Demystifying OSHA Pit Safety Regulations
June 12, 2019
OSHA standards and regulations are complicated. And dry. Especially when you’re talking about pit covers.
So, rather than filing through those dense catacombs of legalese and trying to demystify the nuances of regulations like 1910.21(a)(2) - which is the article that defines “floor opening” to mean an opening that measures 12 inches or more in its least dimension, in any floor, platform, pavement, or yard through which persons may fall… yeah, it’s dense - let’s simplify why you want a pit safety cover.
Just to keep this based on OSHA’s standards, let’s talk in terms of the OSHA General Industry Code 1910, which is based on the concept of preventative measures to ensure a safe working environment “free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm.”
Why Do You Need a Pit Safety Cover?
The first and easiest answer is right in the name - safety. We’re literally talking about a hole in the floor, so having a pit cover feels like common sense. You want to prevent workers and equipment from falling into a pit and causing injury, damage, or death.
But, you may want to access a pit area while still providing a safe environment. This is where walk-on safety pit covers come in handy. With stainless steel or aluminum extrusions as a walking surface and a roll-up design, pit safety covers can be OSHA compliant without sacrificing the value of having an accessible pit.
This leads to the second reason you need a pit safety cover. OSHA compliance.
Waiting for an OSHA inspection to occur can be an expensive gamble. What’s more, if you aren’t following OSHA standards and a worker is injured or dies, things can become even more expensive at an exponential rate.
If you want your employees to trust you, provide a working environment where they can trust that they aren’t going to fall into a random hole in the floor.
At the end of the day, that’s what OSHA directive 1910.22 is all about.
How to Follow OSHA Pit Safety Standards
According to OSHA article 1910.22(c), “Covers and/or guardrails shall be provided to protect personnel from the hazards of open pits, tanks, vats, ditches, etc.”
That means that pits need to be covered or guarded in some way. While you can become OSHA compliant by adding guard rails, putting in a walk-on safety pit cover easily solves this challenge without making areas of your shop challenging to reach.
At the end of the day, there really isn’t a whole lot to demystify when it comes to safety pit covers. To stay OSHA compliant you need to either box in your pit with guard rails, making it virtually inaccessible, or add a walk-on safety pit cover, which can be removed for maintenance.
Safety pit covers provide the simplest way to not only make your shop OSHA compliant when it comes to floor openings, but also save time and money when it comes to maintenance and accessing such areas.
While a “trust fall” might be a popular team building exercise, employee safety isn’t worth the risk.
Facility safety is what we do… Hennig Helps is here to answer your questions and help you find solutions.