How to Review a SWMS

If you engage contractors that perform high risk construction work, then you need to collect and review their Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS).  Here’s what you should look for:

The front page of the SWMS contains:


  • Business name of the Contractor
  • ABN of the Contractor
  • Contact name and phone number of the Director, Manager or Supervisor
  • The job details including principal contractor name and job address
  • Name of person who reviewed the SWMS and the last revision date
  • PPE required.

The contents of the SWMS contain:


  • A description of each high risk work task
  • The hazards relating to the high risk work task are specified
  • Control measures to reduce risk of harm

Somewhere in the SWMS there should be:


  • A list of all  the workers on the job (names)
  • Confirmation that the workers have read and understood the SWMS (e.g. a signature)
  • A description of how the control measures will be implemented, monitored, and reviewed.


Working in accordance with SWMS

When you are on site, remember to check that work is carried out in accordance with the SWMS.

If not, then you must ask the workers to “stop work” until they can continue to work safely.

Generic SWMS

Your contractor may supply you with a generic SWMS where the risks between jobs are the same (i.e. no new hazards on a job).

Contractors with Subcontractors and SWMS

In the case where your contractor engages a subcontractor, and they are all working on the job together, then one SWMS can cover all workers on the job, however all workers must review, understand, and agree to the contents of the SWMS.