Demolition Safe Work Method Statement

Demolition Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS Template) delivered in Microsoft Word format for easy editing.

Demolition Safe Work Method Statement

Demolition Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)

Whether you need to get on site to start work, looking to create a safe work environment or pitching for that next government tender - the Demolition Safe Work Method Statement is easy to customise, easy to use and easy to integrate into your current Safety Management System. If you don't have a Safety Management System, we need to talk, seriously, you don't need to be carrying that level of risk exposure in your business - we can help.

Look, we understand that business should be rewarding and not consumed by tedious red tape. The Safe Work Method Statement Template we create is in an easy to understand format, while at the same time being some of the highest quality documents in the industry. Our SWMS documents get you onsite, save you loads of time and are very user-friendly. This way, you can get on with doing what you do best.

The Demolition Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) covers the following Job Steps, including potential hazards, control measures and risk ratings:

  1. Planning and preparation
  2. Training and capabilities
  3. Assess on site conditions
  4. Set up work area
  5. Temporary Traffic Control (TMP)
  6. Delivery of materials and equipment
  7. Arrival onsite structural stability and & engineering details
  8. Mechanical demolition structural/suspended floor slabs
  9. Strip out of fixtures and fittings
  10. Roof system removal (sheeting, trusses). Also see Working at Heights Procedure
  11. Public protection
  12. Working at heights
  13. Services
  14. Plant and equipment
  15. Supervisor/key personnel
  16. Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  17. Dust
  18. Noise neighbouring properties/Site workers
  19. Housekeeping
  20. Manual handling
  21. On completion

The Demolition Safe Work Method Statement, includes;

Risk Assessment Matrix | Hierarchy of Controls | PPE | Emergency Response

Your Demolition Safe Work Method Statement is ready to be used in three easy steps:

  1. Add your company logo and details to the SWMS Template.
  2. Identify site specific risks.
  3. Address any site specific risks and add them to your SWMS Template.

Your SWMS is now read to use, and may also be used as training materials for work related activities such as Workplace Inductions or WHS-OHS Toolbox Meeting Talks.

Bluesafe Quick Tips:

  1. If the demolition is carried out by machines. The safety measures relevant to operation and use of such machines should be adhered to, particularly in regards to explosives.
  2. Notify other parties on the workspace and neighboring workspaces about the demolition.
  3. Conduct a demolition risk assessment, and arrange induction training.

Demolition Safe Work Method Statement

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View a Safe Work Method Statement Example

See an example of a Safe Work Method Statement Template below. All our SWMS Template documents are comprehensive in nature, easy to use, and are a huge time saver. Our Safe Work Method Statement Templates are quick and easy to customise to your specific business or operation and are perfectly suited for every day use, for larger contracts and tenders right through to qualifying for contractor management platforms such as CM3.

What is a Safe Work Method Statement?

A SWMS is a document that outlines the high-risk construction work activities that will be performed at a workplace, the hazards that will be present as a result of these activities, and the controls that will be implemented to mitigate the risks.

A single SWMS can be utilised for numerous high-risk construction work activities, such as employing powered mobile plant, working at heights of more than 2 metres, and working near to a road that is used by traffic other than pedestrians.

A SWMS is an administrative control that is used to support higher-order controls, such as engineering controls, that are designed to remove or reduce hazards to health and safety.

A SWMS differs from other documentation such as a Job Safety Analysis or a Safe Operating Procedure in that it focuses on specific jobs or processes. A SWMS isn't meant to be a procedure; rather, it's a tool for supervisors and workers to check and monitor the workplace control measures. For high-risk work activities, a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking)  must prepare a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) or check that one has been prepared before starting work. It is important to note that before any work process has started, a SWMS must be prepared.

A PCBU, on the other hand, also must manage health and safety hazards by eliminating or reducing them as much as possible. Before beginning any work on a project, the principal contractor must also obtain a copy of the SWMS.

What information does a Safe Work Method Statement need to contain?

A Safe Work Method Statement should identify high-risk work and any specify hazards related to high-risk construction work as well as any health and safety risks. The SWMS should describe the risk-control measures to be implemented, monitored, and reviewed and also should describe how the risk-control measures will be effective at reducing or eliminating the risk, and how they will be implemented, monitored, and reviewed.

A Safe Work Method Statement should be concise and focus on outlining the specific risks identified for the high-risk work to be performed, as well as the control measures to be implemented to ensure that the work is completed safely.

A long and overly complex Safe Work Method Statement which could be difficult to comprehend, implement and monitor or review may be confusing for workers to mentally digest and therefore is not ideal in helping to reduce or eliminate risks in the workplace. It is imperative that workers, and especially those who do not speak English, are able to understand the Safe Work Method Statement. Consider having pictures or diagrams added to the SWMS as a more effective way of presenting information contained within the SWMS.

The SWMS should also contain other regulatory requirements to protect health and safety of all personnel, such as controlling noise exposure and manual job risks. Also, keep in mind that evidence of a completed risk assessment may be required by the regulator or for auditing reasons if the Safe Work Method Statement is based on a workplace-specific risk assessment.

Who's Responsible for creating the Safe Work Method Statement?

In collaboration with workers who will be directly engaged in the activity, the person responsible for carrying out the work is usually best equipped to prepare the SWMS document. In most cases, this means that a Safe Work Method Statement is created by the builder for his or her employees, or by the subcontractor for their employees.

To establish who is in the best position to prepare the Safe Work Method Statement, the principle contractor, builder, and/or subcontractors should decide who will take responsibility for the SWMS.

It's also a requirement that all managers, contractors, supervisors, and workers be involved in the creation of a Safe Work Method Statement. Workers must be consulted so that they understand the SWMS in depth and what they must do to establish and maintain risks and implement control measures to manage the risk. Sharing information and utilising workers' knowledge and experience may also aid in ensuring that the task is completed in accordance with the SWMS.

If your workplace has a Health and Safety Representative, they should also be contacted while creating a Safe Work Method Statement.

What does the principal contractor's responsibility entail?

Before beginning work, a principal contractor must take all reasonable steps to obtain a SWMS from any contractor performing high-risk work. If no SWMS exists, the principal contractor must arrange for one to be created, for example by the contractor or subcontractor.

A general contractor should establish plans to ensure that high-risk work is carried out safely and in compliance with the Safe Work Method Statement. This can be done by keeping an eye on how the SWMS is being implemented on the ground.

The principal contractors' WHS management plan must also include detailed arrangements for collecting, assessing, monitoring, and reviewing the SWMS, according to the WHS Regulations.

How to Write a Safe Work Method Statement 

If you're looking to write your own Demolition Safe Work Method Statement, the first step is to create the document as a Safe Work Method Statement Template. This way, you can use the same SWMS Template and then adjust the document for each different glazing project as needed, making sure that your Demolition SWMS Template addresses any site specific risks. 

The fastest and most cost effective solution would be to purchase a Bluesafe Demolition SWMS Template. However, if you decide to take the route of writing your own demolition SWMS.

There are some fundamental requirements and information which you may want to consider adding to your Demolition SWMS such as: 

  • Details of the person(s) responsible for making sure implementation, monitoring and compliance of the Demolition SWMS as well as any reviews and modifications.
  • Any information detailing safety meetings or toolbox talks in relation to demolition work, scheduled in accordance with legislative requirements to first identify any site hazards where the demolition work is being conducted, secondly, communicate the risks and hazards and then take steps to eliminate or control each hazard in relation to the demolition work being done.
  • Any changes added to the Demolition SWMS after an incident or a near miss. 

Note: The Demolition SWMS must be kept and be available for inspection at least until the demolition work is completed. Where the Demolition SWMS is revised, all versions of the SWMS Template should be kept. If a notifiable incident occurs in relation to the Demolition Safe Work Method Statement, the Demolition SWMS must be kept for a minimum of two years from the date of the incident. 

Your Demolition Safe Work Method Statement Template should list any high risk construction work, such as:

  • Does the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS involve a risk of a person falling more than 2 meters?
  • Is the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS carried out on or near pressurised gas mains or piping?
  • Is the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS carried out on a telecommunication tower?
  • Is the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS carried out on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines?
  • Does the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS involve demolition of an element of a structure that is load-bearing?
  • Is the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS carried out on or near energised electrical installations or services?
  • Does the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS involve demolition of an element related to the physical integrity of a structure?
  • Is the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS carried out in an area that may have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere?
  • Does the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS involve, or is likely to involve, disturbing asbestos?
  • Does the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS involve tilt-up or precast concrete?
  • Does the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS involve structural alteration or repair that requires temporary support to prevent collapse?
  • Is the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS carried out on, in or adjacent to a road, railway, shipping lane or other traffic corridor?
  • Is the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS carried out in or near a confined space?
  • Is the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS carried out in an area of a workplace where there is any movement of powered mobile plant?
  • Is the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS carried out in/near a shaft or trench deeper than 1.5m or tunnel involving use of explosives?
  • Is the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS carried out in areas with artificial extremes of temperature?
  • Is the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS carried out in or near water or other liquid that involves a risk of drowning?
  • Does the demolition work outlined in the Demolition SWMS involve diving work?

Your Demolition Safe Work Method Statement should also identify any high-risk machinery or equipment in operation near the work site, such as:

Your Demolition SWMS should also list any Personal Protective Equipment such as:

  • Foot Protection - Boots or closed in shoes
  • Hand Protection - Gloves
  • Head Protection - Hard hat or helmet
  • Hearing Protection - Ear plugs or ear muffs
  • Eye Protection - Safety glasses, goggles or face shields
  • Respiratory Protection - Face masks etc
  • Face Protection - Face shield, welding mask etc
  • High Visual Clothing
  • Protective Clothing - Overalls etc
  • Fall Protection - Safety harness, edge protection etc
  • Sun Protection - Sunscreen, hat etc
  • Hair and Jewellery Secured - Hair Net, etc 

The Demolition SWMS must be reviewed continually to ensure it remains effective and relevant. The Demolition SWMS must be reviewed (and revised if necessary) if relevant control measures in relation to demolition work are revised. The review process should be carried out in consultation with workers (including contractors and subcontractors) who may be affected by the Demolition and their health and safety representatives who represented that work group at the workplace.

When the Demolition SWMS has been revised, the person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure:

  1. All persons involved in the demolition work are advised that a revision has been made and how they can access the revised Demolition SWMS;
  2. Persons who will need to change a work procedure or system as a result of the review are advised of the changes in a way that will enable them to implement their duties consistently with the revised Demolition SWMS; and,
  3. Workers that will be involved in the demolition work are provided with the relevant information and instruction that will assist them to understand and implement the revised Demolition SWMS.

When preparing your Demolition SWMS, here are some topics you might want to also include to ensure you have covered as many risks and hazards as possible.  

Planning and Preparation When Working With and Around Demolition. 

When writing your Demolition SWMS, establish any policies, procedures and systems for working with Demolitions in consultation with the Principal Contractor and workers while being sure to establish:

  • Health and Safety guidelines for demolition work
  • Emergency plans and evacuation procedures for the Demolition SWMS
  • Worker inductions for Demolition
  • Toolbox talks (safety meetings) added to the Demolition SWMS
  • Outline details of supervision of the site and workers on the Demolition SWMS
  • Check all workers qualifications, permits and competencies for Demolition operations
  • Ensure the Demolition and any related equipment is functioning correctly
  • Hazard reporting procedures in place and added to the Demolition SWMS
  • Incident reporting procedures in place and added to the Demolition SWMS
  • Exclusion zones when conducting demolition work
  • Risk Assessment for TASK completed and noted on the Demolition SWMS
  • Electrical NO GO ZONES identified, discussed and documented.

Assessment of Site Conditions

Thoroughly assess the work site/area conditions when doing demolition and ensure that: 

  1. A risk assessment of the demolition work is conducted
  2. Suitable access and adequate space to conduct demolition work safely
  3. Consult with all stakeholders on potential hazards and risks when conducting demolition work
  4. Consultation with all relevant workers and personnel for Demolition SWMS details
  5. If conducting Demolition at night, ensure there is adequate lighting
  6. Check that the work environment is suitable for demolition work

Demolition Training and Worker Qualifications

Ensure all workers have the appropriate licenses in conducting Demolition as well as any qualifications that may be required for various demolition projects before starting work. If White Cards are required, retain copies of all cards, licenses and qualifications of personnel. All personnel must:

  1. Be trained and/or have received instructions on the Demolition SWMS including all safety and emergency procedures.
  2. Be qualified, knowledgeable and competent in Demolition operations and demolition work as well as all delegated tasks/responsibilities
  3. Be fully aware and understand the scope of work in relation to the Demolition SWMS

Below are some examples of some Control Measures to be implemented when creating your own Demolition Safe Work Method Statement Template: 

  • Make sure that the Principal Contractor is using the services of a qualified Structural Engineer for arranging an Engineering review, a dilapidation survey and report of adjoining properties.
  • Make sure that this SWMS is reviewed and monitored by a responsible and competent person.
  • For mechanical demolition, use an excavator fitted with a breaker attachment. Allow the demolished material to fall to the ground.
  • Provide engineering details for floor loadings of permissible equipment size and movements.
  • For demolishing a suspended slab, place an excavator, with a rock breaker attachment, on the floor level. Allow the plant to remove the slab systematically, so that waste material fall to the area below.
  • Establish an exclusion zone for project workers.
  • Use hand removal techniques of salvaging fixtures and fittings  use hand held tools and equipment.
  • During this initial work phase, make sure no load bearing components of the structure are demolished.
  • Wherever possible, provide access for workers above floor level by way of an approved internal staircase or a suitably restrained ladder.Follow strictly all procedures for working at heights. (Refer below)
  • Prevent fall of workers by using Travel Restraint Systems to structural beams.
  • Follow strictly all procedures for working at heights.(Refer below)
  • Wherever required, make sure the Principal Contractor has provided the following;
  • A free-standing structural hoarding meeting the minimum legislative requirements.
  • A heavy duty scaffold that is fully sheeted with shade cloth and mesh.
  • In accordance with Australian Standards, only certified personnel can erect scaffolds.
  • Signs installed at various locations on the barricades denoting: Demolition in progress
  • Keep Out
  • Plant movement:
  • Do not go beyond specified speed limits.
  • Make sure the flashing light/beeper is on.
  • Use a spotter wherever practical/available.
  • High visibility PPE is being worn at all times.
  • Check the work area for other plant before commencing work/movement.
  • In situations where a worker could fall a distance of 2M or more, make sure that the Principal Contractor is using one or more of the following precautions for the workers:
  • Maintaining a permanent (structural) guardrail or other edge protection.
  • An approved work platform (Cherry picker, Scissor lift, mobile scaffold, etc.)
  • A fall prevention device for travel restrain such as safety harness, length restriction lanyard with anchorage to the structure.
  • Before any demolition work commences, make sure that the Principal Contractor has located and terminated all services or has arranged for identification and disconnection of services.
  • Do not allow work to commence until it is confirmed that disconnection has been carried out. Obtain a written confirmation, if possible.
  • Make sure all plant and equipment used on site are maintained in proper working conditions and in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturers and relevant Australian standards.
  • Maintain service records for major items of the plant.
  • Use excavators for mechanical demolition techniques.
  • Let a competent person be present on site during demolition work, to oversee and co-ordinate work activities.
  • Make sure that all workers accessing the site are wearing safety footwear and head wear. This is mandatory.
  • Specific PPE for demolition work:
  • Hearing protective device for excessive noise
  • Hand protection during handling/cutting materials
  • Eye protection during cutting, chipping and jack hammer work
  • Safety harness when working at heights where work platforms and /or edge protection is not practically possible
  • Respiratory devices for dust work environment including A/C sheet and SMF removal (if applicable)
  • Necessary protective clothing (such as leather aprons for hot work)
  • Implement dust control measures, such as water.
  • Restrict the hours of work to comply with Regulatory Authority such as Council, Government, etc.
  • When using excessive noise generating activities such as excavators, rock brakers, jack hammers, etc., make sure workers are using hearing protective devices.
  • Remove all waste material generated by workers from site and/ or control it in a manner so as not to limit access to work areas.
  • Make sure all work activities involving manual handling utilises mechanical assistance such as hand-held concrete crusher tools, wheelbarrows, etc. Where this is not practical, workers must initiate teamwork.

National: View the Model Codes of Practice for Excavation Work on Safe Work Australia's website here.
Victoria: Victoria's Code of Practice for Excavation Work may be viewed on Work Safe Victoria's website here.