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Holes and openings are made in roofs and floor of buildings, both when they are built and when they are torn down. Workers can be injured or killed if they fall through the holes.

Here is an Example

John was in the process of removing a damaged plywood sheet when Philip, another worker, requested some supplies. Before John left to get them, he set down the damaged plywood, and it happened to cover a hole. Later, Philip came along and picked up the plywood sheet to take it to a disposal chute and stepped into the uncovered hole. He fell to the concrete floor, about 25 feet below, and suffered severe injuries to his legs and back.

What you need to know about safety:

  1. Have you recently worked around a hole in a roof or floor?
  2. Was the opening covered or protected with guardrails?
  3. Have you known anyone who was injured falling through a hole or opening? If so, what happened?

Preventing Falls Through Holes and Openings

  • Guard or cover all holes you have created or uncovered before you leave the work area. Other workers might not notice an uncovered hole and could fall through.
  • Label all covers with the word “HOLE” or “COVER” to provide warning of the hazard.
  • Keep an eye out for your co-workers and if a hole is uncovered take action to cover it, EVEN IF YOU DID NOT UNCOVER IT.
  • Make sure covers can support at least two times the weight of workers, equipment, and materials that may cross over them. (OSHA regulations require that covers be of standard strength and construction).
  • Secure covers so they do not move.