Mulcher Safe Work Method Statement

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

Mulcher Safe Work Method Statement

Mulcher 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 Mulcher 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, and 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 Mulcher 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. General precautions
  8. Specific precautions
  9. Setting up
  10. Operation
  11. Clearing jams (When working on mulcher, refer to the operator's manual and always follow specific instructions)
  12. Winch operation (if fitted)
  13. Emergency shut down
  14. Cleaning and maintenance
  15. On completion

The Mulcher Safe Work Method Statement, includes

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

Your Mulcher 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. Keep hands and limbs clear of all chutes and hoppers, when the mulcher is in operation.
  2. Do not attempt to mulch material that is too large to fit in the hopper.
  3. Do not attempt to mulch hot or smouldering material.

Mulcher 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 Mulcher 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 mulcher project as needed, making sure that your Mulcher SWMS Template addresses any site specific risks. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When preparing your Mulcher 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 Mulcher.

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

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

Assessment of Site Conditions

Thoroughly assess the work site/area conditions when working with mulcher and ensure that:

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

Mulcher Training and Worker Qualifications

Ensure all workers have the appropriate licenses in conducting Mulcher as well as any qualifications that may be required for various mulcher 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 Mulcher SWMS including all safety and emergency procedures.
  2. Be qualified, knowledgeable and competent in Mulcher operations and mulcher work as well as all delegated tasks/responsibilities
  3. Be fully aware and understand the scope of work in relation to the Mulcher SWMS 

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

  • The area where the machine is to be used must be prevented from unauthorised access.
  • Children and animals must be kept away from work areas,
  • Never allow any person to stand or work where the debris and chips from the discharging chute may strike them.
  • When mulching logs and branches, the machine may generate high levels of harmful noise.
  • Make sure one person can handle the pieces to be mulched.
  • Where larger diameter pieces are to be mulched, provide assistance.
  • When setting up and using machinery, suitable footwear must be worn.
  • Area around the machine must be kept clear of rubbish, leaves, twigs and branches.
  • Unauthorised access must be prevented.
  • Suitable barricade must be provided.
  • Do not allow people near the discharging chute.
  • Wearing eye protection is recommended.
  • Wearing hearing protection is recommended.
  • Proper lifting processes must be followed.
  • Where there is a risk of flying objects, wearing head protection is recommended.
  • Wearing foot protection is recommended.
  • Before being allowed to operate, persons must be instructed in the safe and correct use of the specific machine.
  • Never wear jewellery, loose items or clothing and long hair near the machine.
  • Make sure operator clothing is of the type that will not be snagged.
  • Before opening mulcher, make sure that all guards are correctly fitted.
  • Make sure it is not possible for the operator to contact the nip-point of in-feed rollers or other moving parts.
  • Clearly mark and label all the hazard zones of the machine.
  • Before operating the chipper, all controls and safety devices must be checked for proper operation.
  • All operators training must be documented.
  • Regular refresher training must be provided.
  • Always wear close fitting clothes and keep sleeves and shirts buttoned.
  • Never use without all guards in place.
  • All hazardous parts must be identified.
  • Never operate a faulty machine.
  • Machine attached to vehicle - make sure the wheels are chocked and the vehicle park brake is engaged to prevent movement.
  • Additional support must be provided under the tow bar for relieving weight on the tongue.
  • Machine detached from vehicle - to prevent movement of mulcher while operating, chock the wheels securely.
  • Tow bar must be secured to ground.Never use jack or jockey wheel.
  • Make sure all controls and safety devices are operating properly.
  • Make sure the person who is feeding material to be mulched, into the feed chute, is able to do so safely from a safe position, and that there is sufficient space available for him.
  • Wherever possible, set up machine on a level surface.
  • Make sure the delivery chute is pointed towards a receiving area.
  • Make sure the stand or support is attached securely to the mulcher.
  • Make sure control bar is operating properly.
  • Make sure there is enough space to stack material.
  • Death or serious injury could be caused by cutter drum and rotating feed roller.
  • Never place any part of the body in or near cutter drum or feed roller.
  • Make sure a second person is available to supervise and oversee operations and activate necessary safety controls if required.
  • Make sure the material being fed to the machine is free of wires, stones or other metallic objects.
  • The material must be fed into the machine from the side position, away from the front of the in-feed chute.
  • Move away from the feed line when the feed rollers engage.
  • Branches being fed through the feed rollers may whip around; try to keep away.
  • When cutter drum is turning, stay clear of the discharge chute.
  • Never climb on the feed table.
  • Never remove feed table.
  • Do not operate a mulcher alone always have assistance on hand.
  • First, feed the butt-end of the branches to the mulcher in-feed rollers, when feeding branches.
  • Wearing PPE such as eye, hearing, hand, foot and head protection is recommended.
  • Inspect the branches before feeding for ensuring they will pass through mulcher.
  • Do not feed fibrous material such as palm fronds, etc., into chipper.
  • To withdraw jammed material from rollers, reverse the feed control.
  • For working on or near feed control bar for any reason such as unclogging feed intake or cleaning, always place feed control bar in neutral and stop the engine.
  • Before opening the access doors or removing jammed material, stop engine.
  • Before restarting engine, replace and lock all access doors and covers.
  • Never feed oversized material into mulcher.
  • Never try to pull material out while machine is operating.
  • For handling sharp or rough objects, wearing cut-resistant gloves is recommended.
  • Keep clear of the cutter knives.
  • Never overload the winch line, preferably cut material into shorter lengths to reduce weight.
  • Use fibre or synthetic ropes notter around butt or branch being winched.
  • Stop feed rollers and remove winch cable from material before chipping.
  • Never stand in the line of cable under load. Avoid the winch cable being drawn into the cutter drum.
  • Remote emergency shut-off devices such as emergency stop button, foot-controlled mechanisms, tag lines, or lanyards for activating or de-activating the in-feed rollers must be provided.Where the machine workstation is remote from controls, a red emergency stop device at the machine workstation or actuation of controls shall require continuous depression during the hazardous portion of the work cycle.
  • If none of the above devices is available or fitted, a second person must remain in position to operate the in-feed control bar during mulching operations.
  • In an emergency, the operator must immediately be able to access the emergency stop devices. This must be verified and tested before each time the machine is used.
  • Before working on machine, be sure to always shut down the engine and lock the cutter drum.
  • Do not encounter the edges of cutters and fan blades.
  • Wherever possible, clear rubbish and debris from machine by using implement.
  • Before use, make sure all guards are refitted and lathes, screws and bolts are secured.
  • Before returning to service, inspect the machine and verify the machine as fit for use.
  • Remove key for ensuring the engine cannot be started.
  • Wearing eye and hand protection is recommended.

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.