Safe erection of roof trusses checklist

This guidance is for employers. It provides information and a checklist to help you meet your occupational health and safety (OHS) duties to keep employees safe when using roof trusses in domestic house construction.

On this page

  • Background
  • Employer duties relating to high risk construction work (HRCW)
  • Checklist

Background

The erection of roof trusses is a high risk activity due fall hazards associated with working at heights. This checklist has been developed in consultation with:

  • Victorian Volume Home Builders Safety Alliance (VVHBSA)
  • Housing Industry Association (HIA)
  • Master Builders Association of Victoria (MBAV)

The checklist should ensure all safety basics related to the erection of roof trusses have been considered and applied.

Employer duties relating to high risk construction work (HRCW)

The erection of roof trusses may place employees at risk of falling from a height that is greater than 2m. Placing trusses onto housing frames using powered mobile plant, such as a vehicle loading crane, may also be required. In these situations, roof truss erection meets the definition of HRCW within Part 5.1 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations).

When employees are undertaking HRCW, employers must develop a safe work method statement (SWMS). Employers should ensure that the SWMS is:

  • prepared in consultation with the employees who will do the HRCW
  • implemented in addition to their general duty to provide a safe workplace
  • reviewed when the HRCW changes or there is any sign that the risk controls measures are not controlling risks

Employers must also keep a copy of the SWMS for the duration of the HRCW.

Hierarchy of control

The hierarchy of control is a system that ranks controls from highest level of protection to the lowest.

Employers must know the controls covered in Part 3.3 of the OHS Regulations when developing the SWMS and when planning the measures to control any risk of falling. Read more about the hierarchy of control in Related information.

Checklist

The following checklist covers:

  • truss design
  • preparing the site for truss delivery
  • use of a crane
  • development of site specific erection methods
  • formation and preparation of erection crew

Working through this checklist will help manage the risks associated with the erection of trusses.

Truss design

  • Alternative designs for large spans and/or high trusses to facilitate safer installation have been considered.

Preparing the site for truss delivery

  • Vehicles will have safe access to the site.
  • Deployment of any outriggers has been considered.
  • Crane boom movement restrictions, such as existing structures, have been considered.
  • The supplier and delivery contractor have been consulted to ensure that the roof trusses will be delivered and unloaded in an order that minimises handling on site, including the sequential erection of trusses.
  • Delivery contractor has been informed of where the roof trusses are to be stacked.
  • The structural capacity of the building structure, as it will exist at time of delivery, has been reviewed.
  • Frame and load points have been inspected by a competent person and support the intended load.
  • Direction has been provided for the designated landing areas.
  • Direction has been provided for any temporary supports needed and maximum loadings allowed.
  • Appropriate fall protection controls have been considered and implemented where truss delivery involves working at height. For example, where appropriate ladders are used to unsling the load.
  • Traffic management arrangements have been made where required.
  • Arrangements are in place for installation of work platforms or other fall protection requirements.
  • Arrangements are in place for safe use of ladders and other equipment.
  • Arrangements are in place for safe handling of trusses, bracing and other material and equipment.
  • The site and its surrounds are accessible and clear of mud, building material and building rubble, so far as reasonably practicable.

Use of a crane

  • Traffic management has been discussed with the delivery contractor and appropriate arrangements are in place.
  • A designated standing area for the crane delivery vehicle has been arranged and meets loading conditions specified by the delivery contractor.
  • The crane delivery contractor has informed the delivery crew about the correct placement of loads within the site.
  • The crane delivery contractor has informed the delivery crew about any loading limitations that might affect the placement of loads onto the structure.

Development of site specific erection methods

  • A SWMS for the specific roof truss erection process has been developed.

Safe work method statement (SWMS)

A SWMS ensures that the HRCW is documented. It should include specific factors such as:

  • available site access and storage
  • truss size and design
  • type of fall protection to be used for persons working near the external perimeter of the building
  • fall protection to any stair voids
  • type and suitability of any internal platforms to be used
  • type and suitability of any ladders to be used
  • the way in which trusses are to be manoeuvred at ground level and at top plate level
  • additional equipment needed to install trusses
  • the manner in which truss bracing and spacers are to be installed to minimise fall risks
  • weather conditions that might impact work
  • safe use of power tools including electrical safety

Note: Many employers involved in truss erection will have a basic or generic truss erection SWMS that forms the basis of their work procedure for most sites. However, it is likely that some of the assumptions will vary, including site conditions and truss designs. Employers must ensure that a generic SWMS is reviewed and adjusted as necessary for each specific site. See Related information for more on SWMS.

Formation and preparation of erection crew

  • The size, experience and competence of the erection crew is sufficient.
  • Experienced employees are available to provide adequate guidance and supervision to less experienced employees.
  • The erection crew has been appropriately trained for the specific site.
  • The erection crew understands the specific SWMS.
  • The erection crew has been appropriately trained and instructed on roof truss inspection to identify any obvious defects before erection or reliance on other components of the truss for support.
  • The availability of the erection crew to lift and manoeuvre trusses in to place has been considered.
  • The erection crew has been provided with clothing and footwear that is in good condition and suitable for the task.
  • Appropriate supervision has been arranged to ensure adherence to the SWMS.

Factors that may impact handling and the number of persons required

An assessment of the following factors should be done to determine how roof trusses are to be handled and the number of persons needed at each stage of the process.

Factors to consider include:

  • size of trusses
  • restrictions on handling imposed by site or house design
  • cranage availability

Related information