This GBCA Safety Toolbox Talk discusses floor opening covers and fall prevention. Click below to download the Toolbox Talk as a handout (includes Sign-In Sheet).



Floor Opening Covers and Fall Prevention

Falls cause more injuries in the construction industry than any other type of accident. About 40% of serious injuries in the building trades are due to falls from one level to another.

Falling through holes in the floor is a major contributor to this statistic. OSHA permits the use of covers to protect employees on walking/working surfaces from falling through the holes. All covers must follow the specified criteria as follows.

Floor Covers Must:

  • 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.
  • Be secured when installed to prevent accidental displacement by wind, equipment, or employees.
  • Be color-coded or marked with “HOLE” or “COVER” to provide warning of the hazard.

Things to Remember When Using Floor Covers:

  • All parties in the vicinity must be aware of the presence of all holes and covers.
  • If there are no guardrails erected around such holes or skylights, covers must meet OSHA’s requirements (see above).
  • Holes must be covered at all times, unless being worked on. A hole or skylight that only may be open for a brief period of time is not an excuse for not using a cover.

If you encounter a hole in your work area, secure the area safely (if possible and without putting yourself in jeopardy) and notify your supervisor. Make sure that it is corrected.


Remember to record the attendees of your toolbox talk!