Floor Safety and Hole Covers

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Did you know that same level slip, trips and falls are the second leading cause of lost time work injuries in the U.S. Sprains and strains are the number one hazards when it comes to floor openings. Employers are required to identify hazards, like floor safety hazards within their job sites and put into plans into place to eliminate the risks.

OSHA defines a hole as a gap or void 2 or more inches in its least dimension in a floor or other walking/working surface. Covers are to be used to address the hazards associated with holes, to prevent tripping in, and stepping into. With that in mind the covers must be:

  1. 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.
  2. The cover must completely cover the opening, be secured in place by (nails, screws, etc) to prevent accidental displacement by wind, equipment or employees.
  3. Covers must be marked with “HOLE” or “ COVER” to provide warning of the hazard. Everyone on the project must be made aware of the presence of all holes in the work areas.
Example of a hole cover that is secured and has been properly marked with the warning word “HOLE”. Also, the edges of the cover have been painted in orange to help with the visibility which brings attention to the area where there is a tripping hazard.

Here are a few easy things you can do to avoid, and help prevent slip, trips, and falls.

  1. Pay attention when walking. Avoid talking, texting on your phone, or carrying materials or plans that restrict your view of the path in front of you.
  2. Practice good housekeeping, and don’t be in a hurry to complete your daily job task.

Bottom line the DANGER is very real. The CONTROLS are very simple. This is a HAZARD that should never be allowed to exist.

Stand Down for Fall Prevention – 2019

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Jordan Foster Construction and our subcontractors participated in the National Stand Down for Fall Prevention across the state of Texas last week. 

Jordan Foster Construction partnered with the regional OSHA offices and Vendors to assist in making these events spectacular, in spite of the weather conditions that were encountered in some of our locations. 

We want to take the time to say Thank You to the following people:

  • Alex Porter, Area Director, US DOL OSHA, San Antonio Area Office
  • Abraham Arzola, Compliance Assistance Specialist, US DOL OSHA, El Paso Area Office
  • Jim Shelton, Compliance Assistance Specialist, US DOL OSHA, Houston North Area Office
  • HD Supply – Ben Pratt
  • Border Construction Specialties – James Harrald
  • MSA – BJ Shrader
  • Representatives from Lawless Group of Houston
  • Representatives from Guardian Fall Protection
  • Representatives from SafeWaze
  • Representatives from Hilti Tools

Topics focused on Fall Prevention and Protection, to include ladder safety, proper construction of guardrails, basic Scissor Lift awareness and proper installation and use of a Personal Fall Arrest System.

However, we also took the opportunity to address other safety topics including:

  • Heat Awareness
  • Electrical Safety and
  • Fire Extinguisher Training

Commercial Division – El Paso, TX – Plaza Hotel Renovation & Parking Garage

Our Partnership with OSHA at the Plaza Hotel Renovation and Parking Garage project has been an amazing experience.  Over the last 8 months we have been able to draw on the wonderful resources of our Compliance Assistance Specialist, Abraham Arzola.  Last week was no exception. 

He attends many of our monthly stand downs to help continue to build the strong relationship we have with OSHA.  Here you see him talking with John Goodrich, President Infrastructure Division and Damian Alvarez, EHS Manager.

Border Safety Systems presented the fall protection awareness training to the JFC and subcontractor employees.

Infrastructure Group – El Paso, TX

As we prepare to begin the “Montana Project” in El Paso that includes the construction of several bridges we wanted to take the opportunity to gather most of our Infrastructure employees together to talk to them about the importance of fall protection. 

Border Safety Services performed the fall protection demonstration along with BJ Schrader with MSA.

Multifamily Division – Houston, TX – SBC Kingwood

Our multifamily division took the opportunity to invite Mr. Jim Shelton, the Compliance Assistance Specialist for the OSHA – Houston North Area Office to meet with SBC Kingwood Project team members and subcontractors.  In spite of 5” of rain the day of the event there were 70 total attendees for a total of 2 hours of training including Ladder Safety, Fall Prevention & Personal Fall Arrest Systems presented by Lawless Group of Houston.  Additionally, the local representative from Hilti demonstrated some of the tools that can be used for Respirable Crystalline Silica Exposure Mitigation.

Commercial Division – San Antonio, TX – Thompson Hotel @ the Riverwalk

Our commercial division in San Antonio, TX took the opportunity to spend a week focusing on safety training that ranged from Fall Prevention and Protection to general safety awareness.

Mr. Alex Porter, Area Director for the OSHA San Antonio Area Office joined us on Thursday for the “official” Fall Protection Stand Down and spent time talking with our team members and all of our subcontractor workers about the importance of fall prevention and protection.

Infrastructure Division – Austin, TX

Like many of our locations, our Austin Infrastructure Division fought weather complications, ultimately deciding to schedule the meeting at the Office and Shop location rather than meeting on projects that were rained out.

Ben Pratt with HD Supply presenting the Fall Prevention and Protection Training to all of the workers. 

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National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction

May 6 – 10, 2019

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The first full week of May is dedicated to Fall Prevention. This focus is for the Construction Industry, but Falls occur in every industry, so regardless of what industry you work in, why not take a moment to talk with your employees about the potential fall hazards in their workplace and at their homes and educate them on how to prevent injuries and fatalities related to falls.

Construction Industry

Approximately 1/3 of the construction fatalities in 2017 were the result of falls. And all of those fatalities were preventable.

Fatalities from falls don’t have to occur from a great height, they can occur from a fall on the same level…all it takes is for the victim to fall in such a way that they strike their head on something, so don’t ignore the hazards associated with:

  • Ladders – Step ladders, Straight ladders, and even Step stools
  • Stairs
  • Scaffolding
  • Excavations
  • Holes in the walking surface
  • Changes in elevations – Curbs, mechanical troughs
  • Housekeeping – Trash, Spilled liquids, Mud or Ice accumulation


OSHA has put together a collection of resource materials that you can use for your Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction this week. Click here. These resources aren’t exclusive to this week…so use them through out the year to reinforce your message.

Other Industries

The construction industry doesn’t hold the exclusive rights to fall hazards or the fatalities associated with them. So, if you work in other industries make sure you take the time to look at the work areas and assess them for fall hazards. Some of the common potential hazards that come to mind when I think about other industries are:

  • Stairs – do your workers properly use the stairs?
  • Ladders – do your workers properly use ladders?
  • Loading docks – are your loading docks properly protected?
  • Housekeeping
    • are all of your materials properly stored so they don’t become tripping hazards?
    • are all spills cleaned up properly so they don’t become slip hazards?

At Home

Now, for the one that hits home. Literally, at home. Think about all the things that you may do around your home that could create a fall hazard.

  • Do you use a ladder when you need to change that burned out light bulb, or do you stand on a chair? If you do use a ladder is it tall enough or are you standing on the top of it?
  • Do you use a step stool to reach the items stored on the top shelf of your kitchen cabinets, or are you standing on a chair, or, even worse, the counter?
  • Do you use the ladder properly when you are hanging your Holiday lights?


Falls are a major cause of serious injury and fatalities in the U.S. And they are ALL preventable.

National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction

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Have you started planning?

The official dates have been set! The sixth annual National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction will occur May 6-10, 2019.

Click here for more information.

New to the concept?

For those that have never participated in the National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction it can seem a bit daunting. But, when you click the link above you will find a whole host of resources to use. Whether you are a large contractor that has employees exposed to many types of fall hazards, or a small contractor that simply works from ladders, this is a great opportunity to take the time to gather your forces and focus their attention on the specific fall hazards they face during the normal course of their work day.

Take 5

Or 15… Your Stand-down doesn’t have to take hours. It really is meant to be a concentrated focus on fall hazards in the construction work place that are specific to your workers. Get them involved.

  • What are the hazards you see?
  • How can we better address those hazards?
  • Are the tools provided appropriate?
    • Maybe you provide a ladder to work from but would a one-man lift be safer? quicker?
    • If you work at heights, have you addressed falling objects? Do you need to look into purchasing tool lanyards.

These small questions can really help you narrow your focus and address the real concerns that your workers face every day.