Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) Templates

Assess high-risk construction work activities and save time generating SWMS reports with a handheld device

What is SWMS?

A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a document that outlines high-risk construction work activities, hazards associated with the activity, and the control measures in place to manage these risks. SWMS is required before performing any high-risk construction work to ensure safety and proper implementation of standard operating procedures.

When do I need SWMS?

All Australian businesses carrying out any of the 18 high-risk construction work activities are required under the Work Health and Safety Regulations to prepare a SWMS before any construction work starts.

Here is a list of the 18 high-risk construction work activities which require a SWMS to be prepared:

  1. Where there is a risk of a person falling more than two metres.
  2. On or adjacent to roadways or railways used by road or rail traffic.
  3. In, over or adjacent to water or other liquids where there is a risk of drowning.
  4. At workplaces where there is any movement of powered mobile plant.
  5. Structural alterations that require temporary support to prevent collapse.
  6. In an area where there are artificial extremes of temperature.
  7. On or near energised electrical installations or services.
  8. Involving a trench or shaft if the excavated depth is more than 1·5 metres.
  9. On or near pressurised gas distribution mains or piping.
  10. Involving demolition.
  11. Involving a confined space.
  12. On or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines.
  13. Involving tilt-up or precast concrete.
  14. On telecommunications towers.
  15. Involving diving.
  16. Involving removal or likely disturbance of asbestos
  17. In an area that may have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere.
  18. Involving the use of explosives.

How to Prepare a Good SWMS Report

Prior to commencing work on any of the 18 high-risk construction activities outlined above, supervisors, contractors, and subcontractors will need to coordinate with each other to assign a competent person to create a comprehensive SWMS report. A good SWMS report serves as a master document outlining the safest way to complete the task.

Here are 5 important things to include when creating a good SWMS report:

  1. Break the job down – list the steps in a logical manner and take into consideration what is required to be achieved by the task
  2. Identify the high-risk tasks – assess activity or task to which a person might be harmed or injured when working
  3. Plan how to control – develop preventive and control measures to mitigate hazards i.e. what safety systems should we implement to make the job safer and prevent the injuries that may occur
  4. Determine who is responsible – identify roles and responsibilities for actions and outcomes to make sure that controls were carried out and communicated properly.
  5. Educate workers – ensure the SWMS is fully understood by all workers prior to commencing the task.

A completed SWMS report can be incorporated during toolbox talk meetings in consultation with those people performing the job. A SWMS should be made available for inspection at any given time. It must also be reviewed each year and amended if necessary. Take a look at this safe work method statement example.

What is iAuditor and how can I use it for SWMS?

An SWMS is an important safety document when performing high-risk construction work, but it can be time-consuming to prepare and implement. iAuditor by SafetyCulture is an inspection software which replaces paper SWMS forms with a mobile app that lets you:

  • Capture hazards and notify responsible teams for immediate resolution.
  • Generate and share reports with just one tap. Preview sample report.
  • Get all workers involved to sign off with their electronic signatures.
  • Save all completed SWMS in the cloud.