Safe work method statements or SWMS are one of the most common pieces of safety data on construction sites. SWMS outline High Risk Construction Work (HRCW) and how to mitigate the risks and perform work safely.
SWMS are comprehensive documents meticulously outlining the step-by-step procedures, potential hazards, and risk mitigation strategies specific to tasks within a construction project. Of course, the best way to deal with a high risk situation is to remove the risk. However, if that is not possible SWMS are necessary for the safest possible job sites.
Much like inductions, SWMS serve as indispensable guides, offering insights into the safe execution of various construction activities. They provide workers, subcontractors, and visitors with essential information necessary to navigate the construction site securely and effectively.
The Purpose and Importance of SWMS
SWMS aren’t bureaucratic documents that you have to sign to keep someone in the office happy. They’re essential to worker safety. By writing down the precise strategy and safety measures required for each task, SWMS give workers the power to identify potential hazards and take preemptive actions to minimise risks. Moreover, they facilitate compliance with Worksafe regulations and provide evidence in the case of a site inspection or incident.
SWMS serve as proactive measures to prevent accidents, injuries, and occupational hazards by instilling a culture of vigilance and responsibility among workers. Through detailed risk assessments and methodical planning, SWMS enables construction companies to proactively address potential safety concerns, thereby fostering a culture of safety consciousness and accountability.
Implementation and Continual Review of SWMS
A key component of SWMS is that they are not static. As projects evolve and circumstances change, SWMS must adapt to reflect new risks, emerging technologies, and evolving regulatory requirements. Continuous communication and collaboration between management, supervisors, and workers are essential for refining and enhancing SWMS to ensure their efficacy and relevance throughout the project lifecycle. In short, you can not create one SWMS for a certain type of hazard and reuse it forever. They must be consistently reviewed
SWMS are a fundamental part of safety and compliance in the Australian construction sector. Creating a proactive approach to risk management, regulatory adherence, and empowering site workers. By embracing SWMS, construction companies not only uphold their legal and Worksafe obligations but also cultivate a culture of safety and responsibility throughout the industry. In essence, SWMS are the collective commitment of everyone on site towards creating a safer, more secure working environment for all involved.
1Breadcrumb offers a digital SWMS solution. The SWMS tool gives you the ability to manage your SWMS on the web, mobile or tablet. Better yet, 1Breadcrumb provides your subcontractors with an app and portal to upload, revise, and sign off on their SWMS. All with greater visibility for you. Learn more about the solution here.