You probably know what a risk assessment is, even if you do not work in health and safety. Every business must conduct one to identify hazards in the business; how likely these hazards are to occur; how serious the outcomes are; and work out actions to take which eliminate the hazards or control them if they cannot be eliminated.
If you have more than five employees, your risk assessment must be written down. This is all enshrined in law under the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
RAMS builds on this initial work. In fact “risk assessment” makes up the first part of the acronym. In full, RAMS stands for risk assessment and method statement.
The method statement focuses on individual processes, and sets out step-by-step walk throughs of these so that they can be completed safely. This will include things like who can do them, what equipment is required, as well as when and where the activities should be carried out.
When should RAMS be prepared?
RAMS are common in the construction industry and are often required (commercially not legally) when submitting tenders on medium and larger projects. But they are relevant to any business where there are serious risks which need to be managed. They should be seen as complementing the good work already done in a risk assessment, and preparing RAMS brings a number of benefits to your organisation.
What a good RAMS includes
As the name suggests, a good RAMS will include the initial risk assessment at the beginning which provides context. It will then detail the supervisor, what equipment is needed, who can do the work, the first aid which should be on hand and anything else relevant. Then, it will show an itemised methodology of how the process concerned should be completed.
Once prepared, it’s vital to share the completed RAMS with all relevant employees and then review it periodically to ensure it remains up to date.
Benefits of adopting RAMS
As we said earlier, RAMS aren’t necessary for every part of your business operations – typically just the more complex processes which carry serious risk. But taking the time to prepare RAMS where they can add value to you, delivers your business a wide range of benefits:
- RAMS can help inform good decision making
- They improve workflow and efficiency
- They help to prevent operational misunderstandings
- RAMS can have a positive impact on absence through reduced illness and injury
- They can lower your risk of legal action related to health and safety
- RAMS can improve your reputation as a professional company seen to be taking health and safety seriously
- In some sectors, like construction, RAMS can open the door to new tendering opportunities
Assistance with RAMS
If you would like an independent review of your existing RAMS, or would like to introduce them to your business, get in touch with our expert team and we can discuss how we can help you in your organisation.