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OSHA Information

U.S. Department of Labor

Occupational Safety & Health Administration

Guarding floor and wall openings and holes. – 1910.23

Subpart Title: Walking-Working Surfaces

Standard Number: 1910.23

“Protection for floor openings.”

  • 1910.23 (e)(7)(iii)

The construction of floor opening covers may be of any material that meets the strength requirements. Covers projecting not more than one (1) inch above the floor level may be used providing all edges are chamfered to an angle with the horizontal of not over 30 degrees. All hinges, handles, bolts, or other parts shall set flush with the floor or cover surface.

  • 1910.23 (a)(8)

Every floor hole into which persons can accidentally walk shall be guarded by either:

  • 1910.23 (a)(8)(i)

A standard railing with standard toe board on all exposed sides, or

  • 1910.23 (a)(8)(ii)

A floor cover of standard strength and construction (refer to: 1926.502(i))

  • 1910.23 (a)(9)

Every floor hole into which persons cannot accidentally walk (on account of fixed machinery, equipment, or walls) shall be protected by a cover that leaves no openings more than one (1) inch wide. The cover shall be securely held in place to prevent tools or materials from falling through.

  • 1926.502(i)(2) States: Covers shall be capable of supporting without failure, at least twice the weight of employees and materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one time.
  • 1926.502(i)(3) States: All covers shall be secured when installed so as to prevent accidental displacement by the wind, equipment, or employees.
  • 1926.502(i)(4) States: All covers shall be color-coded or they shall be marked with the work “HOLE” or “COVER” to provide warning of a hazard.