danger of a person falling more than two metres or falling into a trench or shaft of excavated depth greater than 1.5 m.
If somebody might drown by falling into 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 neighboring roadway users could be harmed.
Whenever asbestos is being interrupted or gotten rid of.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever dynamites are used or demolition work is being performed.
When work happens on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines, energised electrical services, pressurised gas circulation mains, piping or telecommunications towers.
If an office might have an infected or flammable atmosphere, artificial temperature level extremes or a confined area.
A safe work technique declaration should be maintained in these recommended situations. The SWMS can be particular to each high-risk building and construction work item or include numerous items in a single SWMS. The most essential thing to remember is that these threats are recognized, and the risks are managed.
If you wish to see the breakdown, follow this Policy 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE REQUESTED A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not uncommon for customers to specify separate SWMS that go beyond the legal minimums for building and construction tasks – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender procedure is open, negotiated, selective or staged. These remarkable expectations can include requests for safe work technique statements beyond the specified high-risk construction work activities. We know from discussions with our customers that this is significantly happening which there needs to be more clarity around the problem.
These expectations and confusion aren’t assisted by SWMS design template providers that don’t tell you their additional offerings are not required or who oversell with needless SWMS files. Both are practices we do refrain from doing.
We always inform our customers that there are two kinds of compliance; what is lawfully required and what your customers expect. Both are very real and appropriate to win work!
WHEN CLIENTS REQUEST MORE.
They’re paying for the work, so they can stipulate whatever control measures they desire. In theory, they can even demand a SWMS for taking a dump (and no, we’re not talking about rubbish removal).
When the market needs extra SWMS or market control measures change, we generally swiftly attend to the requirement. At other times we have actually helped them use a generic SWMS template to fulfill the demand.
There have actually likewise been times when we have actually coached our customers on challenging the tender requirement, and in some cases, changes result. Sometimes it is a sincere error by an overzealous tender author, and when the proposed steps are nicely questioned, they are withdrawn. Lots of do not understand the policies and know there are less tiresome approaches of handling threats to health and wellness.
Here, as always, we advise you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to delight in higher clarity and performance in your purchase journey.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk building work is carried out (as specified by the WHS. Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are just one of numerous available risk control procedures. Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they help other controls work and empower the people who utilize them. The SWMS can be particular to each high-risk construction work item or include numerous items in a single SWMS. These extraordinary expectations can include requests for safe work method declarations beyond the stated 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