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Interactive SWMS Tool

The interactive Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) tool is now available on the Safe Work Australia website.

The tool provides helpful information about what a SWMS does, how it makes a difference, and what the WHS laws say about preparing and using a SWMS.

A SWMS sets out high risk construction work activities, hazards associated with these activities, and how the risks will be controlled. A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) carrying out high risk construction work is required to prepare, keep, comply with, and review SWMSs.

The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 identifies 18 activities as high-risk construction work (s291). A SWMS must be prepared before high-risk construction work is carried out.

For example, some of the work identified as high-risk construction work includes:

Work that involves:

  • a risk of a person falling more than two metres
  • some types of demolition
  • disturbing asbestos
  • tilt-up or precast concrete.

Work that is carried out in or nearby:

  • confined spaces
  • a shaft or trench with a depth greater than 1.5 metres
  • a road or other traffic corridor; movement of powered mobile plant.

The tool is an introduction to SWMSs for anyone who has not undertaken high risk construction work before and is also a reminder to experienced contractors of what a SWMS is for and how it should be used.

The 2018 review of the model work health and safety legislation found that SWMSs were not operating as intended. The review found that there was a poor understanding of the requirements and what type of work needs a SWMS. It also identified that SWMSs were not reviewed or maintained. The interactive tool addresses all these issues and more.