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Have you reviewed your SWMS lately?


A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a document that sets out the work activity to be performed, identifies the assosicated hazards and accompanying risks involved, and implements controls, codes of practice and/or legislation to reduce these risks.

Ensuring that your SWMS' are updated regularly and contain the most accurate and correct information to keep your employees safe, is VITAL.

Some useful tips: 

Working at Heights

Did you know that under the new Work Health & Safety Regulations 2011, working at heights no longer has a minimum height restriction? Any circumstance in which a person is exposed to a risk of falling is considered working at heights, therefore any situation that involves, climbing on plant & equipment (including trucks and Ute trays), using a ladder, working from a roof edge, over barriers or on any raised, unprotected platform is considered a risk and Safe Work Method Statements should be adjusted accordingly to reflect this change.
Note: Western Australia and Victoria (who are still under the old Occupational Health & Safety Regulations 2001), still define “working at heights” to be 2 metres, or above.

Working Alone

Working alone means that a person is on their own, cannot be seen or heard by another person and does not expect a visit from another worker. Working alone can pose huge health and safety risks to a business if not managed correctly. It is important to take all reasonable steps to reduce the risks involved when working alone.

For any task potentially being performed alone, 3 steps should be taken:

Step 1 – Determine whether the worker will be working alone when they are carrying out a task
Step 2 – Identify and asses the risks associated with the task itself
Step 3 – Control the risks

But how do you control the risks of working alone when no one is around?

After identifying the main risk factors associated with working alone, control measures can be put in place. You should consider utilising some of the following options:

  • Provide a dedicated supervisor or rescue person, if the risks are particularly high

  • Monitor workers through regular site visits

  • Provide appropriate communication – mobile phone, radio, satellite or personal duress alarms

  • Communicate regularly 

  • Provide adequate induction, special training, information and clear instructions on how to perform the task, and the overall task outcomes

  • Develop appropriate procedures and policies that impose limits on what can and cannot be done when working alone

  • Establish a procedure for securing emergency assistance in the event of an incident 

  • Implementing security measures such as  lighting, security cameras, etc.

  • Implementing a buddy system

  • Modifying the workplace design e.g. installing barriers or increasing visibility to make work safer

  • Use a tracking system, whereby the worker checks in at regular intervals to monitor their safety and performance

Lastly, combine all these elements to create a working alone policy and SWMS to ensure all your employees understand the risks and procedures associated with working alone.