Safe Work Method Statements – What are They, and When are They Necessary?


If you’ve ever worked in construction, you’ve probably heard about safe work method statements (SWMS) before. Whilst the term gets thrown around a lot, not many people fully understand the reason for their existence and how they can help reduce workplace health and safety risks whilst working on site. In this blog post, Advanced Group will be filling you in on everything you need to know about SWMS’s.

When is a SWMS Required?

The construction industry is not without risks. From working at heights to working with heavy machinery or confined spaces, these situations along with others would be classed as ‘high risk’. Dangerous situations can arise at a moments notice, leaving little time to react. As every job has specific risks and steps required, SWMS’s are site-specific and cannot be reused. They must be completed prior to work commencing in order to remain compliant with the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011.

To help reduce the level of risk associated with working on site, a SWMS aims to highlight potential risks and specify the safest way to carry out the necessary work. When writing the SWMS, the contractor will break down the steps involved at each stage of construction into a clear and logical sequence. Hazards are identified, and control measures will then be put in place. This helps to keep contractors, managers, workers, builders and other people involved on-site operating at maximum efficiency in a safe and appropriate manner, drastically reducing the risk of workplace injury.

Points Covered in a SWMS

A comprehensive SWMS will contain the following:

  • Detailed Description of Proposed Construction Activities
  • Suggestions for Improving Efficiency, Safety and Effectiveness when performing above duties
  • Summary of available resources, manpower and skills needed to complete each task
  • Proposed control measures to be put in place, as well as information on how they will be evaluated throughout the project

The SWMS is normally written by the contractor in charge of a high-risk construction project. Workers may be invited to raise concerns and voice their opinion, and the principal contractor will ensure these are considered when writing the SWMS. It is important that all team members have access to the SWMS and have a strong understanding of its contents, and therefore you may wish to include diagrams/picture illustrations to assist with comprehension, particularly amongst those with limited understanding of English.

SWMS Templates

SWMS templates are readily available online from SafeWork NSW, and this can help to speed up the development process.

A copy should be readily accessible on site for all team members. Utilising a template will help to:

  • Save your business time and money
  • Make the SWMS easier to understand and help all team members stay safe on site
  • Reduce the risk of errors by covering all necessary points in a consistent and concise manner
  • Improve site productivity and efficiency

Advanced Group Put Safety First

Advanced Group are a leading labour hire agency in Australia supplying experienced, passionate workers at short notice. We place a strong emphasis on safety when it comes to high-risk construction work and are proud of our strong industry connections with some of Australia’s biggest contractors.

 If you are keen to get involved in working on exciting new infrastructure projects, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact our friendly recruitment team today to discuss your experience and whether you may be a good fit for our current and upcoming projects.