RAMS Construction [Ultimate Guide for Workplace Safety]

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Work-related fatal injury statistics in 2023 from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) highlight construction as the most dangerous industry in the UK.

With that in mind, it’s never been more important for construction firms to have robust occupational safety and health (OSH) processes in place.

One way those businesses are assuring the safety of their workers is via the use of RAMS in construction.

But what does RAMS stand for? How can RAMS Construction help safety standards? Find out all this and how passing the NEBOSH National General Certificate with TSW Training can put you in the perfect position to implement RAMS.

What is RAMS Safety? What Does RAMS Stand For?

RAMS stands for Risk Assessments Method Statements. Put simply, RAMS are a crucial health and safety document that highlights the safe way to complete a specific task. However, understanding it more clearly helps break down the individual parts of the process.

A risk assessment is carried out to identify the hazards and risks involved with the task, as well as define who could be at risk and what mitigation methods should be implemented.

Meanwhile, the method statement will leverage the information outlined in the risk assessment and build on it to confirm how the task should be carried out safely.

The HSE has the power to impose unlimited fines and prison time on business owners found to be in breach of health and safety legislation. So, RAMS in the construction industry are incredibly important.

What is RAMS in Construction?

RAMS in construction and other high-risk industries like agriculture, forestry, and fishing can help reduce the risks faced by workers.

The nature of these sectors means that some level of risk will always exist, so risk assessment method statements help to reduce and mitigate the dangers as much as possible.

Difference Between Risk Assessment and Method Statement

As we mentioned earlier, it helps to split the RAMS acronym into separate parts – risk assessment and method statement.

While these might seem like similar actions, there are crucial differences between the two elements, ensuring they benefit each other rather than one superceding the other.

Some core differences between the two are:

  • Risk assessments are a legal requirement under Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
  • Whereas method statements are more aligned with best practice guides.
  • Method statements are only required for high-risk tasks like working from height, where work activities must be done in a specific sequence to ensure safety.
  • Risk assessments are usually carried out first.
  • Method statements should be created due to the specific risks outlined in the assessment.

Summing up, you need a risk assessment for a method statement but not the other way around.

Business consultation with a digital tablet and documents.

How Are RAMS Used?

Health and safety RAMS are usually two or more documents that can be supplied together before commencing a job.

As we outlined earlier, the risk assessment should always come before creating the method statement.

Because the method statement is not a legal requirement, it’s only reserved for high-risk tasks and should only come following a robust risk assessment.

What is a RAMS Document?

To complete a robust and comprehensive RAMS document, it’s best to keep things simple.

Your documents should be easy to understand and include the following information:

  • Information on specific hazards.
  • What controls have been implemented?
  • What measures need to be implemented?
  • How to implement those controls.
  • Step-by-step guide on how to complete the work safely.
  • What equipment should be used – including any relevant personal protective equipment (PPE)?
  • Guidance on how to use the necessary equipment.

It may seem like a lot of additional work to pull together a RAMS document, but there are multiple benefits associated with this process.

Two individuals writing on a paper together.

Benefits of RAMS in the Workplace

The obvious benefit of using risk assessment method statements is that they improve the safety of your workplace for employees and visitors.

Some additional advantages include:

Clear Guides For Workers

Construction roles can encompass many complex roles and responsibilities. Detailed step-by-step guides can prevent misunderstandings and help avoid crucial mistakes. They can also mean new or inexperienced employees find it easier and quicker to pick up tasks.

Aid in Decision Making

Often, in construction, there can be many ways to complete a task. Method statements define a clear process and remove the need for formal and stodgy approval processes.

Improve Productivity

As we alluded to in the two previous benefits, comprehensive method statements can help expedite projects by defining a clear process for completion.

Ensure Compliance

Fines for health and safety non-compliance in the construction industry can be hefty. For example, Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd was fined £1.5 million and ordered to pay over £29K in costs when a worker passed away after falling from a crane walkway. RAMS can help negate these tragic circumstances by placing regular risk assessments and robust operating guides in place.

Reduce Absenteeism

Research from Construction News found that, on average, building firms lost 8.4 working days per employee to unplanned absences in 2019. By implementing RAMS and tackling incidents attached to high-risk activities, you could reduce absenteeism in your business.

Now that you know what RAMS are and their benefits, let’s take a more in-depth look at how to create the reports.

Two professionals in white coats discussing a document, pointing at specific content.

How to Conduct Risk Assessments and Write RAMS

The risk assessment section of the NEBOSH qualification will show that these legally required checks are made up of five sections:

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Assess risks and who may be harmed
  3. Evaluate the risk and mitigation measures
  4. Record your findings
  5. Review the effectiveness of your assessment

Even on high-risk sites, risk assessments cover these same core elements. However, there are more matters to consider when it comes to moving on to the method statement section of RAMS in construction.

Method statements are often more comprehensive and feature more sections depending on the task being completed.

Some standard sections in a method statement include:

  • Detailed description of work and roles to be completed.
  • Overall project information. 
  • Dates and duration of work. 
  • Step-by-step safe task completion method.
  • PPE requirements.
  • Supervisory arrangements.
  • First aid provision.
  • Emergency response details. 
  • Welfare provision.

That may all seem like a lot of detail. However, passing the NEBOSH National General Certificate will give you and your team a complete understanding of method statements and risk assessments and what to include in each document.

Close-up of a business meeting with documents being reviewed by a diverse team.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions about RAMS in construction.

Why RAMS Are Important for a Workplace?

RAMS are essential in workplaces where risks are unavoidable as they reduce the opportunity for incidents to occur. These process documents can also help drive down incident rates on your sites, help train new employees, and expedite project completion.

Are RAMS a Legal Requirement?

RAMS stands for risk assessment method statement. This is pertinent as it helps define what elements of the process are mandatory. Risk assessments are legal requirements in all businesses. However, method statements are more aligned with process documents, so they are not strictly a legal requirement.

Who Should Write RAMS?

Much like carrying out a risk assessment, RAMS should only be carried out by a trained specialist or competent person. Passing universally recognised OSH accreditations can help qualify you as competent. We recommend completing the NEBOSH National General Certificate with TSW Training to assert your competence.

Conclusion

RAMS construction documents are vital to improving and safeguarding the OSH standards on your site. Industry statistics show that construction has one of the highest mortality rates of any sector.

These crucial process documents can reduce your incident rates and ensure you remain compliant with health and safety legislation – avoiding costly fines.

However, only a competent person must carry out the complex RAMS process.

Pass the NEBOSH National General Certificate with specialist teachings from us at TSW Training today and get all the information you need to become your site’s RAMS expert.

Picture of Matthew Channell
Matthew Channell
Matthew is TSW Training’s Commercial Director. He writes about performance focussed learning, leadership, and management approaches that have real-world, sustainable impact.
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