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.

Date last updated

Sunday 28 Jun 2020

Industries and topics
  • Construction
  • Building and structure design
  • Fall prevention
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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

Preparing the site for truss delivery

Use of a crane

Development of site specific erection methods

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

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