There requires to be more clarity around SWMS documents and their usage, and we wish to provide that. Whether you use them in high-risk construction or somewhere else, they can be among your most efficient and effective control steps, and when you do SWMSs well, almost whatever else you do will tend to follow.
Let’s quickly 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 consist of?
Who is accountable?
The use of SWMSs in high-risk building.
When they’re requested elsewhere.
Some market bundle and system options.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Method Declaration (SWMS) is a document that explains how particular office activities are to be carried out. The document recognizes:
The actions being fulfilled.
The threats they produce, and
How to manage those risks.
WHY ARE SWMS CENTRAL TO YOUR WHS SYSTEM?
There are 2 reasons that SWMS files are main to your system. To start with, in specific circumstances, they are needed. Secondly, they are effective, effective and practical in their application.
An SWMS is needed whenever high-risk construction work is carried out (as defined by the WHS. Act, which we’ll explain soon). This implies the Person Performing a Business or Undertaking (the PCBU) must guarantee the preparation, following, and retention of these SWMS and their regular and methodical evaluation.
SWMSs are also one of the most efficient of all control measures. They are the most common and prominent of administrative controls. When their usage becomes a work-culture centrepiece, they can strongly enable and evidence your task of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Enabling yourself a little innovative imagination, consider how you control dangers as resembling strapping on a bulletproof vest. The majority of your WHS. or OH&S danger controls resemble the cushioning and absorption features of the vest. Nevertheless, your Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are like those velcro straps that hold the vest easily and successfully in place.
They can be overdone. More on that soon.
HOW IS A SWMS VARIOUS FROM A J.S.A. OR S.O.P.?
A Task Safety Analysis (J.S.A.) and a Safe Operating Treatment (S.O.P.) are more focused than a SWMS. They concentrate on isolated jobs and procedures. An SWMS is different because:
It is more comprehensive in its treatment of activities,
It is extremely focused on determining and keeping an eye on control procedures.
It can cover both particular activities in addition to combination and complex activities (which most high-risk construction work activities are).
WHAT MUST AN SWMS INCLUDE?
Safe Work Approach Statements (SWMS) are just one of various readily available danger control steps. That stated, they are likewise (arguably) the centrepiece. When used 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 integrity to what would otherwise be a loose-fitting and inefficient technique. A safe work approach statement does this by providing the required information, instructions, and a means of taping actions in a predictable and fuss-free format. They will:.
Recognize the High-Risk Construction Work (HRCW) role – if it is one.
Determine hazards and hazardous work practices.
Information the very best control steps, as well as backup controls.
Explain what goes into the implementation of risk management strategies.
Information the individual or service doing the work and the person accountable.
At a building and construction project, detail the primary specialist, worksite address, the date of preparation and when provided to the primary professional.
List the names of workers consulted, the dates and the signatures.
Program any review date and summarise any modifications made.
SWMS risk control methods, as per the hierarchy of control, typically seek to:.
Remove threats (maybe by using engineering controls),.
Lower them (for instance, by developing traffic corridors),.
Administratively reduce them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Suggest Personal Protective Devices (PPE).
A properly designed SWMS design template is simple to prepare, simple for relevant workers to carry out, and will make it possible for an effective and reliable evaluation procedure. That is what our SWMS templates do.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
When a safe work method declaration is required, the PCBU should prepare it; where there is more than one PBCU, or the work costs $250,000 or more, a Principal Specialist (PC) is designated. This person is then responsible for gathering, assessing, keeping an eye on and reviewing any SWMS in place.
A PC and PCBU can entrust procedures and work activities, BUT the duty for SWMS quality and implementation remains with them.
The Principal Specialist (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is responsible for:.
Preparing SWMS files prior to work starts,.
Guaranteeing any persons included satisfy their responsibilities regularly,.
Recognizing and managing threats and dangers as per the document, and.
Reviewing and changing the SWMS for continuous efficiency gradually (Note: workers should be sought advice from – consisting of professionals and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK TECHNIQUE DECLARATIONS AND HIGH-RISK BUILDING WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and Safety Laws (2011) and the Design WHS Laws (last updated in 2022) need utilizing SWMS files for a range of high-risk building and construction work activities. Specifically, Policy 291 details 19 High-Risk Category activities and an SWMS must be prepared prior to any such work is carried out.
You can follow the Policy 291 link to see the specific list, but for ease of understanding, we’ll summarise them as follows.
WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE DEEMED HIGH-RISK BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION WORK?
There are 19 activities categorized as high-risk building and construction work (HRCW), and they all include dangers and threats with considerable potential for considerable harm. For clearness, we reduce this 19-item list into five risk groupings. They are activities that:.
It may lead to falling,.
Might develop due to proximity (or being close to something/someone),.
Result from using a powered mobile plant, specific devices or materials,.
Are common when handling particular structures and services, and.
Occur in a series of ecological specifics.
To break this down more particularly, these 5 activity groups involve the following situations: an SWMS is required in such scenarios:.
When there is a threat of an individual falling more than 2 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 modifications are used 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 nearby road users could be damaged.
Whenever asbestos is being disrupted or gotten rid of.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever explosives are utilized or demolition work is being carried out.
When work takes place on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines, energised electrical services, pressurised gas distribution mains, piping or telecommunications towers.
If a work area could have an infected or combustible atmosphere, artificial temperature level extremes or a confined area.
A safe work approach declaration should be retained in these prescribed circumstances. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk building work item or encompass lots of products in a single SWMS. The most essential thing to bear in mind is that these threats are determined, and the threats are managed.
If you wish to see the detailed list, follow this Policy 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE REQUESTED A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not unusual for clients to state different SWMS that surpass the legal minimums for building and construction tasks – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender process is open, negotiated, selective or staged. These amazing expectations can include requests for safe work method declarations beyond the stated high-risk building work activities. We understand from discussions with our clients that this is increasingly happening which there requires to be more clearness around the problem.
These expectations and confusion aren’t assisted by SWMS template suppliers that don’t inform you their additional offerings are not required or who oversell with needless SWMS documents. Both are practices we do refrain from doing.
We always tell our customers that there are 2 types of compliance; what is lawfully required and what your clients expect. Both are really real and appropriate to win work!
WHEN CUSTOMERS ASK FOR MORE.
Technically, your client can be as impractical as they like. They’re spending for the work, so they can specify whatever control determines they desire. In theory, they can even demand a SWMS for taking a dump (and no, we’re not discussing rubbish elimination). Our list of available templates goes beyond the initial 19 HRCW activities.
When the market demands additional SWMS or market control determines modification, we normally promptly deal with the need. At other times we have helped them use a generic SWMS template to satisfy the demand.
There have also been times when we have coached our customers on challenging the tender requirement, and often, changes result. In some cases it is a sincere error by an overzealous tender author, and when the proposed procedures are politely questioned, they are withdrawn. Lots of do not comprehend the policies and understand there are less laborious approaches of handling threats to health and safety.
Here, as always, we advise you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to delight in greater clarity and effectiveness in your purchase journey.
An SWMS is needed whenever high-risk building work is performed (as defined by the WHS. Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are just one of numerous offered risk control measures. Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they assist other controls work and empower the people who utilize them. The SWMS can be particular to each high-risk building work item or encompass lots of products in a single SWMS. These amazing expectations can include demands for safe work method declarations beyond the stated high-risk building work activities.
For more information, contact:Occupational Safety SolutionsLevel 3/55 Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Pyrmont NSW 20091800 304 336www.occupational-safety.com.au