Tag Archives: SWMS Melbourne

What Nobody Told Me – SWMS Vs JSA

SWMS, JSA OHS Consultant

When working with clients time and time again we are asked to clarify when a task requires a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) or a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) and what is the difference between a SWMS and a JSA.

With that in mind I have prepared the below comparison table which helps to identify when each type of document should be used and what the differences between the documents are.

SWMS

JSA

Must be in place for tasks involving high risk work as per the OHS Regulations Should be in place for tasks that do not involve high risk work
Should include legislation, codes of practice and Australian standards referencing Does not need to include legislation, codes of practice and Australian standards referencing
Should include the address and ABN of the company submitting the SWMS Does not need to include the address and ABN of the company submitting the JSA
Should include a risk matrix where no two risk scores repeat themselves. (5×5 matrix – 1-25 risk scores recommended) A basic risk matrix is required (3×3 – H,M,L matrix is acceptable)
Should include required training, equipment, hazardous substances, PPE and permits required to complete the task in specific requirement identification sections. Should include required training, equipment, hazardous substances, PPE and permits required to complete the task in the risk control measures sections.
Job step, task process, possible hazards, initial risk score, risk control measures, residual risk score and control responsibility should be detailed. Task process, possible hazards, risk control measures, control responsibility and risk score should be detailed.
Additional blank sections should be included in the rear of the document in the event that the task changes and additional safety control measures are required. Additional blank sections should be included in the rear of the document in the event that the task changes and additional safety control measures are required.
Must be communicated to and signed by all persons undertaking the listed tasks. Must be communicated to and signed by all persons undertaking the listed tasks.

 

I expect the workplace debates on whether a task requires a SWMS or a JSA to rage on into the future but I hope readers of this basic comparison can identify what type of risk control tool they should be using and what the document should include.

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au

 

Writing a SWMS

swms, writing swms, ohsHere’s 6 steps we use when writing Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS).

1. Title Page

When preparing the title page of a SWMS it is important the following information is available to the reader.

  • Work Activity
  • Project Name
  • Project Address
  • Client
  • Persons involved in the development & Approval of the SWMS
  • Company Name
  • Company Address
  • Company ABN
  • Equipment Used
  • Training/Licensing
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Permits to Work
  • High Risk Work
  • PPE Required
  • Legislation/Standards Referenced when preparing document

2. Risk Matrix

A SWMS should contain a risk matrix that outlines how the hazards will be assessed and rated in terms of consequence and likelihood and what each rating corresponds to in a matric table.

  • Step 1. – Identify the credible consequence for each unwanted event
  • Step 2. – Determine the likelihood of the event occurring and it resulting in the consequence
  • Step 3. – Utilise the risk matrix to identify the risk and risk rating.

3. SWMS Body

The body of the SWMS should be tabular in form and contain the following headings

  • Activity Step – 1,2,3,4 etc.
  • Activity Process – Job Planning/Induction, Initial Site R.A, Delivery of Materials
  • Possible Activity Hazards – Crush injury from plant collisions, Impact injury from falling loads, Electrocution via Overhead Lines etc.
  • Initial Risk Score – The corresponding risk score for the hazard, before controls, from the matrix as calculated by the person preparing the SWMS
  • Control Measures – What measures are being taken to reduce both the consequence and likelihood of the risk. Control measures should be identified in line with the hierarchy of control. Elimination – Substitution – Engineering – Admin – PPE
  • Residual Risk Score – The corresponding risk score for the hazard, after controls, from the matrix as calculated by the person preparing the SWMS
  • Control Responsibility – Who has the responsibility of implementing the controls

4. SWMS Work Team Sign On

All employees involved in the works activities must sign onto the SWMS document to acknowledge:

  • They have been given the opportunity of SWMS input
  • Read and agree with the contents
  • Agree to use and work kin accordance with the SWMS
  • Will stop immediately if the SWMS cannot be followed

This section is usually tabular in form and with the following headings:

  • Employee Name
  • Employee Signature
  • Date

5. SWMS Amendments Page

A blank SWMS body page with the same headings as the SWMS body above should be available in the rear of the SWMS or at the end of the SWMS initial body to allow for additional/variation work activity SWMS input.

6. SWMS Amendments Work Team Sign On Page

All employees involved in the additional/variation works must review the amended SWMS section and sign on to the SWMS amendment sign on page.

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au

Current State & Use of SWMS

swms-preview - Copy

The Safety Institute of Australia (SIA), with support of RMIT University conducted a seminar on safety in the construction industry. As with last year’s event Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) dominated the conversation. The frustrations expressed by the crowd were the same as last year – SWMS are demanded for tasks they are not legally required for, they are too big and complex, they are rarely read, they are rarely reviewed and they are written only in English.

It seemed that the audience was waiting for a directive from government on SWMS but the seminar had no speakers from OHS/WHS regulators.

There is little evidence at the moment that SWMS work as intended for non-high risk work although research done recently by Paul Breslin, HSE Manager at Brookfield Multiplex indicates that when SWMS are workable and effective workers like to use them.

The audience also heard how while SWMS are being used for within the construction sector for almost ‘everything’ other sectors with high risk works like manufacturing seem less bound up by SWMS and more on traditional SOP’s for a range of activities. This indicates that the significance of SWMS in construction is high but not a big issue outside of the sector explaining the lack of attention by the regulator.

There has been some voice for moving the current focus of safety in the construction industry away from SWMS and onto the hierarchy of control. This was not discussed at the recent SIA seminar.

Change on the issue of SWMS will only occur when people say no to the demand for SWMS outside their original design and legislative requirement.

The lack of change on the SWMS issue, particularly in Victoria, is a result of everyone waiting for someone else to take the lead on the issue, and no one is.  It is possible that Victoria is feeling uncertain, wayward and leaderless given that its Government has chosen to miss the boat on OHS/WHS harmonisation.

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au