Ever since I started with FTMA Australia there has been debate over the regulations regarding delivery to top plate and even though traditionally it was only a Victorian issue, it has become an issue in a few other states.

On Friday 12th July FTMA Australia hosted a meeting with Brian Chamberlin, Worksafe Construction Industry Education Officer & Inspector to discuss this issue plus walking on top plate, fall protection and providing fall protection for 2nd storey windows.

Joining myself and Brian was Jake McArthur (Glencoe Group & Carpentry Australia), George Prothero (Alpine Truss), Jamie Dahlsen and Andrew Kidd (Dahlsens Building Centres) and for a few hours we covered the subjects and cleared up some misconceptions.

First it is important to ensure all Victorian fabricators are aware of the Prevention of Falls in Housing Constructions Compliance Code – October 2018.  We encourage you all to download this important document.

Delivery to Top Plate is a big issue for the frame and truss sector, due to non-compliance by some fabricators and those trying to delivery in accordance with regulations are being unfairly impacted as builders expect delivery to top plate regardless of the regulations.

In 2014 we were told in no uncertain terms that delivery to top plate was a two person job and that Trusses delivered to the top plate using a method that includes: placement of the load to the correct position as determined by a competent person, nominally a structural engineer or a competent builder with appropriate experience.

Unfortunately, this is not happening and way too often the builder or contractors are not present during delivery and unsafe practices of delivering to top plate are occurring due to pressure of the builder.  FTMA believes that fabricators should insist on the builder being present otherwise they delivery to ground only or if there is nowhere safe to deliver on the ground, return the load to the plant, charging the builder a second delivery fee.

FTMA Australia has updated their Site Hazard Identification & Control Checklist which we encourage all fabricators to download and incorporate into their SWMS when delivering to top plate. 

Other key factors to consider when delivering to site are issues surrounding Powerlines, Underground Services & Trenches, Working at Height, Terrain, Environment or Site conditions.  This is a three page document which provides all the legislative and regulations that you are required to meet, however, if builders refuse to sign the whole document, at the very least, fabricators should ensure Page 3 – Authority to Unload is completed by the builder representative.

FTMA Australia, thanks Brian Chamberlin for his honesty and thorough explanations on the issues we discussed, and we look forward to continuing to work with him to ensure these regulations are understood by the whole supply chain.  It’s refreshing to sit down with a Worksafe representative who is passionate about working with all stakeholders and implementing educational awareness.

Everyone deserves to go home at the end of a day’s work, and one slip up can result in permanent disability or death and no one wants that’s.  Our Site Hazard Identification & Control Checklist is our sectors best industry practice, but it is only worthwhile if fabricators stand their ground and enforce the best practice on to their builders.

If builders truly care about the safety of all workers onsite, then this should not be an issue.

For further information on this issue or if you have other Worksafe issues you would like raised in future meetings, please give me a call on 0418 226 242.  Safety is an issue for everyone in the supply chain.

Kersten Gentle