What is a SWMS?

A Safe Work Method Statement is a document that is to be completed for all 'high risk construction work'.

Working at heights is considered high risk and a SWMS is always required to be prepared before any work of this type is carried out. A SWMS does not need to be completed for 'work of a minor nature'. For more information on the definitions of 'work of a minor nature' as set out by Safe Work Australia documentation.

When does a SWMS need to be prepared?

A SWMS must be prepared before the high risk activities commence.

Who needs to prepare a SWMS?

The principal contractor, builder and subcontractors would normally decide who is the best person to prepare the SWMS but generally the person who is responsible for carrying out the high risk construction work prepares the SWMS. They should hold consultations with the workers directly engaged in the work and also managers, contractors, leading hands and if there is a Health and Safety Representative at the workplace they should also be asked for input. By consulting all those involved, necessary information will be gained and workers will remain in touch with what control measures have been put in place.

What needs to be included in a SWMS?

Necessary information required to be completed in a SWMS is:

  • The details of the work that is considered high risk
  • The health and safety hazards relating to the work
  • The control measures that need to be implemented to minimise or remove the risks
  • How the control measures will be actioned?
  • When will they be monitored and reviewed?

Further information on SWMS

For more clarification on Safe Work Method Statements go to the Safework Australia Information and Template (pages 5 & 6).

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