General Work Site Practices Safe Work Method Statement

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

General Work Site Practices Safe Work Method Statement

General Work Site Practices 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 big contract or government tender - the General Work Site Practices Safe Work Method Statement is easy to customise, easy to use and 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 General Work Site Practices 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 onsite conditions
  4. Set up work area
  5. Temporary Traffic Control (TMP)
  6. Delivery of materials and equipment
  7. Risk Assessment
  8. General precautions
  9. Environment and lighting
  10. Workplace housekeeping
  11. Entry and access
  12. Guardrails and edge protection
  13. Floors and surfaces
  14. Storage and handling
  15. Spills and leaks
  16. Rubbish and waste control
  17. Cleaning of floors and surfaces
  18. On completion

The General Work Site Practices Safe Work Method Statement, includes;


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

Your General Work Site Practices 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.

Now that your Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is ready for use, you can also make the SWMS document available as a training resource for activities such as WHS-OHS Toolbox Meeting Talks or Workplace Inductions.

Bluesafe Quick Tips:

  1. Be alert and awake on the job.
  2. Take responsibility and clean up if you made a mess.
  3. Ensure a clear and easy route to emergency exits and equipment.

General Work Site Practices Safe Work Method Statement

  • Detailed and pre-filled General Work Site Practices Safe Work Method Statement.
  • Immediate Download Delivery.
  • Fully editable Safe Work Method Statement Template.
  • Easy to customise - instructions included.
  • Referenced to AS/NZS (Standards) and Legislation. 
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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 General Work Site Practices 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 SWMSTemplate and then adjust the document for each different general work site practices project as needed, making sure that your General Work Site Practices SWMS Template addresses any site specific risks.

The fastest and most cost effective solution would be to purchase a Bluesafe General Work Site Practices SWMS Template. However, if you decide to take the route of writing your own general work site practices SWMS.

There are some fundamental requirements and information which you may want to consider adding to your General Work Site Practices SWMS such as:

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

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

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

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

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

Your General Work Site Practices 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 General Work Site Practices SWMS must be reviewed continually to ensure it remains effective and relevant. The General Work Site Practices SWMS must be reviewed (and revised if necessary) if relevant control measures in relation to general work site practices work are revised. The review process should be carried out in consultation with workers (including contractors and subcontractors) who may be affected by the General Work SitePractices and their health and safety representatives who represented that workgroup at the workplace.

When the General Work Site Practices SWMS has been revised, the person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure:

  1. All persons involved in the general work site practices work are advised that a revision has been made and how they can access the revised General Work Site Practices 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 General Work Site Practices SWMS; and,
  3. Workers that will be involved in the general work site practices work are provided with the relevant information and instruction that will assist them to understand and implement the revised General Work Site Practices SWMS.

When preparing your General Work Site Practices 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 General Work Site Practices.

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

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

Assessment of Site Conditions

Thoroughly assess the work site/area conditions when using general work sites practices and ensure that:

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

General Work Site Practices Training and Worker Qualifications 

Ensure all workers have the appropriate licenses in conductingGeneral Work Site Practices as well as any qualifications that may be required for various general work site practices projects before starting work. If WhiteCards 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 General Work Site Practices SWMS including all safety and emergency procedures.
  2. Be qualified, knowledgeable and competent in General Work Site Practices operations and general work site practices work as well as all delegated tasks/responsibilities
  3. Be fully aware and understand the scope of work in relation to the General Work Site Practices SWMS 

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

  • Identify all slip, trip and fall hazards in the workplace by conducting inspections.
  • Use the standard risk assessment calculator to assess the risk from each hazard.
  • Use the hazard report log to record results of assessments and inspections.
  • For the inspection, use the checklist.
  • Use the risk score to prioritise the hazards.
  • Identify the stages or operations that could result into waste or scrap being produced, by analysing the materials and workflow processes.
  • For effective and adequate waste and scrap production, provide resources at such points and apply measures to reduce scrap and waste.
  • Reduce amount of scrap and waste packing material by liaising with the suppliers.
  • During the manufacturing process, minimise the production of waste.
  • Wherever possible, recycle material and waste product.
  • Superfluous packaging must be avoided.
  • Make sure levels of lighting conforms to Australian StandardAS1640 Interior and Workplace Lighting for illumination at the workplace.
  • For maintaining adequate levels of lighting, make sure the lighting and fittings are cleaned and maintained regularly.
  • Travel and pathways must be adequately lighted.
  • Cleaning of lighting and fittings must be at least an annual process.
  • Work plans must include waste control and this must been sured by the work procedures.
  • All waste produced within a cleaning cycle, must be controlled by providing adequate and suitable receptacles.
  • Methods of waste reduction and control must be instructed to all workers.
  • Monitor workplaces to make sure all specified procedures are being followed and to ensure that controls are functioning correctly.
  • For reducing waste, plan the work properly.
  • Make sure the system provides adequate supply of waste bins.
  • Controls must be advised and promoted.
  • For monitoring control effectiveness, conduct regular inspections.
  • All external pathways must be maintained clear of debris and rubbish, free from bumps and holes, and in a safe condition.
  • Steps and stairways must always conform to the Australian Standard AS1657 SAA Code for Fixed Platforms, Walkways, Stairways and Ladders.
  • Stairs must be inspected regularly to make sure they remain clean and free from spills and rubbish that could cause a person to slip and fall.
  • Wear and damage to nosings and treads must be inspected regularly.
  • Non-slip treatment must be applied to access-ways and stairs that may become adversely affected or wet, during work operations.
  • For normal use, make sure the slope of the ramp does not exceed 1 in 8. Where people with disabilities will need to use the ramp, the slope must not exceed 1 in 14.
  • Passageways and aisles must be inspected regularly to make sure they are kept clear.
  • Yellow lines of 50mm width must be used to delineate edges of passageways and aisles.
  • Means must be provided to run hoses and leads over aisles in preference to over floors.
  • Services, which must run over floors, must use highlighted safety covers.
  • For preventing aisles from being crowded, provide adequate storage areas.
  • Inspect and maintain all roadways and pathways regularly.
  • Make sure the stair treads are proportional and consistent in each flight.
  • Stairs and stairwells must be provided with adequate illumination.
  • Damaged and worn steps must be repaired immediately.
  • Non-slip surfaces must be maintained.
  • The start and end of the ramp must be marked.
  • Surface on the ramp must be maintained non-slip.
  • Obstructions must be cleared immediately.
  • For marking, use non-slip paint.
  • For reducing the lengths used, retractable hoses and leads may be used. These could be suspended as leads from the ceiling or dropped from the ceiling.
  • Toe boards, mid-rails and guardrails must be stable and securely attached.
  • Top rails must be constructed of 70x45 timber, 38mm OD steel or 50mm OD aluminium and must be 900mm to 1100mm above the standing level.
  • To prevent persons from falling, etc., mesh infills or mid-rails, etc., must be fitted.
  • Width of toe boards must be at least 100mm.
  • Mid rail must be 450mm from the top rail or toe board or 560mm from the floor if there is no toe board.
  • Clean floors regularly to keep them clear of contaminants such as varnish, etc.
  • In wet areas, provide adequate drainage for floors, and avoid spilling liquids.
  • Avoid spilling liquids and clean up ice patches on floors in freezers.
  • To prevent loss of balance, patch holes and grind off protrusions on the floor
  • Achieve levelling by eliminating sudden height changes and refinishing floors.
  • Torn or worn coverings, mats and carpets must be replaced, removed or repaired.
  • Surfaces must be treated with non-slip finish.
  • For dry floors, use duckboards and mats.
  • Floors must be monitored for damage.
  • Provide adequate receptacles for rubbish and waste. Make sure they are serviced regularly, to prevent them overflowing to the floor.
  • Bins must be provided for packing waste. Floors must be swept regularly to prevent slipping hazards from plastic and paper debris.
  • Maintain adequate cleaning cycles and monitor the use of bins.
  • Less wasteful packaging and packing methods must be investigated.
  • For allowing safe handling of liquids, use the smallest size of container practicable for the task.
  • For handling larger containers of liquids, suitable methods must be provided.
  • For containing spread of spilt material, provide bunding of storage areas.
  • Wherever liquids are stored, handled and used, adequate spill control stations and materials must be provided.
  • Safer methods of delivery may be considered, such as by piping, etc.
  • Risk of spills must be minimised.
  • For minor storages, bunded pallets may be used.
  • Suitable spill controls must be provided.
  • The disposal cycle must ensure that receptacles are available for waste.
  • Waste receptacles that are removed for emptying, damaged or unsuitable for the task, must be replaced immediately.
  • Suitable and adequate receptacles must be available.
  • Replace or repair if faulty.
  • For removing waste and rubbish, and for preventing a build-up of loose material on the floor, a programmed regime of sweeping and cleaning of floors must be provided.
  • For allowing water and liquids to be removed from floors, suitable brooms, mops and squeegees must be provided.
  • Workstations, which can become wet because of spray of water or liquids on to floor, must be provided with duckboards and or non-slip mats.
  • To remove residue and contaminants from floors, especially from powders and other highly mobile substances, clean up and removal systems must be provided.
  • Wherever scrap material is used, especially bar, wire, etc., floors must be swept regularly.
  • To prevent material falling onto floor, guards may be placed around areas of machinery that ejects scrap or swarf.
  • The cleaning method must address the types of contaminants likely to be encountered.
  • Wherever spillage is likely, the condition of floors in such areas must be monitored.
  • Scrap and swarf build up must be prevented by containing and disposing.

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.