Hazard Related Topics
Employers are required under the Health and Safety at Work Act to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, a safe system of work for employees. For any piece of work or operation which is non-routine or considered to be hazardous a Contractor should produce a written Method Statement setting out the sequence, method, management and health and safety of arrangements for carrying out a piece of work or operation. It must identify the risks involved and the methods to be used to manage those risks. The extent of detail in a statement will depend on the size and complexity of the piece of work or operation.
The main purpose in producing a method statement is to ensure that the personnel carrying out the task:
- Carry out the work in a structured and controlled manner.
- Understand the hazards and risks associated with each sequence of the work.
- Use the controls specified to reduce the risk of injury, ill health or damage.
- Carry out the work safely.
A method statement should be sequential, easily understood, and cover every aspect of the task to be undertaken. A copy should be in the possession of the person in direct charge of the work and the contents should be known and fully understood by the workers carrying out the work. Any changes made because of unforeseen circumstances on site should be recorded and agreed and communicated to all involved in the work. Herewith a suggested list of contents:
- A detailed sequential description of the operation to be carried out.
- The area of the work should be clearly identified and clarified by the use of drawings, sketches etc.
- Identify the arrangements for the supervision of the operation.
- Identify the individual responsible for monitoring the safety arrangements.
- Identify the precautions to be taken to minimise the risks to the safety of the individuals carrying out the work and any others who may be affected.
- Identify the precautions to be taken to minimise any risks to the health of the individuals carrying out the work and anyone else who could be affected.
- Identify any plant to be used during the operation and specify the authorised users.
- Identify any sub-operations requiring permit-to-work controls such as hot work, work in confined spaces, work on electrical systems etc.
- Identify details of emergency procedures including evacuation and rescue procedures.
- Identify the procedures to be adopted to provide protection in cases of overlap between the work in hand and areas used by other contractors, visitors or the general public.
- Detail items of protective clothing and equipment considered necessary to augment laid down safety procedures including clothing required for weather protection.