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Timber structures Roofs

Results from a National House Building Council survey found that 17% of 8,000 sites where new homes are being built were already using spandrel panels. This confirms the commitment many housebuilders are making to off-site construction.

Safety first approach Once trussed rafter designs are confirmed, the manufacturing process begins – and so does the issue of health and safety. As is the case for all timber product manufacturers, the machinery used to produce these products can put workers at risk of injury. It’s something the TRA and its members are never complacent about. To manage this risk, the TRA works closely with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Most recently, this has involved reviewing the trussed rafters section of the ‘Health and safety in roof work’ guidance produced by the HSE. In addition, the TRA has published several guidance documents ( for its members, including risk assessments and safety guides for all equipment used in manufacturing trussed rafters, spandrel panels and metal web joists. During the manufacturing process, the dangers facing workers can include: • the loss of fingers or limbs • damage to hearing and eyesight • slip and trip hazards • falling from height or products falling on workers • the presence of wood dust. These hazards are undeniable. But in a well-managed environment where workers are properly trained and guidelines are followed precisely, the risk of injury is minimised.

A forklift should be used to load the trusses on to the lorry. Photo: Pasquill

Haulage policy Loading and unloading trussed rafters presents a significant risk to workers, too. The TRA and HSE joined forces to create a health and safety policy for the loading, haulage, delivery and on-site installation of trussed rafters. Safe haulage begins with the truss fabricator, who is responsible for loading the trusses on to its own vehicles or those of a competent and trained haulier. Before loading, the truss fabricator must make the contractor aware of the size and weight of the load, which should adhere to company policy. Banding is discussed with the driver at this time, to make sure they fully understand the different band colours used to hold together the packs of trusses and those used to secure the packs to the vehicle. This ensures that only the bands being used to secure the packs to the vehicle are cut when the trusses are offloaded. A lift planner should be consulted for any extra requirements or specific load details before the trusses are sent out. All TRA members have designated loading areas within their yards, providing ample space with no overhead cables and clear separation from pedestrian walkways. Members also ensure all those involved in loading have been appropriately trained.

Health and safety notices are essential to maintaining a well-managed working environment. Photo: Pasquill

The trailer used for loading must be suitable for the weight, windage and stability of the trusses so they are safe in transit. The trusses should be loaded against the centre bar to enable even distribution and tight packing. The load should be supported by the forklift or side loader while strapping is secured. This is a critical point in the loading process and loaders should only access the lorry bed if they are completely aware of the company policy in place to protect their safety. >> Timber 2019 Industry Yearbook

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Profile for BM TRADA

Timber 2019 Industry Yearbook  

The annual publication of the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) includes topical and technical features on all aspects of...

Timber 2019 Industry Yearbook  

The annual publication of the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) includes topical and technical features on all aspects of...

Profile for trada