OSHA Insights – Guarding Floor and Wall Openings

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration  has very specific guidelines for manufacturing and other businesses to maintain safety in the workplace. Reviewing this information is important for businesses in central California to be able to comply and keep their employees safe and happy on the job. Do you understand the regulations surrounding floor and wall openings?

5 OSHA Regulations to Remember

  • Stair and ladder floor openings.
    Staircases need railings installed on all openings on the floor with the exception of the entrance. It is recommended for stairs that are not used frequently to have a hinged door protecting the entrance from accidental falls. A ladder opening needs to be guarded by a railing and toeboard on all sides except the access. A swinging gate can help prevent accidents in regards to these floor spaces.
  • Chutes and hatches.
    A hinged door opening which complies with OSHA standards is required to prevent accidents surrounding chutes and hatches. Removable railings should also be kept in place whenever these access points are not in use. Employees responsible for accessing these areas as part of their jobs are required to wear the proper safety gear to prevent accidents.
  • Manholes.
    A manhole is required to have the proper cover when not being used. If access is required, the proper safety protocol should be followed and removable railings should be in place. When a manhole is open, it should also be attended by a trained worker or kept inaccessible by safety railings.
  • Wall openings such as windows.
    Any wall opening that can be a potential hazard on the job should be protected by a standard railing, slats, or grill. These standard coverings protecting the wall opening should be able to handle 200 pounds of pressure coming from any direction except upward.
  • Screens and handles.
    Wall and floor opening screens should also be able handle 200 pounds of pressure if applied horizontally. Grab handles for doors, windows, and other wall openings need to be no less than 12 inches in length and have 3 inch clearings on all sides. The handles need to be mounted, anchored, and made with material s that can also withstand large loads of pressure.

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