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Injuries such as cuts, slashes and lacerations often involve contact with sharp edges from installed tie brackets. Multi-grip and universal brackets and similar types of ties often leave exposed sharp edges once installed and have caused serious injuries – see Figure 1 below.
Universal bracket leaving sharp edges
Similar injuries can occur with other metal components that have sharp edges. These include metal roofing brace, steel strap and metal fascia and gutter components. However, this article focuses on the safety issue posed by the above tie brackets and how they are installed.
Under workplace health and safety laws, A Person Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBUs,) including builders, contractors and employers have obligations to provide a safe workplace for their workers. This includes an obligation to eliminate risks to health and safety. If elimination is not reasonably practicable, risks must be reduced so far as is reasonably practicable.
The first step is to try to eliminate the risk of injury. For example, by using tie methods that do not involve the use of metal tie brackets such as proprietary truss screws.
If elimination is not reasonably practicable, can a safer metal bracket tie system be used? For example, using angle brackets instead of multi-grip and universal brackets in configurations that do not leave protruding edges once installed.
If multi-grip and universal brackets are used, can other methods be used that avoid exposing workers to the sharp edges? For example, by blocking between the truss or rafter spacing.
The following additional safe work practices will also assist to reduce risks of injury:
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