There needs to be more clearness around SWMS files and their use, and we want to offer that. Whether you use them in high-risk building and construction or in other places, they can be among your most efficient and effective control steps, and when you do SWMSs well, almost everything 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 various from a J.S.A. and S.O.P
. What must an SWMS include?
Who is accountable?
Using SWMSs in high-risk construction.
When they’re asked for elsewhere.
Some industry bundle and system services.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Approach Declaration (SWMS) is a document that explains how particular office activities are to be performed. The file recognizes:
The actions being satisfied.
The risks they produce, and
How to control those threats.
WHY ARE SWMS CENTRAL TO YOUR WHS SYSTEM?
There are two reasons why SWMS documents are main to your system. In certain circumstances, they are required. Second of all, they work, efficient and useful in their application.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk building and construction work is performed (as specified by the WHS. Act, which we’ll discuss quickly). This means the Person Performing a Business or Endeavor (the PCBU) must guarantee the preparation, following, and retention of these SWMS and their routine and methodical evaluation.
SWMSs are likewise among the most effective of all control steps. They are the most typical and prominent of administrative controls. When their usage ends up being a work-culture centrepiece, they can powerfully allow and evidence your duty of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Allowing yourself a little creative imagination, consider how you manage dangers as being like strapping on a bulletproof vest. The majority of your WHS. or OH&S threat controls are like the padding and absorption functions of the vest. Your Safe Work Approach Statements (SWMS) are like those velcro straps that hold the vest easily and successfully in location.
They can be exaggerated. More on that soon.
HOW IS A SWMS VARIOUS FROM A J.S.A. OR S.O.P.?
A Job Safety Analysis (J.S.A.) and a Safe Operating Treatment (S.O.P.) are more focused than a SWMS. They concentrate on isolated tasks and procedures. An SWMS is different because:
It is wider in its treatment of activities,
It is highly focused on recognizing and keeping track of control steps.
It can cover both specific activities as well as mix and complex activities (which most high-risk building and construction work activities are).
WHAT MUST AN SWMS INCLUDE?
Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are simply one of different offered risk control steps. When used effectively, they bring structure and stability to other WHS.
Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they assist other controls work and empower the people who utilize them. A safe work approach statement does this by supplying the needed info, directions, and a means of recording actions in a predictable and fuss-free format.
Identify the High-Risk Building Work (HRCW) function – if it is one.
Determine dangers and unsafe work practices.
Detail the best control steps, in addition to backup controls.
Explain what goes into the implementation of threat management strategies.
Information the person or business doing the work and the individual accountable.
At a building and construction task, detail the principal contractor, worksite address, the date of preparation and when offered to the principal professional.
List the names of workers spoken with, the dates and the signatures.
Program any evaluation date and sum up any changes made.
SWMS danger control strategies, based on the hierarchy of control, typically look for to:.
Get rid of dangers (maybe by using engineering controls),.
Decrease them (for example, by creating 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 effective evaluation process. 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 Professional (PC) is selected. This person is then responsible for collecting, assessing, monitoring and examining any SWMS in place.
A PC and PCBU can hand over processes and work activities, BUT the obligation for SWMS quality and application stays with them.
The Principal Specialist (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is responsible for:.
Preparing SWMS files before work begins,.
Ensuring anyones involved fulfil their duties consistently,.
Identifying and managing hazards and risks according to the document, and.
Evaluating and changing the SWMS for ongoing effectiveness over time (Note: employees should be spoken with – including professionals and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK TECHNIQUE DECLARATIONS AND HIGH-RISK BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and Safety Regulations (2011) and the Model WHS Regulations (last updated in 2022) require using SWMS documents for a series of high-risk building work activities. Specifically, Regulation 291 details 19 High-Risk Classification activities and an SWMS must be prepared prior to any such work is carried out.
You can follow the Regulation 291 link to see the particular list, but for ease of understanding, we’ll summarise them as follows.
WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE CONSIDERED HIGH-RISK CONSTRUCTION WORK?
There are 19 activities classified as high-risk building and construction work (HRCW), and they all include risks and dangers with considerable capacity for significant damage. For clarity, we reduce this 19-item list into five danger groupings. They are activities that:.
It may result in falling,.
May develop due to proximity (or being close to something/someone),.
Result from the use of a powered mobile plant, specific equipment or materials,.
Prevail when handling particular structures and services, and.
Take place in a range of environmental specifics.
To break this down more particularly, these five activity groups involve the following situations: an SWMS is required in such circumstances:.
When there is a danger of an individual falling more than 2 metres or falling into a trench or shaft of excavated depth greater than 1.5 m.
If someone might drown by falling into 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 nearby road users could be hurt.
Whenever asbestos is being interrupted or eliminated.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever dynamites are used or demolition work is being carried out.
When work occurs on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines, energised electrical services, pressurised gas distribution mains, piping or telecom towers.
If a work area could have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere, synthetic temperature level extremes or a confined area.
A safe work method declaration must be kept in these recommended scenarios. The SWMS can be particular to each high-risk building work product or encompass numerous items in a single SWMS. The most important thing to remember is that these risks are identified, and the risks are controlled.
If you want to see the detailed list, follow this Policy 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE ASKED FOR A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not uncommon for customers to state separate SWMS that go beyond the legal minimums for building and construction jobs – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender process is open, negotiated, selective or staged. These extraordinary expectations can include requests for safe work approach declarations beyond the stated high-risk construction work activities. We understand from discussions with our clients that this is significantly taking place which there requires to be more clearness around the concern.
These expectations and confusion aren’t helped by SWMS design template providers that don’t inform you their extra offerings are not required or who oversell with needless SWMS documents. Both are practices we do not do.
We constantly tell our customers that there are two forms of compliance; what is lawfully needed and what your customers expect. Both are very genuine and pertinent to win work!
WHEN CLIENTS REQUEST MORE.
Technically, your client can be as impractical as they like. They’re spending for the work, so they can stipulate whatever control measures they want. Theoretically, they can even require a SWMS for taking a dump (and no, we’re not discussing rubbish elimination). Our list of readily available templates surpasses the original 19 HRCW activities.
When the market needs extra SWMS or market control determines modification, we typically swiftly resolve the requirement. Sometimes we likewise develop specific solutions for specific clients. At other times we have helped them use a generic SWMS design template to satisfy the demand. Eventually, we aim to be as useful as we can manage to be.
There have also been times when we have actually coached our consumers on challenging the tender requirement, and in some cases, changes result. In some cases it is a truthful mistake by an overzealous tender author, and when the proposed steps are pleasantly questioned, they are withdrawn. Lots of do not understand the guidelines and understand there are less laborious approaches of managing dangers to health and wellness.
Here, as constantly, we advise you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to delight in greater clarity and efficiency in your purchase journey.
An SWMS is needed whenever high-risk building and construction work is performed (as specified by the WHS. Safe Work Approach Statements (SWMS) are just one of various offered danger control procedures. Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they assist other controls work and empower the individuals who use them. The SWMS can be particular to each high-risk construction work product or encompass lots of products in a single SWMS. These extraordinary expectations can include requests for safe work technique declarations beyond the stated high-risk construction work activities.
For more information, contact:Occupational Safety SolutionsLevel 3/55 Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Pyrmont NSW 20091800 304 336www.occupational-safety.com.au