Are Risk Assessments and RAMS one and the same? Who needs to complete a Risk Assessment Method Statement document? Are they legally required? All these questions and more are answered in our Ultimate Guide to RAMS.

What is RAMS?

RAMS stands for Risk Assessment Method Statement. Also known as a Safe System of Work (SSW/SSWP), RAMS are written for specific works that have a high risk. This can include heights, dangerous materials, and more. 

Within the RAMS document, work is broken down into steps. Control measures are created for any possible risk in each step. The document expands on the risks identified in a standard risk assessment for particularly dangerous work.

A risk assessment will be completed on site, which identifies hazards and control measures. This is then backed up by a Risk Assessment Method Statement document, which describes the steps required to successfully and safely complete work. 

RAMS can be used by any company with health and safety but most commonly in construction and rail. They are usually carried out and reviewed by Project Managers, Site Managers and Supervisors.

Risk Assessment Method Statements can also link into your work permits, as they ensure that workers on site are qualified for what they are doing, and know how to tackle a dangerous or complicated job.

Why is RAMS required?

While RAMS are not legally required, keeping staff and workplaces safe through Risk Assessments are legally required for any business with more than 5 employees.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, lays out the minimum requirement for employers:

  • Identify what could cause injury (hazards)
  • Decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed (risk)
  • Take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk (controls)

There are multiple benefits to a company adopting Risk Assessment Method Statements on top of their risk assessments, and ensuring they are recorded correctly.

A clear Method Statement increases safety on site. In construction, misunderstanding or confusion around how work should be carried out can lead to serious accidents and injuries. Clear Risk Assessment Method Statements can help you manage risks and ensure the health and safety of workers.

It also reduces the risk of fines and other penalties for non-conformance. By ensuring compliance with risk management legislation, the risk of your business being fined or facing other legal penalties is drastically reduced. The average fine from HSE for non-compliance is £150,000

If you are found to be breaching the regulations around risk assessments and method statements, resulting fines are decided from three factors. Factor one is Culpability. The second factor is Harm, and the final factor is Turnover.

Compliant and up-to-scratch RAMS and health and safety procedures helps to maintain your reputation. Risk Assessment Method Statements protect on site workers and helps to avoid the reputational damage that would result from injuries due to poor risk management.

infographic for breaches of risk assessment method statements

What is the difference between a Risk Assessment Method Statement and a Risk Assessment?

Risk assessments are an assessment of risk. They tell you what controls need to be put in place to avoid danger, as well as the control measures that will be put in place to keep workers safe.

The risk assessment method statement should explain in what order those control measures will be used, and give more detailed information on how to carry out the work safely.

RAMS Software vs Paper Processes:

What is the benefit of going digital over using traditional paper Risk Assessment Method Statement documents? Many companies have the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset, however paper processes all have inherent problems.

The main problems of paper processes, regardless of industry, include missing data which leads to a bad audit trail and non conformance. Chasing lost data also takes time away from more important tasks. Some workers on site may even completely disregard the forms due to time constraints.

In comparison, Risk Assessment Method Statement software aims to replace paper processes with a digital version. A digitised RAMS procedure is easier and faster for users to fill out. Most platforms can also push data to the company’s own database for easy access, which results in a tighter audit trail.

Using digital Risk Assessment Method Statement software to replace paper processes also brings a large return on investment with it for most users. Have a look at our Case Study to find out how Siemens Rail saw a 200% ROI from digitising their health and safety processes to find out more.

However, not all software is created equal. Some can be clunky or not up to standard, and others are eye wateringly expensive.

Nutshell’s RAMS solution is purpose built for construction and rail using industry standards. It can also be customised and branded as needed. Using a purpose-built solution that works, will result in saving money, time and ensuring compliance. Our industry-standard Risk Assessment Method Statement app is included free with a Nutshell subscription.


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Looking for more information on how to get started with digitising your compliance? Download our eBook ‘The Hidden Cost of Analogue’ here for expert advice.