How to Write a Method Statement

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Introduction

Further Reading: Health & Safety Executive guidance on method statements. A method statement is simply a description of how you are going to complete a task. It should allow someone who has no prior knowledge of your activity to understand exactly what it is you are about to do and how you intend to go about it.

This is so that they can understand what potential hazards might be involved and ensure that you have adequately reduced the risks involved. You can either explain how you are reducing the risks as part of the narrative of the method statement or you can combine the method statement with risk assessment documents.

Writing a method statement with accompanying risk assessments

A method statement can either be in the form of a simple written description:

The installation team will arrive at the venue and unload the materials for the stage set into the work area from the truck using a forklift truck. The platform will be assembled by bolting together steel deck platforms and a wooden facade attached to the front face using a powered nail gun. The top of the platforms will be carpeted.

 

Once the platform is assembled, the stage set flats will be laid flat onto the floor and screwed together. A fabric graphic will be stretched across the set flat and stapled into place. Once assembled the set wall will be lifted into position by a team of 4 labourers and supported with stage braces and weights.

Or you may find it easier to write it as list of steps:

  1. The installation team will arrive at the venue and unload the materials for the stage set into the work area from the truck using a forklift truck.
  2. The platform will be assembled by bolting together steel deck platforms
  3. A wooden facade is attached to the front face using a powered nail gun.
  4. The top of the platforms will be carpeted.
  5. The stage set back wall set flats will be laid flat onto the floor and screwed together.
  6. A fabric graphic will be stretched across the set flat and stapled into place.
  7. The set wall will be lifted into position by a team of 4 labourers and supported with stage braces and weights.

Either approach is a perfectly valid way of writing a method statement and should be included within your safety plan.

Once you’ve identified the steps you’ll take to complete the job, you can use this information to help decide what activities you need to produce risk assessments for.

In the example above you could identify the following hazards:

TASK POTENTIAL HAZARDS
The installation team will arrive at the venue and unload the materials for the stage set into the work area from the truck using a forklift truck. A worker might be injured by a falling piece of set when they open the truck door because it’s been poorly packed. The forklift truck driver could hit a pedestrian whilst moving the set to the working area.
The platform will be assembled by bolting together steel deck platforms A worker might pull a muscle in their back whilst trying to move a heavy piece of steel deck on their own.
A wooden facade is attached to the front face using a powered nail gun A carpenter might have an accident with the nail gun they use to attach the facade.
The top of the platforms will be carpeted. The carpet fitter may cut their hand with their carpet knife whilst fitting the carpet.
The stage set back wall set flats will be laid flat onto the floor and screwed together. A carpenter could be injured from an electrical fault in his drill.
A fabric graphic will be stretched across the set flat and stapled into place. The graphics installers could injury themselves with the staple gun and knife they are using to attach and trim the graphic.
The set wall will be lifted into position by a team of 4 labourers and supported with stage braces and weights. If the set wall has been improperly assembled then it could break whilst being erected, injuring the crew.

Based on this method statement, you should probably consider including the following risk assessments as part of your safety plan:

ACTIVITY HAZARD
Unloading the truck Falling objects
Use of a forklift Impact with a pedestrian, object or venue
Building the stage Manual handling injury
Use of powered nail gun Personal injury from nail gun
Carpet installation Personal injury from tools
Use of power tools Personal injury nail gun
Graphics installation Personal injury from tools
Erecting the set wall Crush injury to crew

 

Writing a standalone Method Statement

You can also combine the description of the work you are doing with an explanation of how you are mitigating the risks at each stage. This negates the need for writing supporting risk assessments and may be sufficient for simple straight forward tasks.

Using our above example, a standalone method statement could be produced as follows:

  1. The installation team will arrive at the venue and unload the materials for the stage set into the work area from the truck using a forklift truck. The warehouse manager will ensure that the truck is properly packed with no loose pieces of scenery or equipment. The forklift truck driver will be trained and competent and accompanied by a banks man on the route from the loading bay to the work area. The forklift truck will be supplied by the venue and has been regularly maintained and is fit for purpose.
  2. The platform will be assembled by bolting together steel deck platforms. Crew will be given instructions on manual handling before work commences and supervised on site to ensure that proper lifting techniques are used etc.
  3. A wooden facade is attached to the front face using a powered nail gun. The carpenter will be trained and competent in the use of the powered nail gun and will wear appropriate PPE.
  4. The top of the platforms will be carpeted. The carpet fitters will be be issued with safety gloves to prevent hand injuries from their cutting tools.
  5. The stage set back wall set flats will be laid flat onto the floor and screwed together. The carpenters will be trained and competent in the use of the power tools required for the task. All power tools will have valid PAT electrical test certificates and be visually inspected before use to ensure there are no broken or damaged cables.
  6. A fabric graphic will be stretched across the set flat and stapled into place. The graphics fitters will be trained and competent in the use of their tools, safety gloves will be used where required.
  7. The set wall will be lifted into position by a team of 4 labourers and supported with stage braces and weights. The set wall will be certified okay to lift by a trained and competent carpenter before the lift commences. An adequate number of crew based on the size & weight of the wall will be used to lift it into position and sufficient bracing provided to ensure it’s secure.
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