What is a Safe Work Method Statement (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.
Click here to download FREE & customizable SWMS Templates
When do I need a 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:
- Where there is a risk of a person falling more than two metres.
- On or adjacent to roadways or railways used by road or rail traffic.
- In, over or adjacent to water or other liquids where there is a risk of drowning.
- At workplaces where there is any movement of powered mobile plant.
- Structural alterations that require temporary support to prevent collapse.
- In an area where there are artificial extremes of temperature.
- On or near energised electrical installations or services.
- Involving a trench or shaft if the excavated depth is more than 1·5 metres.
- On or near pressurised gas distribution mains or piping.
- Involving demolition.
- Involving a confined space.
- On or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines.
- Involving tilt-up or precast concrete.
- On telecommunications towers.
- Involving diving.
- Involving removal or likely disturbance of asbestos
- In an area that may have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere.
- 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:
Click here to preview a sample completed SWMS report and template.
- Break the job down - list the steps in a logical manner and take into consideration what is required to be achieved by the task
- Identify the high-risk tasks - assess activity or task to which a person might be harmed or injured when working
- 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
- Determine who is responsible - identify roles and responsibilities for actions and outcomes to make sure that controls were carried out and communicated properly.
- 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.
What is iAuditor and how can I use it for SWMS?
A SWMS is an important safety document when performing high-risk construction work, but it can be time-consuming to prepare and implement. iAuditor is the world’s #1 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.
- ✔ GSave all completed SWMS in the cloud.