Understanding risk assessments and method statements

Risk assessments and method statements are two types of safety documents that are often referred to as RAMS. The documents serve different purposes but are both integral to the process of creating safe working environments.

What is a risk assessment?

A risk assessment is an examination of anything in a location or linked to an activity that could cause harm, by accident or ill health. It involves a process that includes:

• Identifying who may be harmed
• How they may be harmed
• Deciding how likely and serious the harm may be
• Evaluating the risk and reducing it by implementing controls
• Recording the findings
• Reviewing the process regularly

Why do I need a risk assessment?

A risk assessment will help organisations meet their legal obligations to assess the risks of any works being undertaken under Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Carrying out an effective risk assessment will enable organisations to decide if they are doing enough to protect their workers and others from harm.

What is a method statement?

A method statement is a systematic examination of a task to identify each separate step within it and to define the safest way of carrying it out. This cannot be done until all the potential hazards are known, which is why it requires that a risk assessment is carried out first – and is also why the documents are often considered together.

Why do I need a method statement?

A comprehensive method statement should break down the information within the risk assessment, addressing and expanding on control measures outlined within that document such as methods and timescales, and should include more detail in terms of planning.

It’s crucial that safety documents are completed properly and on time to ensure everyone involved in a construction project is kept safe throughout. For more guidance, contact our team of experts today.