A method statement, sometimes referred to as a safe system of work, details the specific working practices that should be followed to stay safe when carrying out a given task. A method statement should set out the task in a logical, step-by-step manner giving clear instruction. It is commonly set out with bullet points and should include:
- Title and brief description of task.
- Company details.
- Location of where the task will be carried out, including address.
- Name of person who completed the method statement.
- Full description of the work to be carried out including step by step guide.
- Work equipment and tools required.
What is a method statement?
A method statement is an important health and safety document used commonly in medium to high-risk industries such as construction, to inform the person carrying out the work how they should do so safely and effectively. It should be created before work is carried out and after a comprehensive risk assessment has been completed. Before an employee starts the work described in the method statement they should read through, understand and be fully trained in all of the steps described.
A good method statement outlines the step-by-step process to be followed when completing a task. It should be clear and precise, taking into consideration any hazards and control measures that have already been identified within your risk assessment.
Risk assessments and method statements are two different documents but you may sometimes hear them referred to together as “RAMS” – this shows how the two documents are intrinsically linked and must be used in conjunction with one another. The risk assessment is vital (and required by law) to identify the hazards and control measures needed to mitigate risk, and the method statement outlines the specific details of how to put this into practice.
How to create your method statement
Rather than repeating the information already included in your risk assessment, you should use a method statement to enhance a risk assessment by setting out the steps required to complete the task that the method statement relates to.
When writing a method statement, it is crucial that you use straightforward language that can be understood by all and that will not be misinterpreted. A method statement should include enough detail relevant to the risks associated with the task. Don’t just list the basics, clarify how each step should be completed.
Your method statement should be written by a Competent Person, someone who is not only adequately trained in health and safety procedures but also has significant understanding of the task being undertaken.
Why create a method statement?
A method statement, unlike a risk assessment, is not required by law. However, there are many reasons that you should get into the habit of creating method statements for all tasks, especially in high-risk industries.
A clear and concise method statement helps to reduce confusion within your workforce and ensures that correct and consistent procedures are followed. Of course, this adds to the efficacy of a risk assessment in keeping your staff and customers safe. This in turn can also boost productivity and give you confidence that your internal working processes are as efficient as possible, saving you both time and money.
Method statements are often requested as part of the tendering process. A professionally crafted method statement shows that you are committed to working safely and within the law, and also gives potential clients an insight into the kind of company they’ll be working with. When pitching for a job, this could provide you with the competitive advantage you need to secure that coveted client.
With CRAMS you can make sure that all your risk assessments and method statements are available online, communicated out to the relevant staff in a few clicks.
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