The method statement should be the logical outcome of the risk assessment process. Significant residual risks identified by the risk assessment and the control measures necessary will need to be included within the method statement.
The method statement should contain sufficient detail to enable everyone involved in an operation to be clear about what has to be done, how it should be done, where the activity is taking place and with what tools, equipment etc. In addition, any other hazards arising from the work and the precautions that have to be taken and by whom need to be accommodated.
For this reason the method statement is often called a ‘safe system of work’.
A comprehensive method statement will attempt to address the majority if not all of the following:
- The details of the job to be undertaken
- A formal risk assessment for the job which is relevant to the location the work will be undertaken
- Clear identification of the area in which the job will be undertaken (this could include floor plans) and should identify if there are any specific local potential hazards and/or rules to be adhered to
- Clear identification of the supervisory responsibilities for the job including contact details
- A list of plant and equipment that will be used detailing their power sources and authorised users
- Details of any permit to work system that will be implemented
- A clear statement of the identified hazards and the controls in place. Examples of hazards are:
- Noise, vibration
- Hazardous substances
- Working at height
- Extremes of temperature
- Restricted working space
The method statement must be site specific and be communicated to all who are required to work to it.
The contractor management (both the ‘company’ and the University representative, whether a 'contract manager', Project Manager or Project Coordinator (or other person initiating and then manging the work)) need to monitor:
- That the requirements of the method statement are being adhered to.
- That the risks are being managed.
- That corrective action is taken when needed.
Whilst greater onus will be on the contracting company to monitor the work, the University must ensure that some checks are made to confirm that the stand of workmanship is appropriate and that the contractors conduct their work safely whilst working on the University's behalf.