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THE IMPORTANCE OF RISK ASSESSMENTS AND METHOD STATEMENTS (RAMS)

Risk Assessments and Method Statements for Contractors

When working on site it is a necessity for contractors to provide a RAMS document before any work takes place. We hear all too often from our clients, the problems they have ensuring all required RAMS are approved and provided prior to any work commencing. This can cause huge delays which can be extremely costly to the project.

The SitePlanner software system provides an efficient and easy process to ensure RAMS are pre-approved prior to any contractor even arriving at the site. We’ll take a look at that in greater detail later, but first let’s look at RAMS and their importance for contractors.

Why do you need Risk Assessments/Method Statements (RAMS)?

Risk Assessments and Method Statements (RAMS) are part of a vital element of creating a safe working environment for all. Risk management must be undertaken as part of a thorough process, identifying all hazards and risks present on a work site and implementing measures to control the risk as best as possible and to minimise the risk of hazards injuring contractors or visitors.

An accident in the workplace can have a drastic impact on the lives of those affected. It can injure and cause fatalities, destroying careers and households, as well as having a negative impact on a business in terms of lost time, lost workers, and reputational damage. Learning how to implement an effective strategy for risk management is therefore of vital importance to any business, but especially those where there is naturally greater risks in play for those working on site.

Whenever work is to be carried out on a brand new site, or wherever new machinery, procedures or processes are to be used, a new risk assessment review should be created. With any new situation, even on a site that has been used before, there could be new hazards to be aware of, and a change in the level of risk each person is facing.

It is a legal requirement to keep a record of any risk assessment, ensuring that relevant checks can be made and accurate reviews can take place at various stages of a project or site use.

What needs to be included in a RAMS document?

At this point in proceedings it is necessary for a person within a supervising role to create a method statement. This contains all relevant details about the risk assessment procedure, and to help all parties understand the hazards that are present, the risks identified, and the processes that are to be implemented in order to limit both exposure to risk and hazards. Method statements are often described as a ‘safe system of work’.

The details of a method statement should include an extensive list, ensuring that all areas of risk assessment and a proactive approach to keeping contractors safe is conducted. This should include:

  • The full details of the tasks to be completed
  • A formal risk assessment for the specific job and/or project
  • Clear identification of the area(s) in which the job/project will be undertaken
  • Clear identification of the supervisory responsibilities for the job/project
  • A list of all plant and equipment to be used (detailing power sources and authorised users)
  • Full details of any permit to work system to be implemented
  • Clear statement of identified hazards and the controls in place, including; hazardous substances, noise exposure, electrical hazards, interaction with other contractor’s activities and protection of the public, emergency plans, first aid provision any other hazards created by the job or present on site

A method statement is only as good as those creating it. Without implementation of clear communication with all relevant parties on site, a method statement means very little. It is important that all contractors are fully briefed on the risk assessment and method statement, and their own personal responsibilities, including personal protective equipment and clothing.

What are the challenges with Risk Assessments/Method Statements? 

Too often, contractors have either not had RAMS approved prior to turning up on site to work, or have not brought it with them. This can cause serious delays, as it is not possible to confirm contractors to work without RAMS. It works both ways of course, and there has to be an effective process in place to both obtain and approve RAMS. With our SitePlanner software system, we believe we have achieved this for our clients.

Software solutions to improve Risk Assessment/Method Statement processes

No longer will you have to worry that contractors will arrive ready without the relevant documentation. Through SitePlanner you can upload, store and review/approve RAMS for all contractors and sites. To make things simple, this can be part of the induction process, ensuring that contractors have access to approving RAMS, and understand the site practice and risks ahead prior to turning up on site.

Having a single access point to view the entire multi-step approval workflow process, all historical RAMS documentation, and a fully fledged audit trail, makes it so much easier to manage hazard training, risk awareness, and training and permit to work for contractors. SitePlanner provides you with RAMS approval that is consistent across all sides, with date stamped notes and actions to ensure integrity and accurate information at all times, across multiple sites, projects, and contractors.

Click here for more information on the SitePlanner system and how it can drastically improve safety and efficiency on your project.