Safe System of Work Plan - An Introduction

The Safe System of Work Plan (SSWP) complements the Safety Statement required under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, although it does not replace the requirement for such a Safety Statement. Specific Guidelines on Safety Statements are available from the Health and Safety Authority. This guidance, which is particularly relevant to contractors, self-employed persons and employees, deals with the completion of SSWP for Construction. The SSWP will help users to complete construction work activity in a safe manner. Completing and using the SSWP will also help you to meet some of the legal obligations placed on you by health and safety legislation.


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Safe System of Work Plan - An Introduction


Primary objective

The primary objective of the SSWP is to identify the major hazards associated with your work activities and to ensure that appropriate controls are in place before work commences. The SSWP achieves many other objectives, including:

  • Links the implementation of the Safety Statement directly to the work activity.
  • Focusing on safety for a particular task. The SSWP is completed at the start of each activity, and can be reviewed at any time during the work.
  • Increasing awareness. It encourages the users to consider a range of options to deal with the risks. The users will become familiar with the various controls available.
  • Communicating through the use of pictograms so that the meaning can be understood by persons who possess little or no English.
  • Being user friendly: just tick the hazards and controls.

The Safe System of Work Plan (SSWP) should be used as a final check to ensure that the identified controls for a specific construction work activity are available and in place. However safety starts long before any specific construction activity takes place.

Hazard identification, risk assessment, the elimination and control of identified hazards must take place through all stages of construction from the planning stage, through the design process, the tendering process and on to the construction stage so that each specific construction activity will have had safety built in.


A three-part process

The SSWP is a three-part process:

  • Part 1: Planning the activity
  • Part 2: Hazard Identification, and Control Identifier
  • Part 3: Sign off

There are five types of SSWP Construction forms available. They are: