Are Method Statements A Legal Requirement? header image

7th April, 2017

Are Method Statements A Legal Requirement?

Most businesses will have been required to provide a method statement at some stage, but why do we need these documents and are they a legal requirement?

It is the law under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) that every employer and self-employed shall carry out a risk assessment of any risks to the health and safety of employees or other persons. In fact, risk assessments are so important they have their own section (Section 3).

But a method statement is not a risk assessment, so what does the law say about method statements?

Well, method statements don’t have their own section under the MHSWR. Method statements are not even mentioned under MHSWR.

So, if method statements are not a specific legal requirement, like risk assessments are, under the MHSWR, then we can just forget about them?

No, not really.

The MHSWR section 5 does require employers to make appropriate arrangements for planning, organising and controlling work activities.

5.(1) Every employer shall make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the nature of his activities and the size of his undertaking, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

Such arrangements can be detailed within a method statement document.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act (HSWA) also has a requirement under ‘General duties’ for employers to provide ‘such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary’.

Method statements provide information to employees about how the work should be done and the precautions to be taken. They would therefore come under the banner of ‘information and instruction’, and maybe necessary, depending on the work being carried out.

Whether you need a method statement will usually be a consideration of the risk level, how complex or unusual the work is. Higher risk work may require extra information and instruction, and this can be delivered in the form of a method statement.

Safety method statements are often used in the construction industry, and it is often a requirement from Clients and Principal Contractors for the production of method statement before certain activities can commence.

Method statements can be part of a requirement for health and safety accreditation schemes and health and safety management systems.

For example, a requirement of PAS91 (standardised construction pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ)) under question C4-Q12 is to provide evidence of ‘relevant risk assessments and for developing and implementing safe systems of work (method statements)’.

While they may not be a specific legal requirement, method statements are a way of complying with the law by making appropriate arrangements for preventive and protective measures, and providing information and instruction to the workforce.

We have hundreds of health and safety documents ready for your business to use, pre-completed by health and safety experts. Browse our entire library, or just jump straight to the method statements.

share on twitter share on facebook share on linked in share by email
This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and BSc (Hons) Construction Management. She is NEBOSH qualified and Tech IOSH.

Need Health and Safety Documents?

Search hundreds of health and safety documents ready to edit and download for your business.

Health & Safety Documents

Recent posts like this...

What Is A DSE Assessment?

A DSE assessment is an assessment of Display Screen Equipment and how we use it. Display Screen Equipment (DSE) is a device or equipment with a display screen, including both conventional display screens and those used in emerging technologies such as laptops, touch-screens and other devices.

Read Post

When To Update Your Health And Safety Policy

A health and safety policy is a legally required document, but with the law changing regularly, how often do you need to update your health and safety policy to ensure you comply? In the post we discuss when should you update your health and safety policy to keep it up to date.

Read Post

How To Write A Method Statement In 5 Minutes

Writing a method statement can be quite time consuming, you need to go through your activity step by step, considering the people, tools, environment, requirements, and how your work will be carried out safely. Ok, so we know what a method statement is, but how can we write one in 5 minutes?

Read Post

HASpod makes health and safety simple.

Learn More