What’s the difference between a JSA and an SWMS?
Are job safety analyses (JSAs) and safe work method statements (SWMSs) the same thing, or should they be separate documents?
The term SWMS tends to be more commonly used in the construction industry. Under health and safety legislation, SWMS is a defined term and these documents are required for all high-risk construction work.
While there is no specific rule in this regard, a JSA tends to be more for the purposes of a daily analysis to ensure that any changes in conditions are assessed and taken into account when looking at the work procedure on that day.
An SWMS usually involves a broader, detailed review of actual and potential hazards and factors relevant to ongoing risk management. The documents will inevitably overlap – it is more important that they operate effectively as safety procedures rather than being overly concerned about the terminology.
In general terms, the trend is now to move away from the use of the term SWMS as it has an express use in relation to construction work. Instead of SWMS, you can use the term safe operating procedure (SOP).
Where an SWMS is expressly required under the regulations, there may be specific requirements as to the content. See for example Regulation 299 – Safe work method statement required for high risk construction work.