A DANGEROUS REALITY
Openings in floors and roofs are often found on construction, demolition, and renovation sites. Unguarded or unmarked holes can quickly lead to injury. Employees may not see the opening and/or fall right through to hard ground or dangerous machinery below.
By looking out for your fellow employees and taking the time to cover and label holes you have created, uncovered, or found, we can reduce the number of injuries that may occur from unmarked holes in the floor.
STEPS TO TAKE
- If a hole is uncovered, cover it quickly, even if you did not create it.
- Label the cover with the word “Hole”. This will help grab a fellow employee’s attention, hopefully preventing injury.
DEFINITION AND TERMINOLOGY
- A hole is defined as a gap or void of two inches or more in its least dimension in a floor, roof, or other surface.
- When conduits, trenches, and manhole covers are in roadways and vehicular aisles, they must be able to support a truck rear axle load of at least two times the maximum load.
- Hole covers must be able to support at least twice the weight of a human, their equipment and/or materials.
- All covers must be secured to withstand accidental displacement by wind, employees, and/or their equipment.
- Clearly label temporary covers as “hole” or “cover” to catch fellow employee’s attention and provide warning of the hazard.
OSHA categorizes floor holes into two main groups:
- 6 feet deep or more. Holes that employees can fall into that require protection by fall arrest systems, guardrails, or covers.
- Less than 6 feet deep (no minimum depth specified). Shallow holes require labeled barriers to be placed around or over them to protect employees from tripping or stepping into them.
- Skylights also must have fall arrest systems, guardrails, or covers to prevent employees from galling through.
- Avoid working near skylights if fall protection is not in place.
All About Floor Holes: OSHA’s Fall Protection Standards. weeklysafety.com/blog/construction-floor-holes.