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The Design & Safety Requirements For Toeboards

Personal Fall Protection Systems

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Body belts, harnesses, and other components used in personal fall arrest systems, work positioning systems, and travel restraint systems must meet the requirements of OSHA Standard 1910.140, Personal fall protection systems.

Protection From Falling Objects

The employers must ensure toeboards used for falling object protection:

  • Are erected along the exposed edge of the overhead walking-working surface for a length that is sufficient to protect employees below.
  • Have a minimum vertical height of 3.5 inches (9 cm) as measured from the top edge of the toeboard to the level of the walking-working surface. Two-by-four inch lumber meets this requirement.
  • Do not have more than a 0.25-inch (0.5-cm) clearance or opening above the walking working surface.
  • Are solid or do not have any opening that exceeds 1 inch (3 cm) at its greatest dimension.
  • Have a minimum height of 2.5 inches (6 cm) when used around vehicle repair, service, or assembly pits. Toeboards may be omitted around vehicle repair, service, or assembly pits when the employer can demonstrate that a toeboard would prevent access to a vehicle that is over the pit.
  • Are capable of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 50 pounds (222 N) applied in any downward or outward direction at any point along the toeboard.
  • Where tools, equipment, or materials are piled higher than the top of the toeboard, paneling or screening is installed from the toeboard to the midrail of the guardrail system and for a length that is sufficient to protect employees below. If the items are piled higher than the midrail, the employer also must install paneling or screening to the top rail and for a length that is sufficient to protect employees below; and
  • All openings in guardrail systems are small enough to prevent objects from falling through the opening.
  • The employer must ensure canopies used for falling object protection are strong enough to prevent collapse and to prevent penetration by falling objects.

Grab Handles

The employer must ensure each grab handle:

  • Is not less than 12 inches (30 cm) long;
  • Is mounted to provide at least 3 inches (8 cm) of clearance from the framing or opening; and
  • Is capable of withstanding a maximum horizontal pull-out force equal to two times the maximum intended load or 200 pounds (890 N), whichever is greater.
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