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Free Safe Work Method Statement Template (SWMS)

Download our free Safe Work Method Statement Template:

*For internal use only. Not for resale or redistribution. By downloading, you agree to our Free Resources Licensing Agreement.

Safe Work Method Statement TemplatePurpose of SWMS

Safe Work Method Statement templates are used to identify hazards, assess risks and outline controls for high risk construction work activities within the workplace. The primary goal is to protect workers from injury or illness by providing a safe system of work. This form is broadly aligned with AS45001:2018.

How to Use

Complete the relevant sections of the form, including the site / location and other details as required. Add an overview of the work being conducted / task steps and what hazards and risks exist for these steps. Assess the risks using a risk matrix. Finally, list the controls and have workers read and sign-off that they understand and agree to comply with the SWMS.

NOTE: This document is a template only and it must be customised for your business. Other aspects that may need to be considered include, but are not limited to, ensuring that:

  • Relevant legal requirements have been met,
  • Workplace specific risks are identified and managed, and
  • Workers are consulted with during the customisation / review process.

When to Use

Safe Work Method Statements should generally be completed prior to high risk construction work commencing.

Who Should Use

This form can be completed by your workers, Safety Advisor, Project Manager or other competent person in your organisation. Workers must be consulted with during the development of a SWMS.

Legal Considerations

Legally, workplaces (or PCBUs) need to ensure a Safe Work Method Statement is completed prior to high-risk construction work commencing. The requirements for SWMS is outlined in:

  • Division 2 WHS Regulations – High risk construction work (safe work method statements)

A SWMS may also help to meet:

  • s(19)c WHS Act – Duty to Provide Safe Systems of Work

FAQ

What is a SWMS?

A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a safety planning document developed for high-risk construction work.

What is the difference between a SWMS and a JSA?

In short, not much. Both documents outline the task steps, hazards and controls. Both documents are used to plan work safely. The main difference is that the contents of a SWMS is regulated under the WHS Regulations and legally a SWMS must be completed for high-risk construction work.

What should a SWMS include?

A SWMS should include details of the work to be performed, the hazards associated with it, the risk assessment results, and the control measures to mitigate these risks.

Can a SWMS be generic?

While a SWMS can start as a generic document, it must be customized and detailed to address the specific risks and controls relevant to the particular work activity or site.

Who should have access to a SWMS?

All workers involved in the high-risk work, supervisors, and any other personnel affected by the activities should have easy access to the SWMS.

How often should a SWMS be reviewed?

A SWMS should be reviewed regularly and updated as necessary, especially if there are changes in the work process, equipment, or environment, or if it is found to be ineffective.

What happens if work does not comply with the SWMS?

Non-compliance with a SWMS can lead to work being stopped, fines, or other penalties as determined by work health and safety regulations and authorities.

Can a SWMS be electronic?

Yes, a SWMS can be in electronic form as long as it is accessible to those who need to use and refer to it, and capable of being printed if required.

Article Sources and Further Reading

  1. Safe Work Method Statement for High risk Construction Work (Safe Work Australia) <https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/system/files/documents/1703/information-sheet-safe-work-method-statement.pdf>
  2. A Comprehensive Guide To Safe Work Method Statements (Spire Safety) <https://spiresafety.com.au/resources/safe-work-method-statements/>
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