Walking/Working Surfaces

7 Steps to Comply with Guarding Wall Holes and Openings Standards

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: March 12th, 2013
Topics: Fall Protection | Slips, Trips and Falls |

guarding wall openings The OSHA Walking Working Surfaces Standard sets out the things employers must do to protect workers from fall hazards in general industry settings. One part of “Walking, Working” that leads to the most citations is the standard covering floor and wall openings and holes (Section 1910.23). Here are the 7 things you must check to make sure you comply with wall openings and holes requirements.

Make Sure

1. You provide adequate fall protection to any worker at risk of falling 4.0 feet (1.2 m) to a lower level.

2. Every wall opening from which there’s a drop of more than 4 feet is guarded by either one of the below methods:

  • Option 1: Rail, roller, picket fence, half door or an equivalent barrier.
  • There must also be a removable toeboard or equivalent where there’s exposure below to falling materials; and
  •  When the opening isn’t in use for materials handling, the guard must be kept in a position regardless of a door on the opening, and a grab handle of standard strength and mounting must be provided on each side of the opening with its center approximately 4 feet above the floor level.

OR

  • Option 2:  An extension platform onto which materials can be hoisted for handling and which has side rails or equivalent guards of standard specifications.

3. Every chute opening from which there’s a drop of more than 4 feet is guarded by either one of the below methods:

  • Option 1: Rail, roller, picket fence, half door or an equivalent barrier.
  • There must also be a removable toeboard or equivalent where there’s exposure below to falling materials; and
  •  When the opening isn’t in use for materials handling, the guard must be kept in a position regardless of a door on the opening, and a grab handle of standard strength and mounting must be provided on each side of the opening with its center approximately 4 feet above the floor level.

OR

  • Option 2:  An extension platform onto which materials can be hoisted for handling and which has side rails or equivalent guards of standard specifications.

4. Every window wall opening at a stairway landing, floor platform or balcony where there’s a drop of more than 4 feet, and where the bottom of the opening is less than 3 feet above the platform or landing is guarded by standard slats, standard grill work or standard railing.

5. A standard toeboard is provided where the window opening is below the landing or platform.

6. Every temporary wall opening has adequate guards (although such guards need not be of standard construction).

7. Where there’s a risk of materials falling through a wall hole, and the lower edge of near side of the hole is less than 4 inches above the floor, and the far side of the hole is more than 5 feet above the next lower level, the hole is protected by either:

  • A standard toeboard of solid construction; or
  • An enclosing screen of solid construction.

For More Help

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