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Weekly Toolbox Talk: Floor Openings


Safely covering a floor opening with a piece of plywood requires more than just laying down the material over the hole, or even nailing it down. Total on the job safety requires a total job of eliminating hazards. A half or incomplete job of covering risks associated with floor openings can result in accidents.

A recent accident illustrates this: 

A carpenter asked a laborer to hand him a piece of plywood. The laborer approached a piece of plywood that was on the floor, lifted it, took a step or two forward while he was lifting the wood, and fell into a hole in the floor. Why did this happen?

Although originally nailed down with 8D concrete nails, a small piece of plywood over a hole wasn’t large enough to overlay it adequately. Traffic over it loosened the nails and sprung the plywood. The plywood over the hole was not marked in any way. There was no warning of any kind on it. The man mistook it for a piece of loose material on the floor.

The laborer was not told about it. He was not aware of the fact that the covering of floor openings was a job procedure calculated to prevent accidents. Nor was he told that he must maintain and report such danger spots.

Anything less than total safety is no safety at all. The total safety attitude must be kept in mind when floor openings are being covered.

  • Make sure holes are covered securely, with a cover big enough and rigid enough to prevent failure.

  • Pay attention to danger warnings about floor openings. Listen when you are told about them.

  • Never move a floor opening cover without permission.


Toolbox Talk