What is a method statement – and how is it different to a risk assessment?

by Alex on March 18, 2015

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When you’re preparing the necessary health and safety paperwork for any high risk work, you need two documents: a risk assessment and a method statement. A risk assessment is fairly straightforward and explained previously, but the requirements for a method statement are a little less clear. Let’s take a moment to clear up any confusion between the two.

A practical focus

The method statement is a document that’s meant to be used, not just produced and stored. It will be used by workers on the job site over the duration of the project to better understand and mitigate the risks that they face, and therefore needs to be concise and action-focused.

A risk assessment shows that you’ve taken the proper amount of time to assess the risks at a work site, and is a more comprehensive and detailed document. This usually includes a careful inspection of the site to see if there are any environmental hazards, a consideration of the specific work being done, and information on precautions against these risks.

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A method statement has a more practical focus and must be specific to the site and task your planning to undertake. The first step in producing the statement is to document a sequence of operations, a step-by-step process of how you will safely undertake the work. Along with the risk assessment, this is the most important part of the RAMS documentation for your staff.

We’ve made this step very easy; after creating a risk assessment with the HANDS HQ app, it automatically detects the type of work you’re doing and populates your method statement with relevant and trade-specific sequences of operations. You can then tailor them to the specific job at hand.

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Information on operatives attending site, any work systems to be used, and health protection measures are also essential for on-site staff to understand how to work on site.

The remainder of the method statement should also accurately describe other aspects of the site—conditions like how operatives will access site, correct PPE for the project, emergency procedures, and details of welfare requirements for the job.

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It’s important to make the method statement as clear and concise as possible—if your staff have to take several minutes to read the section relevant to them, they might not stop to read it at all. And if it’s written in a confusing manner, it could actually contribute to increased risk. Thats why we concentrated on the end document being easy to read, and you can optionally include a site briefing form that your site staff can then sign.

 

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While method statements are usually used in construction jobs, they can be useful in many different sectors as a means of controlling the risks that are present on a job. And although they’re aren’t a legal requirement unless the project is high-risk, it’s a good idea to prepare them for all jobs that include more than the most basic of tasks.

Reducing risk

Both a risk assessment and a method statement are often requested by clients, who want to make sure that you’ve not only done a thorough inspection and risk assessment, but that you’ve also put safety measures in place and discussed them with the workers on site.

This is why we made it easy to create both types of documents with the HANDS HQ app. Just assessing risk isn’t enough—you need to make sure that the risks present, both to health and safety, are controlled for, and that the safety precautions are clearly and concisely written so they’re useful to workers.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Delroy Wallace June 19, 2015 at 5:18 am

To whom this may concern 

I am a Construction Manager for Transport for London (Tfl). My main role is to make sure that all work sites is Safe. A Method Statement is a document that shows the methodology on how you will complete your task by ensuring a safe system is in place. 

Risk Assessment are the associated risks identified for each of the activity that is being undertaken and how the risk are mitigated or reduced..

Regards 

Delroy Wallace 

Reply

Alex June 22, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Thanks Delroy – if you’re interested in learning more about how our software can help produce both these documents you can get in touch with us at [email protected] or view our website at http://www.handshq.com

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