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OSHA Regulations on Covering Holes
Holes in the walking/working surface can be a nuisance but also a lifesaver. When covered, they prevent twisted ankles, wrenched knees, broken legs and even death. OHSA regulations say that any opening in the walking/working surface that is 2” or greater in its least dimension is a hole. The regulations don’t address a minimum depth, so that is up to the OSHA Enforcement Officer’s judgement.

There are more ways to get injured by a hole than by just stepping into it. For example, if a wheel or leg of anything that elevates the worker slides, falls, or is placed over a hole, that could cause an unbalanced working platform and someone could be injured by falling from the elevated work surface.

OSHA requires holes to be covered or guarded.

  • When located in a roadway and vehicular aisles, must be capable of supporting, without failure, at least twice the maximum axle load of the largest vehicle expected to cross over the cover.
  • All other covers shall be capable of supporting, without failure, at least twice the weight of employees, equipment, and materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one time.
  • Covers must be secured when installed so as to prevent accidental displacement by the wind, equipment or employees.
  • All covers shall be color coded or they shall be marked with the word “hole” or “cover” to provide warning of the hazard.

A guardrail must be installed as any other guardrail that would be constructed for fall protection:

  • A toprail installed at 42” + or – 3” that can withstand a 200 pound outward force
  • A midrail half way between the toprail and the working surface that can withstand a 150 pound force
  • A toeboard, when there are workers below that stands at least 3.5” tall and withstands a 50 pound force 
Good example:
Bad example:
OSHA Says:
The 47th Annual Iowa Governor’s Safety and Health Conference will be held on November 1st and 2nd. It will have seminars and exhibitors to further educate anyone who is interested in making sure workers are not injured on the job. It is held in Altoona at the Prairie Meadows Hotel Convention Center. Click here for more information.

The Hawkeye on Safety 2018 Annual Conference will be held on October 11th, at the Coralville Marriott Hotel. It’s designed for safety professionals as well as anyone who wants to be a safety leader in their workplace or community. Click here for more information.

Brandon Black - (515) 577-5198 or  Brandon@IowaCSSI.com  
Tom Suckow - (515) 250-0773 or  Tom@IowaCSSI.com

New WORKSAFE Projects:
PROJECT:  Country Meadow Place
CONTRACTOR:  Dean Snyder Construction - Clear Lake, IA

PROJECT:  PRHC South Entry, Wound Care, Infusion
CONTRACTOR :  Graham Construction Co. - Des Moines, IA

BRONZE PROJECT:  Monroe County Hospital & Clinics
CONTRACTOR:  Graham Construction Co. - Des Moines, IA
PROJECT:  Former Bowling and Beyond
CONTRACTOR:  Advanced Environmental - Waterloo, IA

PROJECT:  Mercy West Grand
CONTRACTOR:  Downing Construction Inc. - Indianola, IA
BRONZE PROJECT:   World Class Industries
CONTRACTOR:  Graham Construction Co. - Cedar Rapids, IA

PROJECT:  Fifth Parking Garage
CONTRACTOR:  The Weitz Company - Des Moines, IA

PROJECT:   Aventura at Greenway
CONTRACTOR:  Hubbell Construction Services LLC - West Des Moines, IA
WORKSAFE is a partnership between Master Builders of Iowa and Iowa OSHA, with safety services provided by Construction Safety Specialists, Inc. For more information on the WORKSAFE program or for safety inquiries, please contact Tom Suckow at 515-657-4384 or  Tom@IowaCSSI.com

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