Safety Blog

Safe Work Practices Open Holes

14 Jun 2020 - Flaaim

1. Purpose

Open holes are dangerous and could cause injury to a worker.

2. Definitions

Examples of open holes would include: hydro-vacuumed holes, rat or mouse holes (drilling operations), scaffold decking missing, portions of floor temporarily removed from walkways, stairs, and/or buildings, roof holes, bell holes, etc.

3. Hazards

  1. Falling into or through
  2. Tripping at level or into
  3. Inadequate lighting
  4. Congested work area
  5. Driving or backing into
  6. Public or visitors to site

4. Prerequisites

None

5. Precautions

  1. Determine whether or not the hole is considered a risk based on this list or other risks not identified above.
  2. Open holes shall require a guardrail and toe boards if there is potential of work being completed below the level of the opening.
  3. If the decision is to use a cover, it must be a securely installed temporary covering that will withstand the loading effect from the combined maximum weight of the most probable assemblage of workers, equipment and materials. All whole covers must be secured and marked “OPEN HOLE.”
  4. Erect appropriate caution/danger signs and/or snow fence.
  5. Flashing lights or traffic signage, as required.
  6. If a person removes a cover, guardrail or toe board, or part of them, protecting an opening or hole for any reason, you must ensure a temporary cover or other means of protection replaces it immediately.
  7. If a temporary cover is used to protect an opening or hole, you must ensure a warning sign or marking, clearly indicating the nature of the hazard:
    • Is posted near or fixed on the cover, and
    • Is not removed unless another effective means of protection is immediately provided.
  8. Open holes should be identified in any permits.
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