Tag Archives: fall safety

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unprotected openings in floors or roofs

Unprotected Openings – Cover All Floor and Roof Holes

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Unprotected Openings — A Preventable Hazard.

Workers face many safety hazards on the job.  One of those hazards is falling through dangerous unprotected openings on roofs or floors.  In this incident, a large, unprotected opening was found on the property of an industrial company.  The company was located across the street from several apartment buildings where small children often played outdoors.  To make the unprotected opening hazard even more dangerous, the hole had several inches of water in the bottom.  The opening, which was left uncovered for days, should have been covered immediately and secured until work could resume on the project.

unprotected openings are a preventable hazard


OSHA requires that every unprotected opening into which a worker can accidentally fall into be guarded (using a railing and toe-board or a floor hole cover).  Cover or guard floor holes as soon as they are created during construction.  When the cover is not in place, the floor hole shall be constantly attended by someone or shall be protected by a removable standard railing.

—  Construct all floor hole covers so they will effectively support two times the weight of employees, equipment, and materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one time.
—  Secure coverings for floor and roof openings to prevent accidental removal or displacement.
—  The provision of administrative controls, such as providing an attendant, should not be used in lieu of proper engineering controls such as railings, covers or other protective methods.  Attendance at a floor opening is only intended to provide an oral warning by the attendant to stay a safe distance (preferably) from the opening until a barrier or cover had been placed in position to adequately secure the opening from fall through hazards.
—  Covers shall be secured in place to prevent accidental removal or displacement, and shall bear signage stating: “Dangerous Opening—Do Not Remove.”
—  If you come across a floor or roof with an unprotected opening, alert your supervisor so the opening can be safely protected as soon as possible.

Protecting workers and pedestrians from falling into unprotected openings is a totally preventable hazard.

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Slips, trips and falls safety

Tennis Player Slips and Falls in Locker-Room

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Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 9 million visits to hospital emergency rooms every year (National Safety Council Injury Facts).

In 2015, professional Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard sued the United States Tennis Association after falling on a ‘slippery, foreign and dangerous substance’. The 21-year-old sustained a concussion after slipping and falling backwards injuring her head and elbow in a dark physiotherapy room at the 2015 US Open and is claiming negligence. The lawsuit was filed because of her fall in the locker-room at Flushing Meadows, New York on September 4, when she sustained a severe head injury that continues to hinder her ability to play tennis. Ms. Bouchard says that the cause of her fall – that occurred around midnight after she had completed a mixed-doubles match and then met with the media—was a “slippery, foreign and dangerous substance” that had been left on the floor of the locker-room. The substance involved was not specified in the court papers. The substance was used to clean the floors but was not supposed to be present while players were still using the facilities. Ms. Bouchard was forced to pull out of the U.S. Open and continued to struggle during the 2015 season with dizziness and light sensitivity. Her lawyer believes the lawsuit could be worth millions of dollars because the incident has affected her ability to compete as well as her world ranking.

What Should Have Been Done Differently?
In this case, the locker-room attendant should have verified that all players were done using the locker-room at the end of the day’s matches before beginning to clean the floor. And, the attendant should not have turned the lights off in the locker-room until they were certain no other people would be entering.


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Safety Topics Covered

Ladder Safety - LOTO - Confined Space - Trench Safety - Crane Safety - Fall Protection - PPE - Fuel Tank Safety - Eye Safety - Work Zone Safety - Chemical Safety - Forklift Safety - Electrical Safety - Pinch Points - Ergonomics - Material Handling - Tool Safety - Health & First Aid - Machine Guarding - Lifting & Back Health - Transport Safety - Hearing Protection - Respiratory Safety - Workplace Violence - Fire Safety - Chocking & Blocking - Walk/Working Surfaces - Hazard Communications - Bloodborne Pathogens - Flammable Liquids - Propylene Cylinders - Loading Dock Safety - Emergency Evacuation - Driving/Spotter Safety - Scaffolding Safety - Fatigue - Underground Utilities - Drum Labeling - Welding Safety - Hand Protection - Heat Stress - and more...