Anyone who works in a construction environment on a regular basis has found themselves working in hazardous areas before. Perhaps one of the most dangerous things one can encounter in the workplace is an opening in the floor. Floor openings are extremely common in construction environments, and can end up costing you your life if you aren’t careful. Anyone who works around the hazards of floor openings on a regular basis must be sure to take extreme care and caution each day they are on the job.
Working around floor openings is no laughing matter, as there are many deaths and injuries each year that revolve specifically around floor openings. Since openings in the floor are not always properly sealed during a construction project and lighting can often be poor, it is no wonder why working around open holes in the floor can be so dangerous. On top of the danger of falling through the hole from a high elevation, the danger of dropping something through the hole also exists, as there might be workers on the floor below.
A floor opening is defined by OSHA as being 12 inches in diameter and posing a significant risk for someone to fall through. Although some people feel that these floor openings can simply be covered, it can add extra protection if the openings are boxed in by rails. Rails will make the hole more evident to passers by, which will limit the chance of careless mistakes.
One of the best ways to be sure that you are safe on the job is to make sure that you and everyone else at the work site is fully aware of any floor openings that might be present. This often involves taking a survey of the site at the beginning of the job and marking any and all floor openings with highly visible markers such as bright colored flags. If the openings are marked, they will be much easier for people to identify and use caution around.
Always be sure that if you are working near or around floor openings that you are extremely careful. Never lean over an opening for any unnecessary reasons, and be sure that you have someone nearby in case something goes wrong. As long as care is taken when working around floor openings, work can continue safely. Be sure to read up on OSHA regulation 1910.23 for more information.