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Can you write your own Rams?

Let me guess your RAMS are a copy-and-paste job from the last job?

Bog standard set of paper and the operatives just sign the bottom?

In the realm of construction, safety isn't just a priority; it's a fundamental requirement. Construction sites are rife with hazards, from towering structures to heavy machinery. Mitigating these risks falls under the purview of Risk Assessment Method Statements (RAMS), comprehensive documents that outline how hazards will be managed to ensure the safety of workers and the public. But who exactly compiles these critical documents, and what do they entail?

Having just had the conversation again with another team about the importance of taking each set of RAMS on an individual basis for each job, and being conscious of each different workplace, I really want to set out the importance of the document.

Responsibility for Compiling RAMS

The responsibility for compiling RAMS falls on the shoulders of site-based Construction, Design, and Management (CDM) appointment holders, namely Principal Contractors and Trade Contractors.

These individuals play a pivotal role in ensuring that construction activities are carried out safely and responsibly. By developing Site Specific Operating Procedures (SSOW), they identify hazards and implement controls to mitigate risks to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).

Equally subcontractors and operatives of any workers that require a level of risk mitigation will often be asked to complete the crucial document. Subcontractors play a crucial role in the construction industry, often tasked with specialised tasks within larger projects. While they may be experts in their respective fields, subcontractors still need RAMS (Risk Assessment Method Statements) to ensure their operations align with broader safety protocols. RAMS provide subcontractors with a structured framework for identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks specific to their tasks. By adhering to RAMS guidelines, subcontractors can contribute to a safer work environment, not only for themselves but also for other workers on-site. Moreover, compliance with RAMS helps subcontractors demonstrate their commitment to safety, fostering trust with clients and main contractors while reducing the likelihood of accidents and disruptions that could impact project timelines and budgets. In essence, RAMS serve as a critical tool for subcontractors to uphold industry standards, mitigate risks, and contribute to the overall success of construction projects.

What RAMS Must Include

RAMS serve as a blueprint for safe construction practices. They must contain several key components to effectively manage risks:

Project Details: This includes essential information such as the author, date, review date, and project number, providing a clear reference point for the document.

Description of Works: A detailed description of the construction activities and their location, along with the start date, duration, and whether they occur during the day or night.

Key Responsibilities: Identification of safety-critical personnel involved in the project, including the Project Manager, Site Manager, Site Supervisor, Temporary Works Coordinator, Fire Responsible Person, First Aiders, and others.

Methodology: A step-by-step plan outlining how the work will be executed, from arrival on site to completion and departure.

Key Hazards: Identification of hazards associated with the works, including any temporary structures, and the implementation of controls to manage these risks effectively.

Emergency Procedures: Comprehensive procedures for handling emergencies, including first aid arrangements, fire evacuation plans, working-at-height rescue protocols, and environmental spillage procedures.

PPE Requirements: Specification of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) necessary for the tasks based on the nature of the work being carried out.

Plant and Equipment: Details of machinery and equipment to be used during the construction process, along with inspection requirements and registers for plant and lifting equipment.

Hazardous Substances: Management protocols for handling hazardous substances on-site.

Environmental Considerations: Identification of environmental concerns and permit requirements, ensuring compliance with regulations.

Welfare Provision: Provision of facilities to ensure the welfare of workers during the construction process.

Compilation of RAMS

Compiling RAMS requires the expertise of competent individuals who have undergone specific training or possess relevant qualifications. Typically, this responsibility falls on site managers or supervisors who have completed CITB courses such as the Site Managers Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) or the Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS). Alternatively, individuals within the organisation demonstrating competence in health and safety or technical expertise can also compile RAMS. But in a world getting tighter on health and safety, even these may not be considered adequate, and a further Iosh/ Nebosh qualified person would normally need to be a secondary signature and set of eyes and ears on-site.

As the focus on health and safety intensifies, regulatory bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are placing increasing scrutiny on the concept of competence within the construction industry. Competence is not merely a buzzword; it is a fundamental aspect that underpins the effectiveness of health and safety measures. In the context of health and safety documents like RAMS (Risk Assessment Method Statements), demonstrating competence is paramount. This entails having the necessary skills, knowledge, experience, and training to carry out tasks safely and effectively. HSE's heightened attention to competence underscores the importance of ensuring that individuals involved in construction activities, from site managers to subcontractors, possess the requisite competence to fulfil their roles. By emphasising competence in health and safety documents, such as RAMS, organisations can proactively mitigate risks, enhance workplace safety, and uphold regulatory compliance standards, thereby fostering a culture of accountability and responsibility in the construction industry.

In conclusion, RAMS are indispensable documents in the construction industry, ensuring that safety remains paramount amidst the complex and dynamic environment of construction sites. By delineating risks and implementing robust control measures, RAMS safeguard the well-being of workers and the public, making them an integral component of any construction project.

PS please don't ever copy and paste from previous jobs, take the time and do a full assessment of each job because you never know when you might need the piece of evidence to say you did your due diligence.

And if you are struggling - drop me a call and let's have a chat

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