What is a method statement? this is a question many people come across while they are working in the field of a process, manufacturing or construction. A method statement as its name implies is a step wise statement or method described to perform a certain activity or operation. Method of statement can be in the form of a flowchart or a written step wise guide.
A method of statement covers all the aspects of an activity that may include its scope, responsibility, prerequisite, methodology or how to conduct the job or activity, any testing or verification, referenced documents etc and most importantly the health and safety requirements or risk assessment related to that activity.
There are many variants of the term method statement i.e. method of statement, work procedure, work instruction, work method statements, standing procedure, SOP, Standard Operating Procedure, methods statement, safety statement, safe work practices etc, but the main objective of a method statement is to elaborate in a simple and step wise the complete procedure of an activity which a new engineer or worker can easily understand and with a little supervision he can do the job independently without errors or minimizing the errors.
In some industries the term safe method statements is also used which they refer for considering and focusing the health and safety requirements, although now it has become an integral part of every method statement.
Method Statement Benefits
In many cases and especially in the field of construction, method statements are used to understand the capabilities of potential service providers by the clients or owners. The contractors or suppliers are required to provide the method of statements related to their scope of work in order to pre-qualify for the job. A well written and technically strong method of statement can make it easy for a company to get listed or approved with a client or government agency or authority what ever can be the case.
On the other hand good companies use method statements or SOP’s as a tool for achieving the good quality product or service, a well written method statements are very useful for training and guiding the people for preforming a job. Similarly some organizations has declared it mandatory for every site employee to use a method statement for floor activities, even if they are experienced and skilled employees.
Of course by following a written work method statement it is obvious that the work will be done perfectly in first attempt and there will be minimum rejections or defects ultimately reducing the rejection costs.
Many government bodies and regulatory organizations now required from each company to provide written guidelines to its employees on how to conduct the job in safe manner. Also if a company follows and prepared method of statements for their routine activities they fulfill one requirement of international management standards like ISO 9001 quality management system requirements in which it is recommended that employee should be trained and directed to perform their routine activities, and site work instructions must be placed or displayed at the place of work as a good practice.
Method statements are also useful for transferring the knowledge and experience of senior employees to the new joiners and trainee employees. A method statement written by a senior experienced personnel will reflect his learning/experience and will help new workers to avoid what may lead to a defected product.
Method Statement Best Practices
In order to prepare a perfect method statement below are few things or good practices which have always helped the people getting the method statements approved in first submission.
- Think you are writing the method of statement for a person who is going to the shop floor to perform the work, so include everything which can help him.
- Always include the references to applicable standard or specification related to the subject.
- Include tools and equipment required to perform the work.
- Arrange the order of activity in the natural flow of activity i.e. what is to be done first must come first and the order is very important.
- Where required include images or sketches to clear the worker the site situation.
- Include the check points or inspection points.
- Include references to applicable documents/forms i.e. document/form number etc.
- Link the method statement to the previous or following activity i.e. first check the activity A has been completed which is required to start the activity B, or after completion the product to be given to C department for finishing etc.
- Include prepared by, reviewed by and approved by and get signatures before submitting to the customers.
How To Prepare A Method Statement
Method statement can be prepared by just starting from scratch as mentioned in above section, but the best idea which saves time is to use a standard method statement template or sample. When these kind of method statement samples are available no need to reinvent the wheel and waste time. Just use any available method statement template and start writing your own input related to your industry and you can get a good method of statement easily.