In the construction industry there are activities that are classified high risk because they have the potential to cause serious injury or death. When any of these activities are involved, the workplace must prepare a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) before work starts.
A review of their effectiveness found that SWMS are often not used as intended. Many perceived the SWMS as unnecessary paperwork, rather than a key step in managing the risks of hazardous work.
Safe Work Australia has developed a new SWMS interactive guide with information on the true purpose of a SWMS, when it is required and how to use it. It includes interactive elements and videos that can be used for toolbox talks or as a learning activity.
The tool aims to change the culture around SWMS, ensuring PCBUs genuinely consider hazards and risks, and use the best possible controls to keep workers safe.
It provides a step-by-step guide about how to complete a SWMS, signposts and reinforces SWMS requirements.
The tool aims to increase user understanding of the practical purpose of a SWMS. It includes videos, interactive content, and plain-English messages across 3 modules:
- Understanding a SWMS
- Preparing a SWMS
- Using a SWMS.
The interactive SWMS tool includes case studies, simple examples of control measures for various high risk construction work activities, and a toolkit with jurisdictional resources and will be useful for small businesses who prepare their own SWMS, and people new to the construction industry.
The interactive SWMS tool deals with requirements under the model WHS laws. Check with your local regulator to find out if these requirements apply in your state or territory.
You can explore the tool at our website.