RAMS are an essential part of health and safety at the workplace and the acronym stands for ‘risk assessments and method statements’. However, this is no longer the true meaning, as RAMS are now expected to contain COSHH assessments and any other H&S documentation that a principle contractor requests.
RAMS now tend to refer to all the documentation in a contractors H&S folder, and what needs to go in this folder will vary depending on the principal contractors preferences or conditions to join an approved supplier list.
If you have five or more employees it is a legal requirement to have a company H&S policy that sets out how your company will address welfare and health and safety, and how you will manage health and safety within your business. The policy must be shared or made available to all employees, and they must be informed of any edits or amendments.
It is also a legal requirement to carry out COSHH assessments for any substances used at the workplace. Both the COSHH Regulations and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations stipulate this, and no substance should be used in the workplace without a COSHH assessment in place. We may think that household products such as bleach or detergent are exempt from the law, but in a working environment they are not, and it’s legal requirement of the employer to provide them.
Risk assessments are another legal requirement. Put simply, an employer shouldn’t ask an employee to carry out a task before they’ve evaluated the risks, and put control measures in place if any hazards are found. The control measures are put in place to eliminate the risk or bring it down to an acceptable level. In short, an employee has no right to put someone in danger whist at the workplace.
Method statements are a requirement for every principal contractor that we’ve know, but they aren’t a legal requirement. Even though they list the order or works and include safe working practices, they are not a legal requirement. You will need to submit them to principle contractors and CDM sites, or your company won’t be considered.
These are the four main document types that everyone must have, and the method statements, risk and COSHH assessments are referred to as RAMS, while the company health and safety policy is a stand alone document.