G’day everyone, it’s Gary here, and today we’re going to talk about a crucial topic for any employer: how to ensure that your staff understands and follows Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS).
Let’s start with the basics. SWMS are critical for ensuring that work is carried out safely, and they’re a legal requirement in many industries. They outline the hazards associated with a particular task, as well as the steps that need to be taken to control those hazards. In short, they’re a roadmap for getting the job done safely.
But here’s the thing: simply having a SWMS in place isn’t enough. Your staff need to understand it and follow it if you want to keep them safe. So how can you make sure that happens? Here are a few tips:
- Make SWMS a part of your onboarding process
When you bring new staff members on board, make sure that you include SWMS training as part of their induction. This should cover the basics of what SWMS are, why they’re important, and how to read and follow them. It’s also a good idea to have new staff members sign off on the SWMS for any tasks they’ll be carrying out, to ensure they understand what’s required.
- Use clear and concise language
SWMS can be complex documents, but that doesn’t mean they need to be written in complex language. In fact, the simpler and more straightforward the language, the better. Use bullet points and short sentences to break down the information, and avoid technical jargon as much as possible. Remember, you want your staff to be able to understand the SWMS quickly and easily.
- Use visual aids
Some people are visual learners, and for them, written instructions may not be enough. That’s where visual aids come in. Consider including diagrams or photos in your SWMS to illustrate the hazards and the steps that need to be taken to control them. This can make the information more accessible and easier to remember.
- Provide training and refresher courses
Training shouldn’t just be a one-time thing. It’s important to provide ongoing training and refresher courses to ensure that your staff stays up to date with SWMS requirements. This can include regular toolbox talks or safety meetings where SWMS are discussed and any questions are answered.
- Lead by example
As an employer, you need to lead by example when it comes to safety. That means following SWMS yourself and encouraging your staff to do the same. If you see someone not following the SWMS, take the time to talk to them about why it’s important and how they can do better. Remember, safety is everyone’s responsibility.
- Provide feedback
Finally, it’s important to provide feedback to your staff on their adherence to SWMS. This can be done through regular safety inspections or by asking for feedback from staff themselves. If there are areas where people are struggling, you may need to revisit the SWMS and make changes to ensure they’re more accessible.
In conclusion, SWMS are critical for ensuring that work is carried out safely, but they’re only effective if your staff understands and follows them. By making SWMS a part of your onboarding process, using clear and concise language, providing visual aids, providing ongoing training and refresher courses, leading by example, and providing feedback, you can ensure that your staff stays safe on the job. So take the time to invest in SWMS training and make safety a top priority in your workplace.