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4th August, 2017

10 tips for writing a method statement

Method statement are important documents for completing activities safely. But they can also be difficult to write, so where should you start? Here are 10 tips for writing a method statement:

1. Research the activity

The first step in creating a risk assessment is a little bit of research. You may have done this task hundreds of times, but each project is different, so check out if any site specific hazards need addressing.

2. Assess the risks

A risk assessment is an entirely different document, but one that needs to accompany your method statement. Carry out your risk assessments before you plan the work, to help you identify hazards and controls. These two documents support each other, so make sure any controls you have identified in your risk assessment are covered in your method statement.

3. Plan the work

Think of a method statement as a safe system of work. It is simply a plan of how you are going to carry out the work safely and what methods you will follow. Plan out the activity and what key tasks need to be covered.

4. Think before

It’s a cliché, but failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Think about what needs to be done before the work starts, barriers, signage, temporary access etc. Detail this in the method statement so that work doesn’t start until the necessary requirements are in place.

5. Think after

Clearing up, backing away, removing restrictions and lock offs, testing. There are often a number of requirements to make the work area safe again once the task is done. Don’t assume it will be remembered, include it.

6. Give contact details

Method statements are for higher risk activities. There will likely be a project management or supervisor involved in the task, detail those with responsibilities on the method statement, after all, they have an important role.

7. Work to a template

A method statement template will help you with consistency, with each method statement you create following a standard format. This will make it easier to create your method statement, and also easier for those who need to read and understand the method statement.

8. Be logical

It's no good just listing a bunch of controls in a random order. Your method statement needs to be a set of useful instructions, and your team should be able to work through it in a logical sequence.

9. Keep it simple

A method statement need to contain vital information, so don't bloat it with unnecessary content. Workers are not going to thank you for writing them a novel, as well as a good layout, consider what information needs to be included.

10. Get acknowledgement

And the award for the best method statement goes to... no not that sort of acknowledgement! There could be a number of your team working to the method statement. Have they all read and understood it? Keep a record of this and get signatures before work starts.

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