Gary’s Safety Tips
Hey, it’s great to be here with you today to talk about compiling safe work method statements. As a business owner, you have a legal and moral responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace for your employees, contractors, and visitors. Safe work method statements (SWMS) are one of the most important tools you can use to achieve this goal.
SWMS are written documents that outline the steps involved in completing a specific task or activity safely. They identify the hazards involved in the task and the controls that will be put in place to eliminate or reduce those hazards. SWMS are a critical component of your safety management system, and they must be completed before any high-risk work is undertaken.
Compiling a SWMS involves several steps. Firstly, you need to identify the task or activity that will be carried out. This may involve consulting with workers who have experience in the task, reviewing equipment manuals and safety guidelines, and observing the task being performed.
Once you have identified the task, the next step is to identify the hazards associated with the task. Hazards can be physical, chemical, biological, or ergonomic in nature. Some hazards may be obvious, while others may require more detailed investigation. Hazards may also be present at different stages of the task, so it’s essential to consider the entire process.
Once you have identified the hazards, you need to assess the risk associated with each hazard. Risk assessment involves considering the likelihood of the hazard occurring and the consequences if it does. This information is used to determine the level of risk associated with the task and to identify the controls that need to be put in place to manage the risk.
Controls can be grouped into four categories: elimination, substitution, engineering, and administrative. Elimination involves removing the hazard entirely, while substitution involves replacing the hazard with something less hazardous. Engineering controls involve modifying equipment or the work environment to reduce the risk of the hazard occurring. Administrative controls involve changing the way the task is performed or the training provided to workers.
Once the controls have been identified, they need to be implemented and communicated to workers. This may involve providing training, installing new equipment or signage, or modifying work procedures. Workers should be involved in the development of the SWMS and should be consulted on the controls that are put in place.
SWMS should be reviewed regularly to ensure they remain up to date and effective. Changes in equipment, procedures, or the work environment may require changes to the SWMS. New hazards may also be identified, and additional controls may need to be implemented.
Compiling a SWMS can be a complex process, but it’s essential for ensuring the safety of your workers and the success of your business. Here are some tips for compiling effective SWMS:
- Involve workers in the process – Workers who have experience in the task or activity are a valuable source of information when compiling a SWMS. They can help identify hazards, assess risks, and suggest controls.
- Keep it simple – SWMS should be easy to understand and follow. Use plain language and avoid technical jargon.
- Use a template – Using a SWMS template can help ensure all the necessary information is included and that the document is formatted correctly.
- Be specific – SWMS should be task-specific and should identify all hazards associated with the task, even those that may seem obvious.
- Review regularly – SWMS should be reviewed regularly to ensure they remain up to date and effective.
In conclusion, compiling safe work method statements is an essential part of your safety management system. SWMS help identify hazards, assess risks, and implement controls to ensure the safety of your workers and the success of your business. By following these tips, you can compile effective SWMS that meet your legal and moral obligations and ensure a safe and healthy workplace for everyone. Remember, safety is everyone’s responsibility, and SWMS are a critical tool for achieving this goal.
It’s important to note that SWMS are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each SWMS should be tailored to the specific task or activity being performed and should be reviewed regularly to ensure its effectiveness. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that SWMS are completed for all high-risk tasks and that they are followed by your workers.
Implementing effective SWMS can also have additional benefits for your business beyond ensuring the safety of your workers. By reducing the risk of accidents and injuries, you can reduce the costs associated with workers’ compensation claims, downtime, and lost productivity. Effective SWMS can also improve your reputation as a business that takes safety seriously, which can be a valuable asset when attracting new customers and employees.
In summary, compiling safe work method statements is a critical component of your safety management system. By following the steps outlined in this article and involving your workers in the process, you can compile effective SWMS that ensure the safety of your workers and the success of your business. Remember, safety is everyone’s responsibility, and SWMS are a valuable tool for achieving this goal.