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Help Centre

We're here to help. This is your first port of call whenever you need assistance with using our products and services or even the simplest enquiry.

Help Centre

We're here to help. This is your first port of call whenever you need assistance with using our products and services or even the simplest enquiry.

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Safety solutions questions

What is a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)?
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A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a document that sets out the high risk construction work activities to be carried out at a workplace, the hazards arising from these activities and the measures to be put in place to control the risks.

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When do I need to use a SWMS?
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SWMS are required for the high risk construction work activities defined in the WHS Regulations, as follows:

  • Risk of a person falling more than two metres (Note: in some jurisdictions this is three metres)
  • Work on a telecommunication tower
  • Demolition of load-bearing structure
  • Likely to involve disturbing asbestos
  • Temporary load-bearing support for structural alterations or repairs
  • Work in or near a confined space
  • Work in or near a shaft or trench deeper than 1.5 metres or a tunnel
  • Use of explosives
  • Work on or near pressurised gas mains or piping
  • Work on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines
  • Work on or near energised electrical installations or services
  • Work in an area that may have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere
  • Tilt-up or precast concrete elements
  • Work on, in or adjacent to a road, railway, shipping lane or other traffic corridor in use by traffic other than pedestrians
  • Work in an area with movement of powered mobile plant
  • Work in areas with artificial extremes of temperature
  • Work in or near water or other liquid that involves a risk of drowning
  • Diving work.

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Who should prepare a SWMS?
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The person responsible for carrying out the high risk construction work is best placed to prepare the SWMS in consultation with workers who will be directly engaged in the work. Generally, this means a SWMS is prepared by the builder for their workers, or by the subcontractor for their workers and themselves. 

The principal contractor, builder and subcontractors should consult with each other to determine who is in the best position to prepare the SWMS. 

What do I need to include in a SWMS?
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A SWMS must include:

  • The type of high risk construction work being done
  • The hazards and risks relating to this work
  • What will be done to control the risks and protect workers or others.

Note: You only need to prepare a SWMS if you are doing high risk construction work.

Can I see an example SWMS before I buy?
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Download our free (for members) SWMS template. This template is a great way to see what components are covered.

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Can I add our logo and company name to a Safety e-doc?
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Yes, all HIA Safety e-docs can be customised to include your business logo and details.

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Can I edit the content of the SWMS?
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Yes. All documents are provided in Microsoft Word format, so you can easily customise to meet your requirements. You can add photos and add and delete information to make your SMWS site and task specific.
What is a Safe Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)?
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A Safe Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a written document that provides step-by-step instructions on how to safely perform a task or activity in the workplace. This document is provided to the employee undertaking the task for training and competency assessments. 

HIA provides a range of SOPs for common construction equipment. 


What are the WHS duties of a PCBU?
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As a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), you must manage the health and safety risks at work. In construction work, a PCBU is the primary duty holder for WHS and must manage risks to keep people safe. This can be done by following the risk management process.

As a PCBU, you must, so far as is reasonably practicable:  

  • Ensure the health and safety of workers and others at your workplace. This includes the health and safety of labour hire workers. (As a PCBU, you cannot contract out of or transfer your WHS obligations to another party)
  • Consult with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking and who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a health and safety matter; and 
  • Consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with all other relevant duty holders.
When do I need a WHS/OHS Management Plan?
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If you are the principal contractor for a construction project, you must prepare a written work health and safety management plan (WHS management plan) for the workplace before work on the project commences.

A "construction project" is defined in the state regulations.

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What is the difference between a Safety Management System and a safety management plan?
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A Safety Management System is a holistic approach that includes risk management, employee training, and continuous improvement. A Safety Management Plan, on the other hand, is a component of the SMS. It's a detailed document that outlines specific strategies and actions for safety, such as emergency response and hazard identification.

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