They can go by different names, such as safety or work method statements or a plan of work. Whatever the name the aim remains the same. That is, to state how the hazard and risk controls identified in the risk assessment will actually be applied in practice.
Risk assessments and method statements are so intertwined that in the construction sector they are often referred to as risk assessment method statements (RAMS). RAMS are frequently asked for as part of any construction tender.
A method statement is just a health and safety document that is usually associated with high-risk work (but it can apply to any work activity). It describes how (the method), the job will be carried out safely.
The document must identify the potential hazards (taken from the risk assessment) and outline the necessary precautions put in place to ensure everybody's safety not just the workers carrying out the task. It should be written in a simple, easy to understand form - the HSE actively discourage long detailed documents. People are more likely to follow simple instructions rather than a long set of complicated advice.
Method statements, or more often RAMS, are sometimes used in the tender process to evaluate a company. By looking at the RAMS supplied a company's dedication to working safely and a safe working method can be examined.
So learning how to identify hazards and things with a potential to cause harm and to follow a risk assessment process. From which writing a method statement that uses the control measures to reduce the risks identified not only helps you work safely but may give you a better chance of winning contracts.
A risk assessment is an examination of a task or process where anything that could cause harm or damage is identified. People or things that may be harmed or damaged are then identified, the risk then evaluated, control measures to reduce the risk decided upon. How you will decide if the control measures are working and what things will trigger you to re-examine your assessment.
As an employer or self-employed person, you must do a risk assessment but you only need to record it if you employee five or more people.
A safety method statement is not required by law. It is not concerned with identifying hazards, or evaluating risks or review dates. It is simply a document that states what the hazard is and how it has been decided to carry out the task so that the risk from the hazard is as low as reasonably possible. (ALARP).
Before we go any further you may find this HSE youtube video useful. So, now lets work through the steps in writing a method statement.
Method Statement – Plumber – Remove bathroom suite
Prepared by: YOURCOMPANYNAME (ACME plumbing co)
For: NAME OF PROJECT/CONTRACT NUMBER (number 84 Acacia street)
Scope of Works
This method statement describes the work process for the following
4 So we have identified 6 individual steps to remove the bathroom suite. The risk assessment would then be consulted for each step to see what control measures, if any, had been decided upon to reduce any identified risks. So, in our example, here is what we would record;
Step by step process
Start of works
Removal of bath
Removal of WHB
Removal of WC
Finally you would just record who wrote the document and when. The above example is from the HSE and more information is available on their web site.