Keeping things simple is usually every person’s aim, including business owners. In the construction industry, that aim is even more prevalent. Simplicity, however, should not be at the risk of safety and quality. A degree of administration is vital for the safety of staff, users, and a company’s bottom line. An electrical SWMS template can do that and more. The Work Health and Safety Regulation of 2011 clarifies requirements and stipulated that:
- Any project involving construction work to the value of A$250,000 or more must have a principal contractor.
- Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) per trade e.g. electrical SWMS, bricklaying SWMS, etc must be given to the principal contractor.
- The SWMS must be received before work commences.
- The principal contractor must ensure that high-risk construction work is performed in accordance with relevant SWMS.
What Information Must Be Recorded In A SWMS?
An SWMS takes into account the circumstances of a project and the resulting manner in which the high-risk components of construction work will be carried out. It, therefore, records the following:
- The identification of high-risk construction work.
- The identification of related hazards and health and safety risks.
- The description of the control measures.
- The description of the implementation of the control measures, including monitoring and reviewing.
- The sole trader or limited company’s name, address and ABN.
- The names of the people appointed and responsible for ensuring the SWMS implementation, monitoring and compliance.
- The review dates.
- The name of the principal contractor of the construction project.
- The address of the related construction project.
- The SWMS preparation date and the date of handing it to the principal contractor.
The SWMS template may also note the names of workers that contributed towards the content of the SWMS, including the related date and their signatures.
How Much Detail Must Be In An SWMS?
Keep the SWMS short and focused and avoid lengthy, overly detailed documents, which can cause confusion and be difficult to implement. It is imperative that an SWMS is easy for all workers to understand, including those who are not native English speakers.
The health and safety legislative requirements, e.g. access to information, instruction and training, do not need to be demonstrated in an SWMS. This is best captured in training registers or toolbox meetings.
The SWMS must reflect the specific workplace circumstances, the high-risk construction work and the workers or specialists carrying out the work. A generic SWMS may not take into account all the hazards and risks at the specific workplace; therefore, a separate SWMS per trade, e.g. an electrical SWMS template, is more effective.
Even if your construction project falls below the A$250,000 threshold, it is safer for your workers and your bottom line to use an SWMS template. Keep the SWMS and its revisions safe until at least the high-risk work is concluded.