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Last updated: May 2, 2019

What Does Toeboard Mean?

A toeboard is safety equipment typically installed in a vertical direction to act as a barrier to prevent equipment or materials from falling to a lower level. It also acts as a protective barrier and prevents the workers themselves from falling.

Toeboards look like small separations or small walls, and they are most commonly used during construction work and also during industrial maintenance work.

Safeopedia Explains Toeboard

Toeboards are used along the exposed open sides or floor openings. It is common to see this during construction work where workers are performing an installation task on the ceiling or high on the wall while standing on a platform. The exposed side or sides of the platform must have toeboards to prevent any hazardous heavy equipment (e.g., a hammer) from falling and injuring a worker on a lower level. These toeboards could also prevent a worker from slipping and could act as the border of the platform on which the worker is standing.

There are OSHA standards that must be followed regarding toeboards. For instance, a toeboard must be at least four inches tall, and the maximum height usually goes up to 12 inches. Moreover, OSHA requires that the gap between the toeboard and the platform surface at the bottom of the toeboard must not exceed ¼ inch. The width of this gap is also very important because a small but sharp piece of equipment could slip through the gap and injure a person on a lower level. The toeboard must additionally be thick and strong enough to bear at least 50 lbs of force.

The installation of toeboards is performed differently depending on the type of platform. Welding the toeboard to the surface of a platform is one option, such as when both the toeboard and the platform are metallic. If the platform and the toeboard are non-metallic, the welding cannot be done. If the toeboard is made of a hard plastic material or wood, then a worker could drill and attach the toeboard through U-bolts. The more convenient option is the latter. One final option, which may be the best one, is to use special toeboard base flanges or extruded toeboards. These could be made of hard plastic or rust-proof aluminum material.


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