Work Method Statements for New Zealand business: Do you need them?

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A workplace generally uses documented safety procedures as a way to provide this information, training or instruction to workers, and in doing so demonstrates a proactive approach to providing safer systems of work in the workplace. Photo:SafetyCulture Library

Training, information and procedures such as Work Method Statements provide a way for businesses to address health and safety issues by identifying safety hazards and hazard control measures to ensure work is being carried out safely. But is a Work Method Statement a legal requirement for health and safety compliance in New Zealand?

Although there is no specific requirement for a document called a ‘Work Method Statement’ (or ‘Safe Work Method Statement’ as it is known in Australia), S36 (3)(c)(f) of the NZ Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 places a duty on the person conducting the business to ensure the provision and maintenance of safe systems of work and, to provide any information, training or instruction necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety.

A workplace generally uses documented safety procedures as a way to provide this information, training or instruction to workers, and in doing so demonstrates a proactive approach to providing safer systems of work in the workplace.

Safety Procedures commonly used in the workplace:

  • Work Method Statements (common terms also referred to include Safe Work Method Statements, Safe Work Methods, SWM, WMS).
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)
  • Job Safety Analysis (JSA)
  • Health and Safety at Work  Policies and Procedures
  • Risk Assessments
  • Safety Checklists

Are you required to have a Work Method Statement?

Work Method Statements are a common term for a type of safety procedure that generally contains the following:

  1. Identifies the task that is high risk
  2. Lists the hazards relating to the task and the risks(chance of an incident and severity) to health and safety
  3. Describes the measures to be employed to control the risks
  4. Describes how the control measures will be implemented, monitored and reviewed.

Whilst Safe Work Method Statements are not legislated for use by New Zealand businesses, they have become such a common and valuable tool that many businesses in both Australia and New Zealand use them as part of their safety systems.

In fact many Principal Contractors (PC), local government bodies and other parties accepting tenders for contracts, request Work Method Statements to be included in a contractor’s safety systems. This demonstrates to the PC that the contractors have received the appropriate health and safety training and instruction to carry out their job prior to arriving onsite.

Work Method Statement Templates – Ready to Use

Get started! We have a number of Work Method Statement Templates available for New Zealand businesses.

Browse Safe Work Method Templates Here

Need help writing a Work Method Statement for your business?  Download our free 10-point checklist to writing a Work Method Statement here

 

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