Occupational Safety & Health Administration

Standard Interpretations
11/17/2004 - Duty of a subcontractor to cover floor holes in a Multi-Employer work site.
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Question (2):
Does the "Hole in One Cover" manufactured by Paragon Products meet the criteria requirements for covers for holes in floors?

OSHA is generally precluded from approving or endorsing specific products. The variable working conditions at job sites and possible alteration or misapplication of an otherwise safe piece of equipment could easily create a hazardous condition beyond the control of the equipment manufacturer. However, where appropriate, OSHA tries to give employers some guidance to help them assess whether products are appropriate to use in light of OSHA requirements.

Strength requirement:
Floor hole covers must meet the applicable parts of §1926.502(i). Section 1926.502(i)(2) states:

[C]overs shall be capable of supporting without failure, at least twice the weight of employees, equipment, and materials that may be imposed on the cover at any one time.

The engineering report provided with your letter states that the test unit used in that report has a failure pressure of 1,300 pounds when the cover is mounted over a 12-inch cylindrical opening and a failure pressure of 2,900 pounds when mounted over a 6-inch cylindrical opening. If the cover were to be used over a 12-inch cylindrical opening, the total weight that would potentially be imposed on the cover must be 650 pounds or less to fall within this requirement. If the cover were used over a 6-inch cylindrical opening, the total weight must be 1,450 pounds or less. Given these results, it seems likely that the cover would fulfill the strength requirements in §1926.502(i)(2) in most situations.

Securing requirement
Section 1926.502(i)(3) states that:

All covers shall be secured when installed so as to prevent accidental displacement by the wind, equipment, or employees.