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What Is a Method Statement & Why Are They Important?

11th July 2024
5 Star Review
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Method statements are a cornerstone of safe working practices and serve as detailed step by step guides on how to safely carry out specific tasks, ensuring that important steps are considered to minimise risk. 

This blog will explore what method statements are, their purpose, how to compose one, and whether they are legally required. Additionally, we'll clarify the differences between method statements and risk assessments and demonstrate how these documents work together for optimal safety outcomes.

What is a Method Statement?

A method statement is a document that details the way a work task or process is to be completed. It outlines the steps required to perform the job safely and efficiently, identifying potential hazards and providing clear instructions on how to mitigate them. 

Method statements are often used in construction and other high-risk industries, but their principles can be applied to any work environment.

Why Are Method Statements Important?

Method statements are crucial for several reasons:

  1. They ensure that all risks have been considered and that appropriate measures are in place to control them.
  2. They provide clear instructions for workers, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings and mistakes.
  3. They help organisations comply with legal obligations and industry standards.
  4. They facilitate better communication and coordination among team members and contractors.

How to Write a Method Statement

Creating a comprehensive method statement involves several key steps:

  1. Describe the Task - Clearly outline the work to be done.
  2. Identify Hazards - List potential hazards associated with the task.
  3. Assess Risks - Evaluate the risks posed by these hazards.
  4. Control Measures - Detail the control measures to mitigate identified risks.
  5. Step-by-Step Guide - Provide a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to perform the task safely.
  6. Responsibilities - Define who is responsible for each aspect of the task.
  7. Emergency Procedures - Outline procedures to follow in case of an emergency.
  8. Review and Approval - Ensure the method statement is reviewed and approved by a competent person.

Is a Method Statement a Legal Requirement?

While method statements are not explicitly required by law, they are often necessary to comply with broader legal obligations. For instance, the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare of their employees. 

Producing a method statement is a practical way to demonstrate that you have assessed risks and implemented controls, thereby fulfilling these legal duties.

Method Statements vs Risk Assessments

It's important to understand the distinction between method statements and risk assessments:

  • Risk Assessment - This is a process of identifying hazards, evaluating risks, and determining control measures. It answers the question, "What could go wrong?"
  • Method Statement - This takes the findings of the risk assessment and translates them into a practical, step-by-step guide for safely carrying out the task. It answers the question, "How do we do the task safely?"

Both documents are complementary and should be used together for best results. The risk assessment informs the method statement, ensuring that all identified risks are addressed in the practical execution of the task.

At MRS Training and Rescue, we combine Risk Assessment and Method Statement into a single document for all our working at height and confined space training courses.

All industry sectors often refer to the combined documents as RAMS (Risk Assessment & Method Statement). The confined space regulations are an exception, which instead refers to a Safe System of Work. Although this too combines Risk Assessment and Methodology, it may also include other safety-critical documents such as Permit to Work documents (PTWs).

Training in Method Statement Composition

At MRS Training and Rescue, we emphasise the importance of method statements wherever necessary. Our confined spaces and working at height management courses equip you with the skills to compose effective method statements, ensuring that you can manage risks and promote safety in your workplace.

Method statements are indispensable tools for ensuring workplace safety. They provide clear, actionable guidance on how to perform tasks safely, helping to prevent accidents and ensure compliance with legal requirements. 

Book with MRS Training and Rescue today to excel in safety practices, including the composition of method statements.

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