Three ways to create a RAMS document
If you’re working in project management, whether in construction or other high-risk areas, you’ve likely come across RAMS documents. RAMS stands for Risk Assessment and Method Statement, and these critical documents outline all hazards and risks associated with a project and the measures in place to mitigate them. In this article, we will go over three ways to approach creating a RAMS document, each with its advantages and drawbacks.
Method 1: Traditional paper-based approach
The traditional paper-based approach to RAMS documents is still prevalent, where they are produced manually using word processing software. The relative cost-effectiveness and simplicity of using the document in this way make it a very popular option for many.
Preparing your RAMS document template
The first step in creating a paper-based RAMS document is to establish a template in your preferred word processing software. This template should include section headings and adequate space to write detailed information about each section.
Identifying risks and mitigations
To assist you with identifying the inherent hazards and risks associated with your project, utilise the appropriate information forms developed for such projects. These forms typically outline potential hazards and the necessary steps for mitigating these risks.
Assigning responsibilities and resources
Assigning resources and tasks to staff who will be involved in delivering the project is the next step in the paper-based RAMS document approach. It should be clear who is responsible for maintaining individual measures to manage identified hazards and risks.
Reviewing and updating the RAMS document
Finally, you should review and update your RAMS document regularly, most typically at project milestones, to ensure that it remains relevant and actionable. Also, ensure that all stakeholders are aware of these changes and the identified risks, updates, and measures.
Method 2: Digital RAMS document creation
Digital RAMS document creation uses specialised software solutions for creating and managing RAMS documents. Digital RAMS document creation automates many of the manual processes involved in paper-based RAMS document creation, allowing for easier access, collaboration, and streamlined risk assessment processes.
Choosing the right software for your RAMS document
To start with a digital RAMS document approach, you will need to choose a specialised software solution for creating and managing RAMS documents. Look for features such as customisable templates, automated risk assessment, integrated document management, and reporting.
Collaborative features for team input
“Collaboration” is an essential aspect of digital RAMS document creation. Ensure that your chosen software includes collaboration features, like real-time team collaboration, versioning, and the ability for multiple users to review and comment on the document simultaneously.
Streamlining the risk assessment process
Digital RAMS document creation enables software features that allow for real-time tracking of project risks, and once a risk is identified, the software can assign the risk mitigation steps to relevant team members.
Tracking changes and version control
Version control is another crucial aspect of digital RAMS document creation. Changes to the document are easier to track within the system as it records who added or changed what within the document framework. It also enables the previous versions/iterations of the document to be retrieved and reviewed by stakeholders.
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Method 3: Outsourcing RAMS document creation
For businesses that do not have the time, expertise, or capacity to undertake RAMS document creation in-house, outsourcing is a viable alternative. By outsourcing, you can access expert knowledge and reduce the time that you or your team will use to deliver the project.
When to consider outsourcing
It’s crucial to identify the need to outsource RAMS document creation when in-house resources are limited or less qualified, and projects are complex or require multiple documents. Outsourcing RAMs creation is often a more cost-effective approach and may be a considerably quicker way of completing the documents than any of the other methods mentioned.
Finding a reliable RAMS document provider
Identifying a reliable RAMS document provider requires thorough research and due diligence. It would be best to seek referrals and reviews of the service providers, as well as any additional information on the providers’ experience, capability, quality assurance, and compliance with relevant regulations.
Ensuring quality and compliance
When outsourcing RAMS document creation, a business will maintain ultimate responsibility for the final work performed by outsourced services. To ensure quality, compliance and consistency, businesses need to conduct thorough due diligence before awarding the work, and then provide detailed instructions throughout the process and regularly review progress towards agreed deadlines.
Integrating the outsourced RAMS document into your Project
Once you have received the finished RAMS document from the outsourced service provider, it’s essential to integrate the new document into the project management system. Then, review the document against project milestones, update it as necessary, and provide training to relevant stakeholders so that proper compliance with the document is maintained throughout the project lifecycle.
The method you select at the onset of creating a RAMS document may determine your project management success, and that’s why you should choose a method that aligns with your project, timeline, and budget. Regardless of your chosen approach, remember that the best RAMS document is effective and compliant one, with everyone involved being appropriately trained, equipped with knowledge and understanding of all hazardous activities that they may affect or expose.
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