SC15 - Appendix 5
06 Dec 2010



Risk assessments and method statements



​5.1 General

STFC must ensure that safe systems of work are provided for all tasks. Generally this involves an analysis of the task and associated hazards, a risk assessment and, where the risks are significant, a method statement which indicates how the work is to be organised and hazards controlled to minimise the risks.

Areas for consideration in a safe system of work should include:

  • competency of contractors
  • the work activity being carried out
  • the duration and timing of the work
  • proximity of other people in the area
  • lone working and
  • physical status of the workers such as pregnancy or vertigo sufferers
  • suitability of equipment for task including guarding
  • effect of equipment on people or environment (noise/vibration etc.)
  • the equipment to be used and its inspection and maintenance and
  • control of possible falling objects or unstable equipment
  • condition and stability of work surfaces such as fragile materials, slippery surfaces, hot, cold, sharp, heavy etc and
  • disposal of wastes including any radioactive materials:
    • How will they dispose of wastes (our skips or will they have their own contractor)
    • Who will transfer their waste (are they registered as a waste carrier with EA/NRW/SEPA)
    • Can they provide evidence of waste contractor, waste carriers licenses etc.
    • How do they manage hazardous waste
    • Will they segregate waste (general and recyclables) 
  • the location in relation to the presence of hazards such as open excavations, overhead services, radiation etc
  • the working environment with regard to weather, wind or lighting
  • safe and appropriate control of hazardous substances (e.g. dusts, chemicals, etc.)
  • safe means of access and egress
  • frequency of access
  • prevention of access by unauthorised persons and
  • separation of work from other people in the area

A typical method statement might contain the following:

Description of the work
  • why is the work being carried out
  • the scope of the work, how long it will take etc.
  • the resources required to carry out the task
  • the sequence of operations necessary
  • controls required (e.g. PPE, LEV, atmosphere tests, etc.) and
  • completion criteria
Location of the work​
  • where on site the work is to be carried out
  • details of how the work might affect or be affected by other work in the area and how that will be controlled (e.g. warning signs, fencing etc.)
  • what preparation work needs to be carried out and
  • location of any signage
  • give details of any special access or egress requirements
Emergency procedures
  • details of fire and first aid procedures
  • how to deal with possible spills
  • reporting of incidents and near misses and
  • contact details of personnel involved

In assessing documentation from contractors, managers may need expert advice.

Template Method statement

STFC provides a template method statement which contractors can use (WORD (Word document - 67kB - link opens in a new window) | PDF (PDF - 1268kB - link opens in a new window))

5.2 Related STFC SHE information
5.3 References and further reading
Health and Safety Executive Managing contractors – a guide for employers
Health and Safety Executive Use of Contractors – a Joint Responsibility (INDG368)
Health and Safety Commission Management of health and safety at work (Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999) Approved code of practice and guidance. L21
Health and Safety Commission Safe use of work equipment (Provision and Commission Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998) Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L22
Health and Safety Executive Personal protective equipment at work (Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992) Guidance on regulations L25

All STFC SHE documentation can be found on the STFC SHE Website (link opens in a new window)

The STFC has also established free access to a source of HSE guidance and documentation as well as British Standards technical documents - Info4Education (link opens in a new window)

Contact: Baker, Gareth (STFC,DL,CSD)