Risk assessment and method statements (RAMS) are essential for improving workplace safety where high-risk activities take place.
While the primary purpose of RAMS is to assess, identify hazards and manage risks associated with a specific task or project they also describe the methods to be used, serving as valuable communication tools. This ensures employees and contractors know the procedures to follow to keep themselves and others safe and free from harm. RAMS enable clients to evaluate how well an activity will be managed and if there might be hazards or information missing.
Here we discuss what RAMS documents are and how they can benefit your organisation.
What does RAMS stand for?
RAMS stands for ‘risk assessment and method statement’. A RAMS may be required where high risk activities have been identified.
High risk activities may include using hazardous substances, moving heavy machinery, working in confined spaces, climbing ladders, or operating dangerous machinery.
A RAMS document is a vital aspect of health and safety management, particularly in industries such as construction, engineering, manufacturing and general maintenance in properties and facilities.
What are RAMS?
A RAMS risk assessment is a detailed plan that gives the specific steps, procedures and precautions that must be followed to complete a task or activity without compromising the health and safety of workers, the public or the environment.
Every RAMS is different and specific to the organisation and task to be performed, but this is a breakdown of what a RAMS normally includes:
- Risk assessment. A thorough risk assessment is conducted to identify and evaluate potential hazards and risks associated with the task. The assessment considers factors such as the nature of the work, the environment, and the skills and experience of the workers involved.
- Task description. A RAMS begins by describing the task or activity that needs to be performed. This includes details about the location, equipment, materials, and any potential hazards associated with the task.
- Control measures. The RAMS document outlines the control measures that will be implemented to mitigate and manage the identified risks. This may include specifying the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), safety procedures, safe work practices and any necessary safety equipment and information provided by the client or premises owner.
- Sequence of work. It provides a step-by-step sequence of how the task will be carried out. This includes the order of activities, the responsibilities of each worker or team, and any specific instructions for each step in particular recognising what other operations, works or activities that might be undertaken by others at the location.
- Emergency procedures. In case of incidents or emergencies, a RAMS includes details of emergency procedures. This ensures that workers know how to respond and who to contact in an emergency.
- Monitoring and review. The document often includes a section on monitoring and review, outlining how the task will be supervised and checked to ensure that safety measures are consistently followed.
- Signatures and acceptance. Before commencing the task a toolbox talk or briefing will be undertaken and all relevant parties, including workers and supervisors, typically sign the RAMS to acknowledge their understanding of the document and their commitment to following the safety procedures.
How can you ensure employees and contractors follow a RAMS?
A RAMS, like any risk assessment, is only useful if it is followed by employees, contractors, and other relevant personnel.
If employees are trained, briefed and engaged in the risk assessment process and their insights are listened to they are more likely to follow health and safety procedures and requirements of the RAMS.
It’s important that documentation is shared with employees and that the hazards, associated risks and step-by-step procedures to follow are clear and easy to understand. Ensure that employees have the resources to follow a risk assessment effectively. This might include equipment, training materials and safety information.
Establish clear expectations for compliance with safety procedures and policies and communicate the message that compliance with safety measures is a shared responsibility between employers and employees and should be subject to planned checks through onsite inspections
If emergency response procedures are outlined in the RAMS, it’s a good practice to periodically conduct drills or simulations to ensure that all personnel are familiar with the procedures and that they work effectively.
How often should you review a RAMS?
The frequency of a RAMS risk assessment review can vary depending on the nature of the work, the specific risks involved and industry requirements. However, it’s generally recommended that a review takes place annually or at the start of a new project phase.
You should also consider carrying out a RAMS review when there are significant changes in work processes, equipment or personnel. This might include changes to the scope of work, new hazards identified, or alterations to the work environment.
If there is an accident, incident or near-miss on the job site it’s essential to review the RAMS to determine if any shortcomings in the risk assessment or safety measures contributed to the incident. Adjustments should be made to prevent similar incidents in the future.
A RAMS might be reviewed in response to feedback from clients, inspections, and workers. Those working on a job site are often the best source of information about potential hazards and the effectiveness of safety measures. Regularly seek feedback from employees and incorporate their input into RAMS reviews.
The goal of reviewing a RAMS is to maintain a safe working environment. The frequency of reviews should be determined based on the specific circumstances and risks associated with the work.
Do you need a RAMS review?
At Praxis42 we have a proven track record assisting organisations across various sectors with RAMS reviews. We believe that clear and accessible communication is key to safety, and that’s why we ensure that RAMS are presented in a clear, jargon-free manner.
Our dedication to meticulous risk analysis sets us apart, and we make sure all significant risks associated with your project or task are identified and comprehensively addressed.
RAMS reviews can be conducted either in person or remotely, accommodating your organisation’s specific needs. We take a tailored approach, working closely with you to understand your unique requirements to ensure RAMS reviews are customised to your organisation.
Find out about our RAMS review and health and safety assessment services.