26th November, 2020

What Are RAMS Documents?

If you are asked for your RAMS, what does it mean? And why would you need a ram on your project? Well, RAMS is a term often used in construction, and actually refers to health and safety documents. In this blog post, we look at what RAMS documents are, and how you can create them.

What Are RAMS Documents? header image

RAMS is an acronym and it stands for two types of health and safety documents, that are often found together - Risk Assessments and Method Statements. If someone asks for your RAMS documents, it's just a short way of asking for your risk assessments and method statements for the project or activity.

When we talk about RAMS documents, in health and safety, we are not talking about the woolly creatures with horns (a.k.a. rams).

Disappointing, I know.

So what are RAMS documents? Well, the term RAMS (when used in health and safety) stands for Risk Assessments and Method Statements. These two types of health and safety documents are often required together on a project, so if a client or contractor asks for your RAMS, they are asking to see a copy of your risk assessments and method statements for the job.

Why are these two types of documents asked for as RAMS?

As we just mentioned, risk assessments and method statements are often found together. In fact, if you are asked for a method statements, you will almost always be asked for a risk assessment to go with it. Because risk assessments are a legal requirement. So if your work is high risk enough to need a method statement, then you will certainly need a risk assessment as well.

Is RAMS a single document?

Nope. You can supply them together, and they may be asked for together. But usually, it will be 2 or more documents.

To provide RAMS, you are certainly going to be supplying both a risk assessment and a method statement. Depending on the task or activity, you may need to supply a few documents.

For example, let's say you are completing a bathroom refurbishment. Your client has asked for your RAMS documents. That's fine, we know what these are now. You might supply a plumbing risk assessment and a plumbing method statement. But what about the strip out works, and the electrical works to install those fancy new spotlights. What about the tiling, and the painting?

Sometimes, you might expand your method statement to include all the works. You may even do that for your risk assessment also. That's usually a simple enough task on a smaller project or a single task carried out by one tradesman.

But, it doesn't really make sense on a larger project.

Does your electrician need to look through all the controls for works that he is not a part of, and won't even be being carried out when he is on the job? Or is that just going to cause frustration?

The best way to provide health and safety information is to provide clear, concise information, and make sure that everyone gets the information they need. If you hide the important information, amongst pages and pages of information that's not relevant for a specific task, it can be tricky for your workforce (and you, and your client) to find the information they need.

It's all important, of course, but it's important to different people, at different stages of the project. So even though RAMS are often asked for as one thing, remember that RAMS are groups of documents.

Now we know what RAMS documents are, how do we create them?

How do you create RAMS documents?

Now you know, RAMS documents are risk assessments and method statements. So what you need to know here, is how to create risk assessments and method statements. These are two different documents, and both need to be created when you are asked for RAMS.

Not sure what the difference is between a risk assessment and a method statement? Read our guide.

Luckily, they are fairly easy to put together, if you know what work you are going to do, and how you are going to complete it safely. Your risk assessment identifies the hazards that are involved, and the controls you have put in place to reduce the risk. And for higher risk activities, your method statement is more detailed step-by-step instructions for how the work will be carried out.

Start with the risk assessment first. This is a legally required document, and the information you gather will also help you to create your method statement later. Here are some resources to help you create your risk assessment:

Once you have completed your risk assessment, you can move on to your method statement. Method statements are usually only required for high risk or complex work, where extra health and safety information is needed in addition to the risk assessment, to ensure the work can be completed safely. Here are some resources to help you create a method statement:

The above guides and resources will help you create risk assessment and method statement documents for your projects. So, next time you are asked for a copy of your RAMS, you will be ready for it!

Now you know what you need to supply when you are asked for a copy of your RAMS for a project. You can use our free risk assessment template, and free method statement template to get started, or choose from hundreds of pre-completed health and safety templates for your activities.

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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.

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