Work Method Statements
In the Australian construction industry, work method statements are used to describe and instruct safety management practices for individual jobs, tasks, and equipment use. The statement is a specific set of instructions on how to complete the work safely. Method statements are delivered to the consultant at least three weeks before a contractor is scheduled to perform the work within the contract’s schedule. The statement is required if certain dangerous activities must be performed, and the statement must follow a specific protocol. Let’s look at both of these more in depth.
Activities in Which a Work Method Statement is Required
Statements are required for dangerous locations, where injuries are presented by a potential fall, where asbestos is present and wherever the contractor feels a danger may exist. The following are more details about the activities in which the statement is required:
- Any location in which a worker must enter a trench deeper than 1.5 metres.
- Any work which must be completed in a confined space.
- Any job in which explosives are necessary.
- Any job in which hazardous materials are necessary for job completion.
- Any housing construction job in which a three metre fall is possible.
- Any other construction job in which a two metre fall is possible.
- Any job on a roof pitched more than 26 degrees.
- Any job close to a water source in which drowning is possible.
- Any electrical-, chemical- or gas-related work.
- Any job in which a structure is in danger of collapsing on workers, like construction.
- Any work in which an artificial temperature could cause harm.
- Any work in a flammable area.
Work method statements must address the following to be considered and accepted: purpose, scope, references, definitions, responsibilities, equipment, risk assessment, safety, procedures, and applicable attachments. All must be addressed, the plan must make sense and be implementable, and the plan may be changed and reviewed periodically for any unforeseen changes in work. The changed work statement must then be presented to the contractor for approval before the new work tactics may be implemented.
On-going work of the same caliber and job tasks may continuously use the same work method statement, however, the statement must be reassessed annually. A job in which a work method statement is required but not being satisfied is subject to penalties, suspension or ceasing business operations. Because the government would be responsible for caring for injured employees in an absent work method statement situation, the ideas behind penalties, suspensions and business operation cessation are understandable; the government needs for statements to be produced and followed, both to protect workers and to monetarily maintain the health care system.
Overall, the work method statement provides Australia the ability to guide workers in potentially dangerous jobs through the perils, protect citizens, and maintain governmental control over unnecessary injuries. Australia remains on the forefront of injury prevention.