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FLOOR OPENINGS

You probably know or have heard that falls cause more injuries in the construction industry than any other type of acci­dent. In fact, about 40% of the serious injuries in the building trades are due to falls from one level to another.

Good protection of floor openings is one way of preventing these falls. This protection is a responsibility of management, but it is also a responsibility of the trades. If you have to remove guardrails or covers to work or hoist in a shaft, put the protection back when you are done.

In one recent accident, two laborers were cleaning up a floor area. They piled scrap lumber on a sheet of plywood and then picked up the sheet to carry the material away. Unfortunately, the plywood had been cover­ing a floor opening and the rear man walked into a 25 foot fall. When you cover a floor opening, secure and mark the cover so that it won't be moved by accident.

If you remove a section of a steel grating floor, rope off the area. These openings are particularly hard to see when the floor below is also steel grating.

 Safely covering an opening with a piece of plywood requires more than laying the material over the hole.

1. The hole should be covered securely with a cover large enough and rigid enough to prevent failure.

2. It should be marked with a danger warning.

3. Every employee on the job should be warned about the hazard.

4. Never leave an opening uncovered or unprotected. If covering a hole is impractical, guardrails shall be installed with toe boards.

Ladder way floor openings or platforms should be guarded by standard railings and toe boards on all expos­ed sides, except at entrances to openings. The entrance should also be protected so that a person cannot walk directly into the opening.

 

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