There needs to be more clearness around SWMS files and their usage, and we wish to supply that. Whether you use them in high-risk building and construction or somewhere else, they can be among your most effective and efficient control steps, and when you do SWMSs well, nearly 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 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 requested in other places.
Some industry bundle and system services.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Approach Declaration (SWMS) is a file that describes how particular workplace activities are to be carried out. The file 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 why SWMS files are main to your system. In certain circumstances, they are required. Second of all, they work, effective and useful in their application.
An SWMS is required whenever high-risk building work is carried out (as specified by the WHS. Act, which we’ll discuss soon). This means the Individual Conducting a Business or Endeavor (the PCBU) should ensure the preparation, following, and retention of these SWMS and their routine and systematic evaluation.
SWMSs are likewise among the most efficient of all control measures. They are the most common and influential of administrative controls. When their usage becomes a work-culture centrepiece, they can strongly enable and proof your task of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Permitting yourself a little innovative creativity, think about how you manage risks as resembling strapping on a bulletproof vest. The majority of your WHS. or OH&S risk controls are like the cushioning and absorption features of the vest. Nevertheless, your Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are like those velcro straps that hold the vest comfortably and effectively 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 Security Analysis (J.S.A.) and a Safe Operating Procedure (S.O.P.) are more focused than a SWMS. They concentrate on separated tasks and procedures. An SWMS is different because:
It is wider in its treatment of activities,
It is highly concentrated on recognizing and keeping an eye on control steps.
It can cover both particular activities along with combination and complex activities (which most high-risk building work activities are).
WHAT MUST AN SWMS INCLUDE?
Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are just among various available danger control steps. That said, they are also (probably) the centrepiece. When used effectively, they bring structure and stability to other WHS. and OH&S activities.
Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they help other controls work and empower the people who use them. They bring physical integrity to what would otherwise be a loose-fitting and inefficient method. A safe work method declaration does this by supplying the needed info, directions, and a means of taping actions in a predictable and fuss-free format. They will:.
Identify the High-Risk Building And Construction Work (HRCW) role – if it is one.
Determine dangers and risky work practices.
Detail the very best control procedures, along with backup controls.
Explain what goes into the application of danger management strategies.
Information the person or company doing the work and the person responsible.
At a building and construction job, detail the primary specialist, worksite address, the date of preparation and when supplied to the principal specialist.
List the names of workers spoken with, the dates and the signatures.
Program any evaluation date and summarise any modifications made.
SWMS risk control strategies, according to the hierarchy of control, normally seek to:.
Get rid of hazards (possibly by using engineering controls),.
Decrease them (for instance, by developing traffic passages),.
Administratively minimise them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Recommend Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
A properly designed SWMS template is easy to prepare, straightforward for relevant workers to execute, and will enable 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 must prepare it; where there is more than one PBCU, or the work costs $250,000 or more, a Principal Contractor (PC) is designated. This person is then responsible for gathering, examining, keeping track of and examining any SWMS in place.
A PC and PCBU can hand over processes and work activities, BUT the responsibility for SWMS quality and execution stays with them.
The Principal Specialist (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is accountable for:.
Preparing SWMS documents prior to work starts,.
Ensuring any persons included satisfy their responsibilities consistently,.
Identifying and managing threats and threats based on the file, and.
Examining and changing the SWMS for continuous efficiency gradually (Note: employees should be consulted – including specialists and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK METHOD STATEMENTS AND HIGH-RISK CONSTRUCTION WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and Safety Laws (2011) and the Design WHS Regulations (last upgraded in 2022) need using SWMS documents for a range of high-risk construction work activities. Particularly, Regulation 291 details 19 High-Risk Classification activities and an SWMS must be prepared before any such work is carried out.
You can follow the Regulation 291 link to see the specific list, but for ease of understanding, we’ll summarise them as follows.
WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE CONSIDERED HIGH-RISK BUILDING WORK?
There are 19 activities classified as high-risk building and construction work (HRCW), and they all include threats and risks with considerable potential for substantial damage. For clearness, we lower this 19-item list into 5 hazard groupings. They are activities that:.
It may result in falling,.
May establish due to proximity (or being close to something/someone),.
Arise from the use of a powered mobile plant, specific devices or materials,.
Prevail when handling specific structures and services, and.
Happen in a series of environmental specifics.
To break this down more specifically, these five activity groups involve the following scenarios: an SWMS is required in such circumstances:.
When there is a risk of a person falling more than two 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 changes 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 close-by roadway users could be hurt.
Whenever asbestos is being disrupted or removed.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever dynamites are utilized or demolition work is being conducted.
When work occurs on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines, energised electrical services, pressurised gas circulation mains, piping or telecommunications towers.
If an office could have a polluted or flammable environment, artificial temperature extremes or a confined area.
A safe work approach statement should be retained in these recommended circumstances. The SWMS can be particular to each high-risk building and construction work item or include lots of products in a single SWMS. The most essential thing to remember is that these threats are recognized, and the risks are managed.
If you want to see the detailed list, follow this Regulation 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE REQUESTED FOR A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not uncommon for clients to stipulate separate SWMS that exceed the legal minimums for construction projects – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender procedure is open, worked out, selective or staged. These amazing expectations can consist of requests for safe work technique declarations beyond the specified high-risk construction work activities. We understand from discussions with our consumers that this is significantly occurring and that there requires to be more clarity around the concern.
These expectations and confusion aren’t assisted by SWMS design template providers that don’t inform you their extra offerings are not needed or who oversell with needless SWMS files. Both are practices we do refrain from doing.
We constantly tell our consumers that there are 2 forms of compliance; what is lawfully required and what your customers anticipate. Both are very genuine and pertinent to win work!
WHEN CLIENTS ASK FOR MORE.
They’re paying for the work, so they can state whatever control determines they desire. Theoretically, they can even require a SWMS for taking a dump (and no, we’re not talking about rubbish elimination).
When the market needs extra SWMS or industry control measures change, we usually swiftly resolve the need. Sometimes we likewise establish specific services for particular customers. At other times we have actually helped them use a generic SWMS template to meet the demand. Eventually, we aim to be as practical as we can afford to be.
There have also been times when we have actually coached our customers on challenging the tender requirement, and in some cases, modifications result. Often it is a truthful error by an overzealous tender writer, and when the proposed steps are nicely questioned, they are withdrawn. Lots of do not understand the policies and understand there are less tiresome techniques of managing risks to health and safety.
Here, as constantly, we recommend you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to enjoy greater clearness and performance in your purchase journey.
An SWMS is needed whenever high-risk building work is performed (as specified by the WHS. Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are just one of various readily available danger 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 building work product or include many items in a single SWMS. These extraordinary expectations can consist of requests for safe work method statements 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