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Construction Safety in Relation to Holes in Roofs or Floors

November 13, 2019 BY Neil Brunetz


Do you know how to properly cover a hole?  Do you know when to cover a hole?  Did you know OSHA defines a hole as a gap or void 2 or more inches in its dimension in a floor, roof or other walking/working surface?

I have run into this issue more often than I thought I ever would and usually on a multi-employer worksite.  One trade creates a hole in the roof or floor and then doesn’t cover the hole properly and doesn’t alert other trades on site of the hole.  Or even worse, the hole is covered by something that is insufficient to support 2 times the weight of whatever may end up on top of the cover even accidentally.  Covers must also be secured to prevent wind or other elements to move them unexpectedly.  Lastly holes need to be marked.  Marking is necessary to alert everyone that encounters the cover to understand the cover is there to protect against a hazard.  Large, clear legible markings of hole of cover can be used.

Covers are necessary not only to prevent someone from falling, but also to prevent someone underneath the hole from being struck by tools, equipment or people who could fall through the hole.  Everyone on the jobsite should be aware of and actively making sure holes and covers are in place and compliant at all times.

If you need further information here is a link to a standard interpretation letter that is a few years old, but still important.


Mr. Brunetz has experience working as an outside general counsel for a technology company assisting the company in negotiating and finalizing NDAs, SaaS agreements and technology development agreements as well as many other aspects of the company’s business. His legal experience also includes  courtroom representation of clients in civil litigation matters, including personal injury, wrongful death, workers' compensation, construction, contract, commercial disputes, and malpractice actions.

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