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Method Statements

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The arrangements for demolition, dismantling or structural alteration must be recorded in writing before the work begins. This is usually achieved by means of a method statement that can be generated from a risk assessment.

While not required by law, method statements are also prepared for many other construction activities. They are proven to be an effective and practical way to help plan, manage and monitor construction work.

They can take account of risks identified by the risk assessment and communicate the safe system of work to those carrying it out, especially for higher-risk complex or unusual work (e.g. steel and formwork erection, demolition or the use of hazardous substances). A method statement draws together the information compiled about the various hazards and the ways in which they are to be controlled for any particular job from the conclusions of the risk assessments.

A method statement also takes account of a company's health and safety organisation and training procedures and may include arrangements to deal with serious or imminent danger.

The method statement describes in a logical sequence exactly how a job is to be carried out in a way that secures health and safety and includes all the control measures.

This will allow the job to be properly planned with the appropriate health and safety resources needed for it. It can also provide information for other contractors working at the site about any effects the work will have on them and help the principal contractor develop the construction phase plan (PDF) for the project.

If a similar operation is repeated, the statement will be identical from job to job. However, if circumstances change markedly, e.g. with demolition, the information should be revised for each job.

The method statement is an effective way of providing information to employees about how they expect the work to be carried out and the precautions that should be taken. The most effective method statements often include diagrams to make it clear how work should be carried out. Checking that the working methods set out in the statement are actually put into practice on-site can also be a useful monitoring tool.

When reviewing the risk assessments, information from monitoring previous jobs, accident records and investigations can help to decide if adequate precautions are being applied.

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