Preparing to build a timber deck

This guidance for carpenters asks questions and uses examples to help remove or reduce the risks to health and safety when building a timber deck.



You can adapt this example to your own job and help create a safer working environment.

One in three injuries on construction sites involve everyday tools and equipment. So make sure you don't take shortcuts with your gear and use the right tools for the job.

Take time to prepare your site. Stop, Step back, and Think.

1. Stop

What job needs to be done? Do I have the right tools?

What's the job?

Build a timber deck at the back of an existing home.

List the tools you need

  • compound mitre saw
  • nails
  • power leads
  • circular saws
  • hammers
  • nail guns
  • ladders
  • post hole digger
  • power drills
  • rapid set concrete
  • saw benches
  • saw horses

2. Step Back

Take a moment to ask:

Where is the job located?

At the back of an inner city suburban home.

How long will the job take?

1 week.

How many tradies do I need?

  • 1 carpenter
  • 1 apprentice

What do I have to do?

  1. Dig the post holes.
  2. Cut and erect the timber decking.

What's been quoted as part of the job?

  • Materials: timber, nails and rapid set concrete.
  • Dig all post holes.
  • Cut and erect timber decking as per plans provided by the home owner.

Will the work impact on others?

Yes. The home owner and children will be at home all day.

3. Think

Are the tools in good condition and appropriate for the task?

  • Make sure the nail guns are serviced in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Power leads should be tested and tagged to ensure they are in good condition.
  • Check that safety guards are fitted and working properly on all tools.
  • Ensure that you use ladders appropriate for the task.

What do I need to do before we're on site?

  • Block access to the backyard when you are working onsite.
  • Suspend the leads off the ground.
  • Ensure that tools are protected by Residual Current Devices (RCDs) at all times.

Check Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • hearing protection
  • eye protection
  • protective gloves

More information