Access and Guarding of Work Surfaces >> Guarding of Deck Openings and Edges

Figure 1: Properly guarded manhole
Figure 1: Properly guarded manhole.

Serious, and even fatal, injuries in the shipyard may be caused by falls due to lack of appropriate guarding of the edges of work or walkway surfaces.

Figure 2: Properly guarded manhole

Potential Hazards

  • Injury due to stepping into or falling through an opening
  • Injury due to falling off decks, gratings, walkways, catwalks, or other surfaces

Requirements and Example Solutions

Flush Manholes and Other Small Openings

  • Flush manholes and other small openings must be covered or provided with a 30-inch-high guard. [29 CFR 1915.73(b)]
Figure 3: Open hatch with 24 inch high coaming

Open Hatches

  • Open hatches must be protected by coamings of at least 24-inches-high or adequately guarded. [29 CFR 1915.73(c)]
Figure 4: Riggers on elevated work surface protected by guard rails

Decks and Other Flat Surfaces

  • Unguarded edges more than 5 feet above solid surfaces require guardrails. [29 CFR 1915.73(d)]
Figure 5: Improper practice - Worker above edge of water must use PFD

Open Bilges

  • When bilges, plates, or flooring are removed, guardrails or adequate flooring must be provided. [29 CFR 1915.73(f)]
  • Unguarded edges above water require guardrails, or workers must wear personal flotation devices (PFDs). [29 CFR 1915.73(e)]
Figure 6: Improper practice - Removed grating causes slip and fall hazards

Gratings, Walkways and Catwalks

  • Gratings, walkways, and catwalks, from which sections or ladders have been removed, must be barricaded with adequate guardrails. [29 CFR 1915.73(g)]