Openings

An unprotected opening on a work surface is a serious hazard that puts employees at risk of injuries from falls. Guardrails around the opening or protective coverings are common forms of protection.

Guardrails or a protective covering can be used to protect employees from an opening on a work surface.

As an employer, you must ensure:

  • The opening is guarded with:
    • A guardrail on all exposed sides, or
    • A protective covering that:
      • Completely covers the opening.
      • Stands out with bright paint. DANGER! OPENING. DO NOT REMOVE. DO NOT LOAD!
      • Fastens securely to prevent employees from removing it and falling in the hole.
      • Is strong enough to support any load to which it may be subjected, such as a person's weight.
    • If the opening is a hatchway, chute, pit or trap-door, it is guarded with:
      • A guardrail on all exposed sides, where no more than two sides are removable, or
      • A flush hinged protective covering.

If the opening leads to a stairway or ladder, it is guarded on all exposed sides, except for the side that leads to the stairway or ladder's entrance.

  • The opening is constantly attended by an employee or is guarded when the opening is not in use.

As an employee, you must

  • Know the location of openings where falls could occur.
  • Ensure guardrails or coverings are being used.
  • Replace a guardrail that has been removed.

General Regulation - Occupational Health and Safety Act
N.B. Reg. 91-191

Part X CONSTRUCTION, TRAFFIC AND BUILDING SAFETY

Section 100

100. (1) Where a guardrail is removed in order for work to be done, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that

(a) adequate precautions are taken to ensure the safety of the employee doing the work and any other employee, and

(b) the area is not left unguarded.

(2) An employee who removes a guardrail in order to do work shall replace the guardrail before leaving the area.

Section 111 Openings

111. (1) An owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that an opening on a work surface into which an employee may fall is guarded as follows:

(a) on all exposed sides by a guardrail; or

(b) by a protective covering that

(i) completely covers the opening,

(ii) is securely fastened,

(iii) is made from material adequate to support all loads to which the covering may be subjected, and

(iv) is marked as covering an opening.

(2) Despite subsection (1), if an opening is a hatchway, chute, pit or trap-door the owner of the place of employment, an employer and the contractor shall each ensure that openings are guarded as follows:

(a) on all exposed sides by guardrails that are removable on not more than two sides and that are fixed on the other exposed sides; or

(b) by a flush hinged protective covering that

(i) completely covers the opening,

(ii) is securely fastened,

(iii) is of adequate strength,

(iv) is marked as covering an opening, and

(v) is adequately supported with attached railings so as to leave only one side of the opening exposed when the cover is open.

(3) Despite subsections (1) and (2), if an opening leads to a stairway or ladder, an owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that the opening is guarded by guardrails on all exposed sides, except for the side leading to the entrance to the stairway or ladder.

(4) If a protective covering is used over an opening but is not in place, an owner of a place of employment, an employer and a contractor shall each ensure that the opening is constantly attended by an employee or is guarded by a guardrail on all exposed sides.

[N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 20]

112. Repealed. [N.B. Reg. 2010-159, s. 21]