What is the difference between a risk assessment and a method statement?

Risk assessments and method statements are two types of safety documents that are often referred to as R A M S. So, What’s the difference between them and are they both necessary?

More red tape?

When it comes to paperwork its essential to have clear, concise documents that are job specific. For most low-risk activities, a risk assessment will suffice, but in higher-risk tasks a separate safe system of work, in other words, a method statement, should be put in place.

What’s a risk assessment?

A careful examination of anything in your workplace that could cause harm to people. For instance, accidents or ill Health. Therefore identifying  who may be harmed and how,  how serious the risk, reducing it by implementing controls, recording your findings and reviewing them regularly.

What’s its purpose?

A well written risk assessment will help you decide if you are doing enough to protect your workforce and others from harm. Such as whether you are providing enough training, the correct PPE etc. Therefore, It will help meet your legal obligations, which requires you to assess the risk of any works carried out.

A risk assessment will help your business by: (1) reducing the possibility of costly accidents. (2) giving you better operational performance, without dealing with and investigating accidents. (3) reduced prosecution risk.(4) potentially lower insurance premiums.

What’s a method statement?

A method Statement or Safe working practice would Identify each separate step and to define the safest way of completing the task, for e.g., before opening guard doors, ensure that safety glasses are worn.

Chicken and egg?

You cannot write a method statement if you do not know what the hazards are, therefore, it’s essential to do your risk assessment first. After that, define the safest way of performing a medium to high-risk task, from beginning to end.

How do they complement each other?

A risk assessment looks at the hazards, suggests control measures to reduce them. Whereas a method statement uses that information and produces a step-by-step instruction on how to undertake the task safely.

Therefore, a risk assessment identifies and controls the hazards and  a method statement is an instruction on how to complete a task safely.

If you need help in completing risk assessment and safe working practices, Safety Aide are here to help (08000 806801) as a result, we offer a bespoke risk assessment and safe working practice service.