There needs to be more clearness around SWMS documents and their use, and we want to supply that. Whether you use them in high-risk building and construction or elsewhere, they can be among your most efficient and effective control procedures, and when you do SWMSs well, almost whatever else you do will tend to follow.
Let’s quickly take a look at the following:
What they are.
Why are they main 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?
The use of SWMSs in high-risk building.
When they’re requested somewhere else.
Some market bundle and system services.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Approach Declaration (SWMS) is a file that describes how specific workplace activities are to be performed. The document determines:
The actions being fulfilled.
The dangers they produce, and
How to manage those risks.
WHY ARE SWMS CENTRAL TO YOUR WHS SYSTEM?
There are two reasons SWMS documents are main to your system. In particular instances, they are needed. They are efficient, effective and practical in their execution.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk building work is performed (as defined by the WHS. Act, which we’ll discuss quickly). This means the Person Performing a Company or Endeavor (the PCBU) need to ensure the preparation, following, and retention of these SWMS and their regular and systematic evaluation.
SWMSs are also among the most effective of all control steps. They are the most typical and influential of administrative controls. When their use ends up being a work-culture centrepiece, they can powerfully enable and proof your duty of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Enabling yourself a little innovative creativity, consider how you manage threats as being like strapping on a bulletproof vest. Most of your WHS. or OH&S risk controls resemble the padding and absorption features of the vest. Your Safe Work Approach Statements (SWMS) are like those velcro straps that hold the vest comfortably and successfully in place.
But they can be overdone. More on that soon.
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 Treatment (S.O.P.) are more focused than a SWMS. They focus on separated jobs and processes. An SWMS is different because:
It is broader in its treatment of activities,
It is highly concentrated on recognizing and monitoring control procedures.
It can cover both specific activities along with mix 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 risk control procedures. When utilized efficiently, they bring structure and stability to other WHS.
Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they help other controls work and empower the people who utilize them. They bring physical integrity to what would otherwise be a loose-fitting and inefficient strategy. A safe work technique declaration does this by supplying the required information, guidelines, and a means of taping actions in a foreseeable and fuss-free format. They will:.
Recognize the High-Risk Building Work (HRCW) function – if it is one.
Recognize threats and risky work practices.
Information the very best control procedures, in addition to backup controls.
Explain what enters into the application of danger management strategies.
Detail the person or service doing the work and the person accountable.
At a building and construction project, detail the principal professional, worksite address, the date of preparation and when offered to the primary professional.
List the names of workers consulted, the dates and the signatures.
Show any review date and summarise any modifications made.
SWMS threat control methods, based on the hierarchy of control, generally look for to:.
Eliminate hazards (perhaps by using engineering controls),.
Minimize them (for instance, by developing traffic corridors),.
Administratively minimise them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Recommend Personal Protective Devices (PPE).
A properly designed SWMS design template is simple to prepare, straightforward for appropriate workers to execute, and will enable an efficient and reliable review procedure. That is what our SWMS design templates do.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
When a safe work approach declaration is needed, the PCBU needs to prepare it; where there is more than one PBCU, or the work costs $250,000 or more, a Principal Specialist (PC) is selected. This person is then responsible for collecting, examining, keeping track of 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 Professional (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is responsible for:.
Preparing SWMS files prior to work begins,.
Making sure anybodies involved satisfy their tasks consistently,.
Determining and controlling threats and dangers according to the document, and.
Examining and changing the SWMS for continuous effectiveness with time (Note: employees need to be consulted – consisting of contractors and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK METHOD DECLARATIONS AND HIGH-RISK CONSTRUCTION WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and Safety Laws (2011) and the Design WHS Regulations (last updated in 2022) need using SWMS documents for a series of high-risk building work activities. Specifically, Policy 291 details 19 High-Risk Category activities and an SWMS must be prepared before any such work is undertaken.
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 DEEMED HIGH-RISK BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION WORK?
There are 19 activities categorized as high-risk building and construction work (HRCW), and they all include risks and threats with considerable capacity for considerable harm. For clearness, we lower this 19-item list into 5 threat groupings. They are activities that:.
It may result in falling,.
Might establish due to distance (or being close to something/someone),.
Arise from using a powered mobile plant, specific equipment or materials,.
Are common when handling particular structures and services, and.
Happen in a range of ecological specifics.
To break this down more specifically, these five activity groups include the following situations: an SWMS is needed in such situations:.
When there is a risk 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 could 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 involved.
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 eliminated.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever dynamites are used or demolition work is being carried out.
When work happens on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines, energised electrical services, pressurised gas circulation mains, piping or telecom towers.
If a workspace might have a polluted or combustible environment, synthetic temperature extremes or a restricted space.
A safe work method declaration must be retained in these recommended situations. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk building and construction work item or include many products in a single SWMS. The most important thing to keep in mind is that these dangers are determined, and the threats are controlled.
If you want to see the detailed list, follow this Guideline 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE ASKED FOR A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not unusual for customers to stipulate separate SWMS that go beyond the legal minimums for building and construction tasks – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender process is open, negotiated, selective or staged. These extraordinary expectations can include ask for safe work method statements beyond the stated high-risk building and construction work activities. We know from conversations with our clients that this is significantly happening which there needs to be more clarity around the concern.
These expectations and confusion aren’t helped by SWMS template providers that do not inform you their extra offerings are not needed or who oversell with needless SWMS files. Both are practices we do not do.
We always tell our clients that there are two kinds of compliance; what is lawfully needed and what your clients expect. Both are very real and pertinent to win work!
WHEN CLIENTS REQUEST MORE.
Technically, your customer can be as unrealistic as they like. They’re paying for the work, so they can stipulate whatever control determines they want. In theory, they can even require a SWMS for taking a dump (and no, we’re not talking about rubbish removal). Our list of available templates goes beyond the initial 19 HRCW activities.
When the marketplace demands extra SWMS or industry control determines change, we typically quickly address the requirement. Sometimes we also develop particular options for particular customers. At other times we have actually helped them utilize a generic SWMS template to meet the need. Eventually, we intend to be as helpful as we can manage to be.
There have actually likewise been times when we have actually coached our consumers on challenging the tender requirement, and in some cases, modifications result. Sometimes it is an honest mistake by an overzealous tender author, and when the proposed measures are pleasantly questioned, they are withdrawn. Many do not understand the regulations and know there are less laborious techniques of handling dangers to health and wellness.
Here, as constantly, we suggest 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 work is carried out (as defined by the WHS. Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are simply one of different available threat control measures. Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they help other controls work and empower the individuals who utilize them. The SWMS can be particular to each high-risk construction work product or include many products in a single SWMS. These amazing expectations can include requests for safe work method 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