Courtenell Pty Ltd
as Trustee for the Vowles Family Trust
WHS Training Specialists, Sydney, Australia
firstname.lastname@example.org ~ PO Box 622 Broadway NSW 2007
ABN: 42164393628 ~ ACN: 050109281
It is a written document setting out the logical sequence of steps that must be followed to safely perform a workplace activity. The name, Safe Operating Procedure (SOP), is one of the names that may be given to a work procedure that is created and written after;
Basically an SOP is the "how to do this work activity and remain safe and healthy".
A safe operating procedure is sometimes also called a safe work procedure or a safe work method statement.
Yes. They should be consulted either directly through agreed arrangements, or through their HSR or Health & Safety Committee. It makes good sense to consult Workers about work activities that affect their heath and safety but it is also a legal requirement (WHS Act section 49)
WorkCover Inspectors are very interested in your SOPS.
In the event of a workplace incident an SOP is a key record to be reviewed in establishing:
Without a documented safe work method, it would be very hard to demonstrate that all reasonably practicable steps had been taken to eliminate or minimise the risks of a work activity.
If a WorkCover Inspector arrives at your workplace to investigate a workplace incident they will want to see any SOP you have that is relevant to that incident.
You probably know, or have already concluded that the answer to this question is, yes.
SOPs provide a stable reference point for all WHS duty holders on “how to do this work activity and remain safe and healthy”.
But an SOP is more than just a stable reference point and useful means of controlling workplace risks and helping WHS duty holders comply with their duty.
In workplace risk situations where it is not possible for the duty holder to eliminate the risks to health and safety then the duty holder must use risk controls to minimise the risks so far as is reasonably practicable. (WHS Regulations clause 36)
An SOP is a procedure that is in that category of risk controls that is known as an administrative control and it must be used where relevant if the risks have not been minimised by other controls you put in place. (WHS Regulation clause 5 and 36)
You are welcome to download this article and distribute it within your organisation.
Courtenell offers Consulting Services to help you comply with your legal obligations.