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A Guide to Risk Assessment and Method Statement for Construction Workers

A Risk Assessment and Method Statement (RAMS) is put in place to identify hazards and minimise safety risks.

Without these in effect, individuals would be at risk of accidents, injuries and even fatalities in their day-to-day roles.

Here we’ll compare the difference between a Risk Assessment and a Method Statement so you can have a more in-depth understanding of why we do these and when they will be required.Individual completing a risk assessment at work

What does RAMS stand for?

RAMS is an acronym that stands for Risk Assessment and Method Statement.

Both Risk Assessments and Method Statements are important health and safety documents.

You see these in industries such as construction or other hazardous industries where health and safety are highly important.

Let’s go into more detail about Risk Assessments and Method Statements…


What is a Risk Assessment in Construction?

A risk assessment is a process of identifying and evaluating potential hazards, the aim is to control the risks in the place of work.

The risk assessment works by determining the possibilities, likelihood and consequences of each of the risks.

This system works well as you can easily identify and prioritise risks based on severity.

Once identifying a hazard with a risk assessment, measures should be put in place to control the risk so no one gets hurt.

Follow these steps during and after completing a risk assessment:

Step 1

  • Identifying Hazards – First of all, the person carrying out the risk assessment will look to identify hazards in the workplace. Common hazards to consider are chemicals, heavy machinery, working at heights and environmental factors.

Step 2

  • Evaluating Severity – Once you have your hazards you can assess the level of risk each hazard poses. A risk assessment involves the likelihood of the hazard occurring and the severity of the risk if it happens to occur.

Step 3

  • Risk Control – By understanding what risks you face in the workplace, you can put safety measures in place. Safety measures such as providing PPE (personal protective equipment), regular inspections of machinery or changing a process can reduce risks.

Step 4

  • Follow up – Risks can change. Things such as the new processes and equipment, and incidents occurring indicate that you should review health and safety.

Find out more about risk assessments in our previous blog: What is a risk assessment?

A construction site can have a variety of unique hazards to account for. Risk Assessments in construction must contain hazards specific to the construction industry otherwise a severe injury could be sustained.


What is a Method Statement in Construction?

A method statement is different to a risk assessment.

You can use the method statement as well as a risk assessment to ensure a safe working environment.

The method statement is a written document that acts as a step-by-step guide, outlining how to carry out tasks safely.

It is a lot more in-depth than other documents and discusses a range of things such as:

  • Name of the assessor
  • The project and the specific task being carried out
  • Working hours, start date and end date (if applicable) or overall task duration
  • Note of key responsibilities
  • Potential hazards with the task and the site
  • References to supporting documents e.g. risk assessment
  • The written process or step-by-step of tasks
  • PPE requirements
  • Emergency procedures, first aid and welfare arrangements
  • Management and supervision or other responsible persons

Capturing all the essential information in the document is crucial, not matter how long the document becomes.

Industry best practices recommend carrying out periodic reviews and updating method statements to keep the document relevant.

A method statement should be reviewed sooner if:

  • There are any changes to the information previously provided
  • Any accidents or near misses occur
  • There has been a change in location
  • New hazards arise
  • Changes to the Health and Safety Regulations
  • Location, environment or equipment changes
  • Feedback or an issue reported by workers

Our Risk Assessment and Method Statement course is appropriate for individuals who lack confidence in filling out these legal documents. Learn more or view upcoming dates here: RAMS course.


What is the purpose of a Method Statement in Construction?

Construction is one of the most high-risk industries, having one of the highest statistics for accidents, injuries and fatalities. Not only do injuries occur more frequently but the injuries sustained are commonly more severe. Therefore, we use RAMS documents to assess risks. Evidence shows that these documents lower the risks of hazards occurring.

Take a look at HSE’s UK Construction Statistics. 

The purpose of a method statement in construction is to ensure that individuals are properly prepared and equipped when on site.

Following the correct processes from a well-structured method statement also increases efficiency and productivity in the workplace because there is a clear plan to follow. So, there is no lack of communication and everyone involved is aware of what they need to do.

Legally, method statements are mandatory in these high-risk environments, so it is important to comply with the law. Learn about the overall importance of health and safety here.

So, make sure you are utilising these documents to deal with hazards in a high-risk environment.

Keep yourself and others safe and understand your responsibilities.

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