SignOnSite Oct 14, 2022 3:31:26 PM 9 min read

How SignOnSite’s new SWMS feature reduces your safety risks

Earlier this year, SignOnSite released a brand-new upgrade to their existing SWMS product called ‘Checklists’. This feature allows managers to review subcontractors' SWMS against their WHS criteria. 

Managers can now see submitted subcontractor SWMS, compare it to their WHS crtieria, and request edits - all on the same screen. 

A screenshot of the SignOnSite SWMS Checklist

 

What does this mean for you?

  • No more never-ending email chains with SWMS edit requests, 
  • No more paper copies of SWMS on-site, sitting in someone's back pocket, 
  • No more nagging subcontractors to sign-on to the most up-to-date SWMS; and, 
  • No more uneasy feelings of being unprepared when an inspector turns up to your site. 

SWMS checklists form just a small part of the SignOnSite product. If you’re already a customer with us, you’ll be pleased to know it’s all yours for free. If you aren’t, it’s time to get a move on, because hundreds of head contractors across Australia are already using SignOnSite.

Why are so many Australian Builders using us? 

In such a diverse industry, Head Contractors come to us looking for help to solve a variety of problems. The one thing they have in common is a primary duty of care to all workers; everyone we speak with is trying to make their worksites safer.

One of SignOnSite’s key objectives is to reduce onsite safety risks. The SWMS Checklists reduces three key safety risks. Let’s now take a look at what they consist of. 

#1 - It ensures that every SWMS is reviewed against your WHS policies and practices

There is no doubt that the SWMS review process is important. By reviewing SWMS against a company checklist, reviewers ensure every subcontractor that comes onto your site will act in accordance with your WHS policies, understand the risks that are on the specific site, and act in a risk-averse manner. 

In reality, reviewers will often look at the SWMS and not actually check if it’s valid, or they will rely on their own judgement to approve a SWMS. This results in too many unsafe SWMS being approved and an acceptance by all parties that an unsafe practice is acceptable.

If an incident or injury were to occur, how would you explain that your duty of care was met?

You can view a SWMS with a side-by-side checklist to ensure that every SWMS follows the same review process. Here you can make sure that law, policies and processes are followed by the reviewer and subcontractor. All risks can be highlighted before the SWMS is approved, helping subcontractors understand the risks before making edits ahead of their first day onsite.

#2 - It reduces the risk of subcontractors not being informed of the sites risks

How many times has a SWMS been approved but it’s not until the first day that subcontractors arrive onto site, that the site team realises there are some unexpected risks?

In this instance, the subcontractor’s supervisor will pull out their team's SWMS, make the edits, raise this with the site manager, and get the entire team to sign off on the updated SWMS. 

Subcontractors are focused on getting the job done, and site managers have a million other things to worry about. This leads to a higher risk of subcontractors skipping the SWMS process and not understanding the site-specific risks. We all know the roll-on effects. Subcontractors become more at risk of accidents and injury because they aren’t fully informed of the risks.

When edits need to be made on-site, subcontractor supervisors can upload the most up-to-date SWMS for approval directly from the SignOnSite app. Site managers can approve, request edits, or reject it from their desktop or phone in a matter of minutes.

All relevant workers are immediately alerted once a SWMS is approved to read and understood. They can then sign on to the most up-to-date SWMS. 

#3 - It reduces the risk of principal contractors not being able to provide auditable documentation 

There are some very serious legal repercussions where SWMS aren’t safe, and an injury or incident occurs as a result. That’s exactly what happened in the tragic case of Workcover vs Australand Holdings.  

The head contractor will be subject to WorkSafe investigations, legal costs, fines and even jail time. This signifies how important it is to provide up-to-date evidence that your company did everything in its power to uphold your duty of care to all subcontractors. 

How does SignOnSite’s new SWMS feature reduce the risk of principal contractors not being able to provide auditable SWMS documentation?

SignOnSite’s SWMS Checklists feature stores a digital and auditable trail of every SWMS submitted, the entire review process, any edits requested from the head contractor, any edits made, the approval status of the SWMS, and a detailed log of every subcontractor who signed onto the SWMS. 

Your company can be assured that you have put in place a quality system that you can rely on to mitigate the safety risks previously noted. Only then would you have done everything in your power to uphold your duty of care to your workers. 

The SWMS checklists feature forms just a small part of the SignOnSite product. We have an ambitious goal of making the Australian construction industry safer. 

We are doing this by continuing to develop an easy-to-use app that engages subcontractors in safety processes. By doing this, we can reduce safety risks across sites and help builders achieve their safety goals. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the SignOnSite platform and how it can help you, please get in touch.