Health and Safety Consultants & Accreditation Experts


Risk Assessment vs Method Statement in Construction

You may come across many risks and hazards in the construction industry and it is important to identify these potential risks and hazards before they occur. This way, risks and hazards will be a lot easier to prevent once they have been identified.

Method statements and risk assessments are in place to help a workplace identify the risks to employees' and visitors' safety and Beaconrisk can always help your business with both of these documents and lots more.

In this newsletter, we discuss risk assessments and method statements and identify the key differences between these two documents.


What Is a Method Statement?

A method statement is a document that is used within the construction industry to ensure that everything is in place to carry out tasks safely.

It can be thought of as a set of instructions or a detailed plan in a sequence that explains exactly how a job should be carried out safely without risking anyone's safety.

Often used alongside risk assessments, a method statement is essential for health and safety and is required by laws such as the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974.

Building sites are high-risk working environments, which is why documents such as method statements exist, they can control identified risks that are found in a risk assessment.


What Does a Method Statement Involve?

A method statement details the correct personal protective equipment to be worn, as well as a lot of information about the task or job at hand. This includes things such as:

  • The description of the job at hand
  • A schedule of the expected duration of the work
  • Hours of work required
  • The assessor to be named
  • Who has dedicated responsibilities
  • Any potential hazards to the job or with the site and environment
  • Reference to the risk assessment document
  • The sequence of the work to be carried out
  • Any PPE needed
  • Management arrangements
  • Any first aid or welfare arrangements
  • The emergency procedures if something goes wrong

These things listed are required to keep staff and all site visitors safe at all times whilst tasks are ongoing.


What are Risk Assessments?

A risk assessment helps to identify potential risks in an environment that may already exist in your place of work. Identifying them is crucial for eliminating the risk and making a workplace a safer working environment overall for employees and visitors.

Risk assessments should be carried out for all working environments and projects. No matter how big or small an operation or organisation, risk assessments help to point out the risk and hazards that everyone should be aware of.

Risk assessments are also a legal requirement that must be carried out to keep everyone on the premises or site safe.


What Is the Difference Between a Risk Assessment and Method Statement?

Both a risk assessment and a method statement are there to improve health and safety at work and limit risks. A method statement is there to enhance the information from the risk assessment. It also goes further and plans the sequence of the activity for the safest practice.

Method statements can also link other documents to the task, such as the risk assessment for example and permits the work for the activity.

Once a risk assessment has been completed, a method statement can then be completed to identify the safest steps to complete the job.

A method statement is usually accompanied by a risk assessment and these documents are not the same, though they are the two most common health and safety documents. Together they are known as RAMS.


What Is RAMS?

RAMS is an abbreviation for Risk Assessment Method Statements. RAMS is often used in the construction industry as risk assessment and method statements go hand in hand.

RAMS helps to prepare people for their safety, they will know what to expect and what is required of them to do the job and to carry it out in a safe way. RAMS helps to eliminate the risk and makes a workplace a safer environment to be in.


Why Method Statements are Used in the Construction Industry?

Construction industry method statements are used to help plan work that is commonly high-risk compared to other industries.

The risks identified in construction are likely to cause greater and more severe health risks to individuals. Method statements are therefore used in the construction industry as they are much more detailed, providing the safest way of operating at every step of the work job journey - leaving no room for potential accidents to occur.

In construction, the environment often changes from one day to the next day, involving different locations on different building sites. There will always be new hazards and risks to incur on each building site. A method statement is there to guide employees through every location on every job to keep them safe.

Safety at work is crucial for everyone's health and ultimately, method statements are created to manage those high-risk environments that need the correct planning and consideration before they take place.