21 September 2020

A SWMS is a Safe Work Method Statement. It is an official document that sets out the high-risk work activities to be carried out at a workplace, the hazards arising from these activities and the measures to be put in place to control the risks. SWMS are required for the 18 high risk construction work activities defined in the WHS Regulations.

A SWMS is classed as an administrative control and is used to support higher order controls to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety. A SWMS is not intended to be a procedure, rather it is a tool to help supervisors and workers confirm and monitor the control measures required at the workplace.

A PCBU must prepare a SWMS (or ensure a SWMS has been prepared) for high risk construction work activities (as defined in the WHS Regulations). A SWMS must be prepared before this work starts. A PCBU must manage risks to health and safety by eliminating or minimising risks so far as is reasonably practicable.

A principal contractor must also obtain the SWMS before high risk construction work on a construction project starts. The principal contractor, builder and subcontractors should consult with each other to determine who is in the best position to prepare the SWMS.

Consulting workers is important so they understand the detail of the SWMS and what they are required to do to implement and maintain risk controls. Sharing information and using the knowledge and experience of workers will help make sure the work is performed in accordance with the SWMS.

A SWMS must:

  • Identify the work that is high risk construction work
  • Specify hazards relating to the high-risk construction work and the risks to health and safety
  • Describe the measures to be implemented to control the risks, and describe how the control measures are to be implemented, monitored and reviewed

A SWMS template outlines the information which must be included in a SWMS. One SWMS can be prepared to cover a variety of tasks if it takes into account the changing nature of the work environment. Alternatively, a separate SWMS can be prepared for each high-risk construction work activity.

The SWMS should be kept at the workplace where the high-risk work will be carried out. If this is not possible then a SWMS should be kept at a location where it can be delivered to the workplace quickly. A SWMS can be kept electronically.

This is where finao can assist, we have developed an online SWMS system that can be customised to meet your business AND 'safe work' requirements.

An online template can be generated to ensure that whoever in your business is developing a SWMS completes the right fields in the right order with the right ‘consistent’ information. The system can be used (in real time) to ensure the right people are involved in the process in a timely manner (using a range of notifications).

Additionally, finao provides the ability to collaborate and consult both internally and externally (to the business) so everyone knows what is going on and what the various stakeholder exceptions are.

Benefits of a finao online SWMS system;

  • Easy to use and complete
  • Low admin requirements
  • Consistent with company policy
  • 24/7 accessible from any internet connected device (mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop)
  • Ability to collaborate with multiple stakeholders
  • Engage contractors and sub-contractors as required
  • Open collaboration
  • Fully auditable
  • Data security (and sovereignty)
  • Cloud hosted and backed up


finao specialises in digitising offline, paper based forms, processes and workflow into efficient and user-friendly online systems with automatically generated notifications, predetermined automated workflow and real time reporting. All of this customised to our clients specific business requirements.

Our systems are used to manage complex construction and infrastructure projects as well as meeting your WHS obligations in one of the most highly regulated safety environments in the world. We understand your reporting and monitoring obligations are extensive and demanding. A finao system can help you take control of the processes - not the other way round.

Contact us now to find out how we can help with the design and implementation of an online SWMS system.