Timber frame standing and truss erection can be back-breaking work! It is often high risk work with some serious potential injuries. We recommend these three steps are completed prior to every install. Ensure that everyone understands the process and their role, from when frames and trusses arrive on-site all the way through to standing.
The development of Risk Assessments and SWMS are crucial to your workers to ensure their safety throughout the build. To make these processes easy, you can complete these on the HazardCo App.
Some things to think about when creating a Risk Assessment and SWMS for frame and truss delivery and erection are:
Is the work area secure?
Clients, visitors, and members of the public cannot enter the area and workers are aware that they should only enter if they are required for the tasks.
Have all site inductions been carried out and an emergency plan developed for any at height work?
Have all workers who work at height been trained to do so? Is access to height suitable and is fall protection in place?
Have all workers been provided with the correct PPE? Are all tools and equipment available and in suitable working order for the task?
The purpose of a SWMS is to go into detail for each of the tasks to be carried out. Thinking about the hazards at each step and how they can be appropriately controlled.
You should think about:
Prior to work starting, workers should be involved in developing a SWMS. Consulting workers is important so they understand the detail of the SWMS and what they are required to do to implement and maintain risk controls. Sharing information and using the knowledge and experience of workers will help make sure the work is performed safely and in line with the SWMS.
On paper, this sounds like a lot of work – but it is made simple by using the HazardCo App, and using SWMS templates that you can save as templates and amend again and again. You’re not having to start from the beginning for tasks that you complete regularly. Do remember to check over your templates before approving them as different sites can present different hazards that you don’t want to miss, (overhead power lines as an example).
When working at height, either on a second story or setting trusses you need to ensure that your workers are safe, not just from falling, but from tools, equipment, or materials falling too.
Once the lower level frames have been stood/braced appropriately, safe working platforms should be installed such as scaffolding. Scaffolding over 4m must be erected by a licensed scaffolder and all scaffolding should be checked by a competent person regularly.
If the potential of a fall cannot be eliminated when working on a roof, some form of edge protection should be used to isolate workers from a fall. This includes working on single-story buildings and structures. Using the existing scaffolding as edge protection is often the simplest solution. If this is not practicable, then elevating work platforms or temporary work platforms should be used. Toe boards should be fixed to temporary edge protection as a way of containing all materials, including debris and loose tools.
Worksite traffic can be a major cause of harm on work sites. When it’s close to having your frames and trusses delivered to site and you’re considering dates with the delivery company, it is essential to communicate the traffic management plan with them. This provides the company and drivers involved with a clear picture of how the site has been structured and can assist the delivery company in selecting the correct sized vehicle for the delivery, taking into account the site size and structure.
Ensuring that you implement the above can prevent many injuries on site, as well as regular toolboxes, making plans for ‘what if’ situations (rescue plans) and discussing these with your workers to keep them alert so they’ll know what to do if an incident occurs on-site.
For some useful information on the safe installation of roof trusses and framing please view these resources:
WorkSafe Victoria: Safe erection of roof trusses
WorkSafe Victoria: Preparing to erect timber wall frames
SafeWork Australia Managing the risks of falls in housing construction
Meeting your health and safety requirements shouldn’t be a chore. Instead, it should be an easy, functional and productive part of your day. With HazardCo, that is exactly what it becomes.
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