Risk Assessments and Method Statements Toolbox Talk

This blog can be delivered to your staff as a Toolbox Talk. If you require a specific Toolbox Talk for your workplace, please feel free to get in touch.

Reason: Work must be planned and carried out in a safe manner. The construction industry continues to have an unacceptable accident record.

Outline: This talk covers what risk assessments and method statements mean to you.

Construction manager with folder under their armRisk Assessments

  1. All employers have a legal duty to prepare risk assessments for work activities that could foreseeably result in injury or ill health to any person or damage to equipment.
  2. Risk assessments identify the ways in which the job activities, environment or the materials used could result in injury, ill health or damage (the hazards) and the control measures that must be put in place to ensure that the chance of anything going wrong is eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level.
  3. Employers with five or more employees must have written risk assessments.
  4. If there are fewer than five employees, the risk assessments must still be carried out, although there is no legal duty to write them down.
  5. Employers have a legal duty to communicate the significant findings of risk assessments to workers who may be affected. It is important that you understand what they say.
  6. There is no specified way for laying out a risk assessment so you must familiarise yourself with the way your employers present theirs.
  7. In many cases, the risk assessments will form the basis for a method statement.

Workbench on construction siteMethod Statements

  1. A method statement is a written list of operations, to be carried out in a logical, specified sequence, in order to complete a work activity in a safe manner.
  2. Everyone involved in a job for which a method statement has been written should read it (or have it explained to them) and sign it before works take place, having understood its contents – this is usually done during a site induction. They may have to re-sign the RAMS if significant changes are made, such as sequence of works changed, methods changed, risk assessments reviewed etc.
  3. A well-written method statement addresses all the hazards present and plans the work so that the risk of an accident is eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level.
  4. Method statements should be site and task specific.
  5. It is important that you understand all aspects of your method statement fully.




What information would you expect to find in a risk assessment?

How would a company with five or more employees record its risk assessments?

What is a hazard?

What is risk?

What example can you give of a control measure?

What should happen if you need to deviate from a method statement?

A hazard is anything with the potential to cause harm (such as an unprotected edge).Risk is the likelihood of harm coupled with the severity (for example, is there anyone working near the unprotected edge and would it result in a fall from 10 cm or 10 m?).

If you have any questions about the contents of this Toolbox Talk, do not hesitate to contact us – our team would be happy to help you with any queries. Find more Toolbox Talks here.