Keeping Construction Safe:

Keeping construction safe


When to Use Risk Assessments and Method Statements in the UK

The UK construction industry is a hive of activity, but with great productivity comes great responsibility. Ensuring the safety of workers and everyone on site is paramount. Two crucial tools for achieving this are risk assessments and method statements. But when exactly should you use each one?

Risk Assessments: The Legal Foundation

Let's start with risk assessments. These are not just good practice; they're a legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. In essence, a risk assessment is a proactive approach to safety. It involves:

  • Identifying hazards on site, from working at height to electrical dangers.
  • Evaluating the likelihood and severity of potential harm caused by these hazards.
  • Implementing control measures to mitigate those risks. This could involve using personal protective equipment (PPE), providing proper training, or establishing safe working procedures.
  • Regularly reviewing and monitoring the effectiveness of these controls.

Think of a risk assessment as the blueprint for a safe work environment. It applies to all construction activities, regardless of size or complexity.

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Method Statements: Planning for High-Risk Tasks

While not mandated by law, method statements are vital for high-risk or complex construction tasks. They build upon the foundation laid by the risk assessment. Here's how:

  • A method statement details the specific steps involved in a particular task, such as erecting scaffolding or using demolition equipment.
  • It outlines the control measures identified in the risk assessment and how they'll be applied during the task. This ensures everyone involved understands the safe way to complete the job.
  • Method statements promote clear communication between workers, supervisors, and other stakeholders on the project.

So, when should you create a method statement? Here are some general guidelines:

  • For any task identified as high-risk in the risk assessment.
  • For complex or unfamiliar work activities.
  • When new equipment or techniques are being used.
  • If required by a client or principal contractor.

Remember: Method statements are not replacements for risk assessments. They're supplementary documents that ensure high-risk tasks are carried out safely and efficiently.

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Building a Culture of Safety

By taking a risk-based approach and using risk assessments and method statements effectively, construction companies can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. These documents are not just paperwork; they're cornerstones of a strong safety culture on site.

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George Hancock

Life's complicated and im trying to simplify it for my self and then others,


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