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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Fall Protection Around Openings and Holes

Fall protection is critical near ledges, manholes, catwalks, windows and other openings and holes. Falls are one of the leading causes of death and injury in the workplace, and here we give tips on how to avoid them.

Good fall protection around openings and holes can come from removable and permanent railings, toe boards, floor hole covers and floor marking tape.

Fall arrest systems may be required, depending on worker height. PPE such as a safety harness and line, or safety nets could be the only options in some situations.

Listen here as we discuss fall protection.


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Dan Clark: Trip and fall accidents don’t just happen on scaffolding. Watch out for the holes in floors and walls too.

Fall_Protection_Around_Openings_and_Holes-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x250Hello I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

Fall protection could save you from falling into a vat of acid, a conveyor belt, a concrete floor or the cold hard ground. Be careful out there. There are so many types of fall hazards in the workplace:


  • LADDER OPENINGS. These are common at worksites with only one way on or off a platform: You have to climb up or down a ladder.
  • MANHOLES. People fall into them all the time and don’t get hurt. IN CARTOONS. Not so in real life.
  • LEDGES. You see these hazards at loading docks and other shipping areas.
  • CATWALKS / ELEVATED RUNWAYS. They’re needed for access to pipes, electrical or servicing equipment. But, is the grating well-maintained? Watch out for holes.


  • STAIRWAYS. They can cause tripping hazards if workers carry something bulky.

SKYLIGHTS. Roof construction workers beware! If the skylight isn’t installed yet, it’s just a hole.
  • WINDOWS. Don’t fall through a window. Window holes are a danger, but with enough force, even glass won’t keep you from falling through.

Let’s take a look at fall protection strategies around openings and holes.

  • REMOVABLE RAILINGS. These can be set up on ledges and then taken away when needed for vehicles or equipment.
  • PERMANENT RAILINGS. This is a great solution for ladder openings, manholes and many other types of hazards.
  • TOE BOARDS. Set these up along edges. They keep wheeled carts and other equipment from rolling off, and workers can know the edge location just with their feet.
  • FLOOR HOLE COVERS. Make sure that it’s thick enough to withstand weight.


  • FLOOR MARKINGS. Tape can be used around fall hazards. Bright colors or hazard tape will catch everybody’s attention, and it can be used in conjunction with railings and other barriers.

That’s a look at openings and holes. Other means of fall protection may be required for other jobs. You may need fall arrest systems such as safety harness and line, or safety nets to comply with OSHA rules.

That’s a wrap on this episode, Fall Protection Around Openings And Holes. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at


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