How to write a method statement

by Alex on August 31, 2017

Method Statement

Method statements outline the way a task or project will be carried out. Often referred to as a ‘safe system of work’, they detail the steps required to complete a job safely.

These important documents are expected to contain detail about the hazards that may be encountered and the control measures required to lower risk, and they’re usually requested by companies employing another company to complete a project or small works.

The difference between a risk assessment and a method statement

Method statements differ from risk assessments because the latter are required by law to be recorded if you employ five or more people.

Method statements are not required by law and are most often used in the construction industry.  They “describe in a logical sequence exactly how a job is to be carried out in a safe manner and without risks to health. It includes all the risks identified in the risk assessment and the measures needed to control those risks. This allows the job to be properly planned and resourced.” (What is the difference between a risk assessment and method statement?, HSE FAQs)

Risk assessments are careful examinations of what could cause harm to people during a work project, whereas method statements are entirely optional and typically used for high-risk or complex construction tasks.

5 steps for writing a method statement

  1. Identify, analyse and decide

Start by examining the task or process you need to undertake. Consider the following:

  • the work hazards and inherent risk that could cause personal harm;
  • what has been done about the hazards and whether or not it’s enough to reduce the risk to an acceptable level; and
  • confirm any additional measures that need to be undertaken to reduce the risk further.
  1. Think about your staff and client

The method statement header should include the most important information for your staff and clients:

  • a title for the job (or the standard operating procedure);
  • the site address;
  • the method statement author and health and safety contacts;
  • your company name and address (add the logo, too);
  • the project start and end dates;
  • a description of the work to be undertaken.

You may also wish to include some document-specific information such as the revision date and a unique document number.

  1. Projected hazards

Following the work carried out in step one, you should have a good idea of the potential hazards involved in the project.

With those hazards in mind, detail the protective equipment that will be worn by workers to mitigate risk and describe any quality considerations or environmental issues that may be encountered, along with subsequent procedures.

  1. The nitty-gritty

Next, you’ll need to get into the detail. Use this section of the method statement to provide information related to the task in hand, including:

  • first aid procedures;
  • any training required for staff and the protective equipment they’ll need;
  • work permits;
  • scaffolding, if required;
  • material handling procedures;
  • site access and egress; and
  • the process for shutting down machinery.
  1. Step-by-step

The final part of your method statement should detail the step-by-step instructions people will need to take in order to safely accomplish the task in hand.

Order them appropriately and go into as much detail as required; don’t worry about the word count here.

If you need to write method statements regularly, our tips above will help you become comfortable with the process.

HANDS HQ makes writing Method Statements easier and quicker by adding in key information based on the risks identified and the type of work being carried out.

Try HANDS HQ today.

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