EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH

APPEALS BOARD

Summary of Oltman’s Construction Company – Decision After Reconsideration

The Division inspector observed a large number of floor holes at a construction site where a complex of tilt-up concrete buildings were in the process of construction. Most of the holes were 12 inches deep and had steel structural columns in them at the center of a rectangular hole, and several had protruding reinforcing steel bars and were larger. Employees working near numerous exposed holes in the floors were not protected against stepping in the holes by standard railings or covers as required in section 1632(h) of the Construction Safety Orders. The Board rejected Employer’s argument that, because of their size, there were no holes in the floors into which someone could accidentally walk or fall through. Under Tutor-Saliba Corp., Cal/OSHA App. 99-3388, DAR (Mar.2, 2002), the intent of the safety order is to protect employees working around floor holes against injuries (e.g., twisted or broken ankles) that can be caused by accidentally walking or stepping into even shallow holes. An injury may result even if the fall is relatively short. The Board rejected any notion that a violation of the safety order requires that the hole or opening be large enough for an employee to get his entire body in the hole. A general violation of section 1632(h) was affirmed.

OLTMAN’S CONSTRUCTION COMPANY 00-3635
February 6, 2003