Safeguarding Employees with Method Statements

By | September 19, 2011

method StatementConstruction site accidents generally happen because someone does something wrong. Method statements are therefore produced to set out how jobs are to be undertaken.

This should not only ensure they’re done more efficiently but should also mean mistakes are avoided and accidents are reduced as a result

Employers are becoming increasingly safety-conscious, as well as being governed by regulations, and so will insist on all necessary safety precautions being taken. This may include the preparation of method statements as well as the need for all workers to carry CSCS cards.

Clients will generally require that main contractors produce method statements for each contract while main contractors will need sub-contractors to produce them for their particular area of work.

Demonstrating Safe Working

These statements will need to be prepared and approved before starting on site and are sometimes required at tender stage. This gives the client the opportunity to assess the contractor’s capability. For the contractor, it is a chance to demonstrate its efficiency and may give a competitive edge over rivals if done properly.

A method statement will usually be prepared after a risk assessment has been completed. This will have identified the main hazards on a site and set out how they can be avoided or minimised. Some of the information in the risk assessment will be carried forward into the method statement.

Although method statements don’t have a set format, they do need to contain certain information and many companies will have an established format for the documents they produce. Some of the information may be relatively standard and will provide descriptive, identification and contact details for the company and the job. There may also be some generic information that covers PPE, standard practices and references.

The hazards identified by the risk assessment will be included, together with any environmental and quality procedures that have to be followed. The main area of the method statement will be step-by-step guide to how tasks are undertaken in a safe manner and the equipment to be used.

Simple and Short Method Statements

Carpentry QualificationAll method statements are intended to be read and followed by site operatives. They should, therefore, not be over-complicated and be kept as short as possible without omitting anything important. Diagrams can be useful to illustrate steps in a clear manner.

Although every method statement has to be site and job specific, it is possible to base one on a generic document or template that provides the standard details plus information that is relevant to all jobs of a particular type (such as when working at height). This simplifies the production of the statement since it is then only necessary to add specific content. The aim is to produce a document that will provide all required information in a simple manner, ensuring operatives will read and understand it so the site is kept safe.