A safe system of work (SSoW) is a formal procedure based on a systematic examination of work in order to identify the hazards. It defines safe methods of working which eliminate those hazards or minimise the risks associated with them. Put simply, a safe system of work is a defined method of doing a job in a safe way.
Employers must ensure that safe systems of work are available for all work activities that create significant risk, in the same way that it’s their responsibility to carry out risk assessments for all work activities.
Safe systems of work become particularly important when significant residual risk remains after all practicable control measures have been introduced into work processes and where control measures that are usually present need to be removed so that a task can be completed, for example, during maintenance, servicing, inspection work, cleaning and/or construction activities.