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SWMS Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for answers? Below is an FAQ that will hopefully answer most of your questions. Simply click our frequently asked questions to read the answers.

Didn't find what you were looking for, please visit our support page or feel free to call our friendly customer service team on 1300 306 604.

Browse our library of SWMS - Safe Work Method Statement Templates here.



1. Can I view a sample Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)?

Yes, we are happy to provide sample SWMS. To see an example of the format of our SWMS click the link below.

SWMS Sample

2. What if the legislation changes?

Regular emails are sent out to our database of clients to keep them informed about any updates or changes to the documents. At SafetyCulture we like to help you keep up to date - for any documents already purchased, you will only ever pay an upgrade fee.

View our OHS Legislation and Codes of Practice Reference List here

3. What is a SWMS?

It is a legislative requirement that a written Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is produced for work which is determined to be High Risk Construction Work under the WHS Act.

The purpose of a SWMS is to enable all people involved with specific high risk construction work to have a full understanding of the risks involved with undertaking that work and to implement the risk controls outlined in the SWMS thereby increasing workplace safety.

Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs) must ensure that SWMS are prepared for all high construction work before work is commenced. It is recommended that all SWMS are kept on-site or at a location where they can be delivered to the site promptly.

SWMS are also referred to by many other terms including, Safe Work Method Statements, Work Method Statements, Safe Work Methods, SWM, WMS.

4. How does a SWMS TEMPLATE work?

Our SWMS TEMPLATES are ready to use. They are not blank templates. Once you've downloaded your product, you just insert your company details and ABN. You include any site specific details, the risks and make it specific to the task at hand. Then simply print and use as part of your OHS System.

Remember: The content of the SWMS should be refined over time and include consultation with workers and other persons conducting a business or undertaking. Prior to each new activity, the SWMS must be reviewed and revised to ensure it applies to the high risk construction work and the actual site you are working at.

5. Can I just print out my SWMS document and give it to the Principal contractor?

No, you are required to complete the necessary fields such as business name, address & ABN along with workers’ name etc. In addition to this the document can be tailored to the task and site.

Customisation instructions to assist you with completing your SWMS will be provided in your Sales Tax Invoice.

6. Do you have a refund policy?

At SafetyCulture every effort is made to ensure our products are of the highest quality and are written with Australian best practices in mind. It is our policy to ensure all our products match the product descriptions listed on our website. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with the quality of our products, please let us know immediately and we will endeavour to rectify the problem promptly.

If this does not meet your satisfaction a refund will be offered within 7 days of purchase. If you prefer an alternative to a refund, a store credit may be offered. We ask that you please choose carefully before making your purchase as we do not refund for incorrect choice.

7. A SWMS primarily a 'statement' for principal contractors to under how a subcontractor will conduct their work practices safely on 



Customising Your SWMS

1. Can I add my logo and company name?

Yes. All documents are provided in Microsoft Word Format, so you can easily input your company logo and details.

2. Can I change the content of the SWMS?

Yes. All documents are provided in Microsoft Word Format, so you can easily customise to meet the requirements of your clients:

  • change colours
  • add photos
  • add or delete information to make your SWMS site and task specific

3. What content should I be customising?

The SWMS that SafetyCulture provides are generic documents. As a result you will be required to customise your documents to ensure they meet the needs of your client. Here are some helpful hints to consider when working through your document.

For works carried out on a regular basis a generic SWMS may be prepared and used for those work activities. The content of the SWMS can be refined over time and include consultation with workers and other persons conducting a business or undertaking.

Remember: Prior to each new activity, the SWMS must be reviewed and revised to ensure it applies to the high risk construction work and the actual site you are working at.

Make the SWMS Task Specific and Site Specific

  • Conduct a risk assessment of the task, identifying any additional site or task specific hazards. Enter this information in the appropriate section (e.g. Planning, Preparation, Operation)
  • Add the names of the people who will follow up on the controls to the ‘Responsible Officer’ column.
  • Remove any hazards, risks and control measures that are not applicable to the job – removal of this information will not affect the legislative compliance of your document.


  • Consult with your workers about the content of the SWMS, in particular the identified hazards and the specific controls selected for the site.

Employee Sign-Off, Storage & Review of SWMS

Provide all relevant persons with adequate training and supervision to ensure the SWMS will be followed.

  • Have workers/employees sign-off that they have read and understood the SWMS.

Click for More Tips

4. What is my SWMS number?

A SWMS number is an internal numbering system that you can apply to your SWMS to assist with filing and record keeping.

A suggestion is to number your SWMS according to project number or if the SWMS is being used for everyday tasks and is not project related you may wish to apply a company specific SWMS number. For example, SafetyCulture may number its SWMS like so SWMS No: SC100

5. What information should I be customising in the footer area?

The details included within the footer section are there to assist you in keeping adequate records, and meet quality management requirements for document control and monitoring. documentcontrol.pngTo assist you in filling out this section we have put together this SWMS Document Control Guide.

6. What is the "Date / Revision Date" of my document?

The "Revision Date" or "Date" included in the footer space of your document is a date that your organisation sets to assist with the annual review process of your OHS compliance documents.

OHS Documents should be reviewed at least annually, in consultation with workers, health and safety representatives and other relevant parties.

Your OHS documents should also be reviewed if:

  • It is identified that there are changes in the workplace that affect the document
  • It is identified that the document is not effective
  • There are legislative changes that affect the document
  • There is a serious incident or dangerous occurrence




Receiving Your Documents

1. How long will it take to receive my documents?

Your purchased products will be emailed to you directly upon receipt of payment from our online store and normally takes no more than 30 minutes. Should you have any issues receiving your documents our Customer Service Team is here to assist and can be reached on 1300 306 604 during business hours.

2. How do I download my purchased products?

All our documents are emailed upon receipt of payment, in Microsoft Word format (MS Word), ready for you to download, save and edit as required. Note: You will need Microsoft Word installed on your computer to use any SafetyCulture template.

Download links to products purchased are included in your Sales Tax Invoice. To view the instructions now click the link below.

Downloading and Saving Instructions

3. Do you post it out or send out a disk?

No, the document is provided via email in MS Word format to ensure you are able to edit the document so that it is task and site specific. It also means that you can use it for multiple jobs.


Understanding Your SWMS

1. What information is included in SWMS?

The SWMS must:

  • identify work that is high risk construction work
  • specify hazards relating to the high risk construction work
  • specify risks to health and safety associated with those hazards
  • describe the measures to be implemented to control the risks, and
  • describe how the risk control measures are to be implemented, monitored and reviewed.

It is recommended that SWMS also include the following information:

  • the PCBU's name, address and ABN (if they have one)
  • details of the person(s) responsible for ensuring implementation, monitoring and compliance with the SWMS
  • the name of the principal contractor
  • the address where the work will be carried out
  • the date prepared
  • the review date (if any)

It is important that the information included in SWMS is clearly set out, be easily accessible and fully understood by all site supervisors and workers. The content of a SWMS should provide adequate directions on how the risk controls will be implemented.

2. Who is responsible to prepare a SWMS?

The PCBU must ensure SWMS are prepared for any high risk construction work they intend to carry out. SWMS should be developed in consultation with workers directly involved with the work. If more than one PCPU is undertaking work at the same worksite, then consultation between each PCPU regarding the content of SWMS is required to ensure consistency in the way work will be carried out on that site.

3. Who uses the SWMS?

SWMS are used by Principal Contractors, site supervisors, contractors, sub Contractors, Health & Safety Representatives (HSR?s) and any other workers on-site who may be directly affected by the work being carried out.

4. How long must SWMS be kept?

The SWMS must be kept and be available for inspection at least until the high-risk construction work is completed. If a SWMS is revised, all versions must be kept.

If a notifiable incident occurs in connection with the high-risk construction work to which the SWMS relates then the SWMS must be kept for at least 2 years from the occurrence of the notifiable incident.

5. When does a SWMS need to be reviewed?

A SWMS must be reviewed:

  • before any change is made to the way the construction work is carried out
  • before a new system of work is introduced
  • before the place where the work is being carried out is changed
  • if a new hazard is identified
  • if new information about a hazard becomes available
  • if a notifiable incident occurs in relation to construction work
  • if a control measure does not control the risk, or
  • a request for a review is received from a health and safety representative

The PCBU must carry out the review of SWMS in consultation with Principal Contractors, contractors, subcontractors, workers and any relevant HSR's at the worksite.


Code of Practice - Managing Risks on Construction Work - Safe Work Australia (2012)

You can view our full range of SWMS documents here

6. How do I use the Risk Assessment Matrix?

The Risk Assessment Matrix is used to decide on the Risk Before (RB) & Risk After (RA) level for Risk Assessments and SafetyCulture Safe Work Method Statement.

For each job step.

1. Identify Hazards and subsequent Risks that are associated with the job step.

For example:

  • Hazard = Hazardous Manual Tasks
  • Risk of - Muscle stress and MSD caused by lifting, bending, carrying

2. Use the Risk Matrix to decide what you believe the risk level would be BEFORE you have any controls in place.

  • What is the likelihood of injury?
  • What is the possible consequence of an injury occurring?

Decide on a Risk BEFORE (RB) controls level

3. Work out what control measures you have in place, or what you will put in place, who will make sure the controls are done and by when.

4. Re-assess the Risk level using the matrix and ask.

  • What is the potential of injury when the controls are in place?
  • What is the possible consequence, if an injury occurs when the controls are in place?

Decide on a Risk AFTER (RA) controls level.

5. Check that the risk level you decide on AFTER controls is LESS than the risk level before controls. If not, you need to re-assess & put additional or different controls in place.

6. When doing the Risk Assessment it is important to consult with all relevant persons who are involved with the job, their information should help you determine the risk levels. Deciding on risk levels is arbitrary, so the more experienced the assessor and the people you consult with, the more dependable the determined risk levels will be.


Digital SWMS

1. How to download your iAuditor SWMS (.iat file)

All our documents are emailed upon receipt of payment. To access your iAuditor SWMS (IAT) follow the steps below:

  1. Access the email application on your smartphone or tablet
  2. Click on Download Files to start downloading. Each document purchased will include a download link. View Example
  3. Another page will open with the files for your SWMS.
  4. Click on the iAuditor (.iat) file View Example
  5. Click Open (If nothing loads open the page using Safari) View Example
  6. In the left hand corner click Open in "iAuditor" (insert Step 4)
    The iAuditor App will open and your SWMS will now be visible under Templates View Example

Video Tutorial on Downloading your iAuditor SWMS

2. Customising your SWMS in iAuditor

The SWMS that SafetyCulture provides are generic documents. As a result you will be required to customise your documents to ensure they meet the needs of your client. To assist you we have put together some instructions on customising your SWMS in iAuditor. Click here for instructions on how to customise your iAuditor SWMS

3. Conducting an audit of your iAuditor SWMS

Once you have finished customising your SWMS using the template editor it is then time to complete your SWMS by conducting an audit. For help with filling out your SWMS click here

4. View a completed iAuditor SWMS Sample

5. Exporting your iAuditor SWMS

iAuditor allows you to export your SWMS in PDF for free. If you need more sophisticated data exporting, then you may consider unlocking these. To find out more about unlocking additional exporting options in iAuditor click here

As always, if you still have any questions or need help regarding any of our products or services, please feel free to call our office on 1300 306 604 during business hours.


Our SWMS are written by Ex-OHS Inspectors to comply with current legislation