Writing a method statement may seem like a daunting task, but once you understand what it is, what it’s used for, and how you need to implement it into your business, it should become second nature. To make sure you cover everything in your business’ method statements, our experts have answered some of the most common key questions – so, by the end of this article, you should feel confident when filling out yours.
What is a method statement?
A method statement is a document that highlights the steps for carrying out certain tasks. They are often referred to as ‘safe systems of work’ because they highlight the systems or processes put in place to carry out work safely. They can be written and also include pictures or diagrams to help highlight the risks or processes needed for a certain step of a task and should be easy for workers to understand.
Why are method statements important?
Method statements are not just there to highlight risks, they play a crucial role in breaking certain tasks down, step by step to make sure that they can be carried out safely. Method statements are commonly used within the construction industry, this is due to the high-risk work that is carried out. Workers are often exposed to dangerous machinery and/or substances as well as being required to work at height.
Method Statements allow employers to set out the correct processes to follow in order to reduce these risks. That could be steps on how to handle a dangerous substance and the required PPE or a checklist of instructions that need to be followed when going up on a scaffold.
Who writes a method statement?
Method statements are essential documents and are often written by a responsible person, who is appointed by the employer. This person must be competent and familiar with the working procedures that will be taking place. Once written, the document will need to be shared with all employees so that they have access to the right information about how a task should be carried out.
It will make sure that the safety of anyone who could be affected by any work taking place is prioritised. They set out clear steps for everyone involved to follow, including special measures like how to act if any part of a building needs to be closed temporarily or if power needs to be isolated.
Businesses that can show they have high-quality safety measures in place and can provide method statements to back that up often have a competitive edge when it comes to tendering.
How to write a method statement:
Writing a method statement might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. We offer a variety of templates which can help you to structure your method statement and we have also outlined some key areas below so you can get a feel for what you should include:
- A title e.g., ‘Work Method Statement’ or ‘Standard Operating Procedure’
- Your company details (logo, name, address, etc.)
- A brief description of the work you’re going to be carrying out
- The project start and completion date
- Site address
- Site contact details including emergency details
- Document details, i.e., author, document number, issue date, revision date, revision number, etc.
- Referencing other associated documents such as the risk assessment
- Staff and training
- Permits to work
- Machinery shutdown and lock-off procedures
- Site access and egress
- Material handling / PPE
- Scaffold and access to height
- Background and preparation
- Monitoring and management arrangements
- Welfare and first aid arrangements
- Emergency procedures
Your method statement doesn’t need to be too long but it does need to include all the relevant information and needs to communicate it with your workforce so they can carry out the work safely. We suggest making the document short and concise so that it is easy to follow. You may also wish to use pictures or diagrams to help highlight certain steps in the process.
If you would like help with your method statement, you can download one of our free method statement templates to help you get started.
What are RAMS? (risk assessment method statements)
Sometimes you might get asked to show your risk assessment method statement (RAMS), this simply means that you need to show both your risk assessment and method statements. Don’t however get the two confused, Risk assessment and method statements are not the same document. Risk assessments should be used for all tasks associated with a job whereas method statements are usually only required for high-risk tasks and give employees more information about how to carry out the work, step by step.
Risk assessments – as mentioned before, risk assessments are used to identify any risks that could occur within a workplace. Often these are obvious, such as using knives if you work as a chef in a kitchen. The risk assessment will outline the probability of each risk, the severity that could be caused if an accident was to happen and what the employer is doing to reduce or remove those risks.
Method statements – Often only used for high-risk tasks, method statements should be seen as a step-by-step guide or set of instructions on how a task should be carried out. Often referred to as the “safe system of work” method statements will go into more detail about the measures put in place to reduce or remove risks. This can include detail on how specific activities should be carried out — describing control measures and safety precautions and how these can be implemented/what control equipment should be used.
Whilst risk assessments will be used for all tasks that employees will face, method statements are often written for specific, high-risk activities. For example, working at height or using dangerous equipment or machinery. These tasks are broken down into stages, with hazards highlighted and control measures are then included for each step so that they can be easily followed. Effectively acting as a step-by-step guide to how the task should be completed and what PPE is required.
Method Statement Templates
If you need support with writing your method statement we have a huge variety of templates to help you. We offer blank method statement templates that can be tailored to a variety of tasks. We also have method statements that have been tailored to the processes of specific tasks, to help you save time and make sure that you are following the correct processes.
You can browse our full range of method statements by clicking the button below
Need Extra Support?
With decades of HR and Health & Safety experience, our experts have supported over 8000 clients nationwide with getting their policies, procedures, and overall compliance in check.
Not only can we provide you with a whole host of free Health & Safety templates, but our experts can actually complete some of your documents for you – including your method statements! To find out more, just get in touch with our team by calling 0114 244 4461 or fill out our call-back form and we’ll get in touch with you.
You can also use our free method statement template to help set you off along the right lines.