There needs to be more clarity around SWMS documents and their usage, and we want to offer that. Whether you utilize them in high-risk building or elsewhere, they can be among your most reliable and effective control measures, and when you do SWMSs well, practically whatever else you do will tend to follow.
Let’s rapidly look at the following:
What they are.
Why are they central to your WHS or OH&S system.
How they are various from a J.S.A. and S.O.P
. What must an SWMS consist of?
Who is responsible?
Making use of SWMSs in high-risk building and construction.
When they’re asked for elsewhere.
Some industry plan and system solutions.
WHAT IS A SWMS?
A Safe Work Technique Declaration (SWMS) is a document that discusses how particular workplace activities are to be carried out. The file determines:
The actions being fulfilled.
The threats they produce, and
How to manage those threats.
WHY ARE SWMS CENTRAL TO YOUR WHS SYSTEM?
There are 2 reasons why SWMS files are central to your system. To start with, in specific instances, they are needed. Second of all, they are effective, efficient and practical in their implementation.
An SWMS is needed whenever high-risk building and construction work is carried out (as specified by the WHS. Act, which we’ll describe quickly). This means the Person Performing an Organization or Undertaking (the PCBU) should guarantee the preparation, following, and retention of these SWMS and their regular and methodical evaluation.
SWMSs are also among the most reliable of all control steps. They are the most common and prominent of administrative controls. When their usage becomes a work-culture centrepiece, they can powerfully make it possible for and evidence your task of care observance and due diligence compliance.
Permitting yourself a little imaginative creativity, think of how you manage dangers as being like strapping on a bulletproof vest. Most of your WHS. or OH&S risk controls resemble the padding and absorption functions of the vest. Your Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are like those velcro straps that hold the vest conveniently and successfully in location.
They can be overdone. More on that soon.
HOW IS A SWMS DIFFERENT FROM A J.S.A. OR S.O.P.?
A Job Security Analysis (J.S.A.) and a Safe Operating Procedure (S.O.P.) are more focused than a SWMS. They concentrate on separated tasks and processes. An SWMS is different since:
It is broader in its treatment of activities,
It is extremely focused on determining and monitoring control steps.
It can cover both specific activities along with mix and complex activities (which most high-risk construction work activities are).
WHAT MUST AN SWMS INCLUDE?
Safe Work Technique Statements (SWMS) are simply among numerous available danger control measures. That said, they are also (arguably) the centrepiece. When utilized effectively, they bring structure and stability to other WHS. and OH&S activities.
Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they assist other controls work and empower the people who utilize them. A safe work approach declaration does this by offering the needed information, guidelines, and a method of tape-recording actions in a predictable and fuss-free format.
Determine the High-Risk Construction Work (HRCW) function – if it is one.
Determine hazards and hazardous work practices.
Information the best control steps, as well as backup controls.
Describe what enters into the application of risk management strategies.
Information the person or organization doing the work and the person responsible.
At a construction job, detail the primary specialist, worksite address, the date of preparation and when supplied to the principal contractor.
Note the names of workers consulted, the dates and the signatures.
Show any evaluation date and summarise any modifications made.
SWMS threat control methods, based on the hierarchy of control, normally look for to:.
Remove risks (maybe by utilizing engineering controls),.
Decrease them (for example, by creating traffic corridors),.
Administratively minimise them (e.g. by SWMS) and/or.
Recommend Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
A well-designed SWMS design template is easy to prepare, uncomplicated for appropriate workers to carry out, and will allow an effective and effective review procedure. That is what our SWMS templates do.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
When a safe work technique statement is needed, the PCBU should prepare it; where there is more than one PBCU, or the work costs $250,000 or more, a Principal Contractor (PC) is appointed. This person is then responsible for gathering, evaluating, keeping track of and evaluating any SWMS in place.
A PC and PCBU can hand over processes and work activities, BUT the duty for SWMS quality and application remains with them.
The Principal Professional (or PCBU where there is not a P.C.) is responsible for:.
Preparing SWMS files prior to work starts,.
Guaranteeing anyones involved fulfil their tasks regularly,.
Recognizing and managing hazards and dangers based on the file, and.
Examining and adjusting the SWMS for ongoing effectiveness over time (Note: employees must be consulted – consisting of professionals and subcontractors).
SAFE WORK APPROACH DECLARATIONS AND HIGH-RISK BUILDING WORK (HRCW).
Both Australia’s Work Health and wellness Regulations (2011) and the Design WHS Regulations (last updated in 2022) need utilizing SWMS files for a variety of high-risk building and construction work activities. Particularly, Guideline 291 information 19 High-Risk Category activities and an SWMS need to be prepared prior to any such work is undertaken.
You can follow the Regulation 291 link to see the particular list, but for ease of understanding, we’ll summarise them as follows.
WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE CONSIDERED HIGH-RISK BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION WORK?
There are 19 activities classified as high-risk building work (HRCW), and they all involve threats and dangers with significant potential for considerable damage. For clearness, we lower this 19-item list into five risk groupings. They are activities that:.
It might result in falling,.
May establish due to distance (or being close to something/someone),.
Arise from using a powered mobile plant, specific equipment or materials,.
Are common when handling specific structures and services, and.
Take place in a variety of ecological specifics.
To break this down more specifically, these five activity groups include the following scenarios: an SWMS is needed in such scenarios:.
When there is a threat of a person falling more than two metres or falling under a trench or shaft of excavated depth greater than 1.5 m.
If someone could drown by falling into a liquid, a structural collapse or as a result of diving work.
Where structural modifications are utilized to prevent a collapse.
Wherever a tunnel is included.
When powered mobile plant work is being done or the plant is being moved.
If rail traffic or close-by road users could be harmed.
Whenever asbestos is being disturbed or removed.
If tilt-up or precast concrete work is being done.
Wherever dynamites are used or demolition work is being conducted.
When work takes place on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines, energised electrical services, pressurised gas circulation mains, piping or telecommunications towers.
If a work space could have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere, artificial temperature extremes or a confined area.
A safe work approach declaration should be kept in these prescribed scenarios. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk building and construction work product or incorporate numerous products in a single SWMS. The most essential thing to bear in mind is that these dangers are determined, and the threats are managed.
If you wish to see the breakdown, follow this Policy 291 link.
WHAT IF YOU’RE REQUESTED A SWMS FOR ANOTHER ACTIVITY?
It’s not unusual for clients to state separate SWMS that surpass the legal minimums for construction projects – and it doesn’t matter whether the tender procedure is open, negotiated, selective or staged. These amazing expectations can include ask for safe work technique declarations beyond the stated high-risk construction work activities. We know from conversations with our clients that this is significantly happening which there needs to be more clarity around the issue.
These expectations and confusion aren’t helped by SWMS design template providers that don’t inform you their additional offerings are not required or who oversell with needless SWMS documents. Both are practices we do refrain from doing.
We constantly tell our customers that there are two types of compliance; what is lawfully needed and what your clients anticipate. Both are very real and relevant to win work!
WHEN CLIENTS REQUEST FOR MORE.
They’re paying for the work, so they can stipulate whatever control determines they want. In theory, they can even demand a SWMS for taking a dump (and no, we’re not talking about rubbish removal).
When the market demands additional SWMS or industry control measures modification, we generally swiftly resolve the requirement. At other times we have assisted them utilize a generic SWMS template to fulfill the need.
There have actually likewise been times when we have coached our customers on challenging the tender requirement, and sometimes, changes result. In some cases it is an honest mistake by an overzealous tender writer, and when the proposed procedures are nicely questioned, they are withdrawn. Many do not comprehend the guidelines and know there are less laborious approaches of handling dangers to health and wellness.
Here, as constantly, we suggest you talk with us. Call 1800 304 336 to take pleasure in higher clearness and performance in your purchase journey.
An SWMS is needed whenever high-risk building and construction work is carried out (as specified by the WHS. Safe Work Approach Statements (SWMS) are simply one of various readily available risk control measures. Like straps on a bulletproof vest, they help other controls work and empower the people who use them. The SWMS can be specific to each high-risk building work product or encompass many items in a single SWMS. These extraordinary expectations can include requests for safe work technique declarations beyond the stated high-risk building work activities.
For more information, contact:Occupational Safety SolutionsLevel 3/55 Pyrmont Bridge Rd, Pyrmont NSW 20091800 304 336www.occupational-safety.com.au