Toe Board Safety: Proper Use, Applications and Tips

Background & Use of Toe Boards

When working from heights, commonly in the roofing and/or construction industry, there is a constant need to safely and efficiently perform site work. Part of that process includes using a variety of systems and protocols to mitigate unsafe work environments. Toe boards (also called toe kicks) are a part of that system that we will be further focusing on in this article.

What is a Toe-board?

A toeboard is a physical barrier that runs along a fall edge that prevents people and objects from falling to a lower surface. Traditionally, toe boards are made of wood (most commonly Douglas Fir) 2’x4’s that match the length of the guardrails they are associated with. While wooden toe boards are still used in some applications, many toeboards are made of metal for increased strength and longevity.

Guardrails midrails and toeboards

Toeboards and Fall Prevention: Workers and Equipment

For people, toe boards are often an essential safety device for anyone working on flat and low slope roofs. They provide a barrier between the worker and the fall edge of the roof, helping to prevent them from slipping or sliding off. Toe boards should always be used when working near a roof’s edge (unless there is a parapet wall) because they can help prevent slips and falls that could lead to serious injury or death. Additionally, toe boards can be used with guard rails to block off hazardous areas on a roof, such as skylights or large holes.

Scaffold toe board

Common Items that Fall from Heights

Equipment and tools are also essential components on construction projects. While they are not the primary focus for fall protection, they can present a significant safety hazard if not managed properly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every day in the US, there are more than 115 OSHA recordable events related to “struck by falling object” incidents.

On average, there are 42,000+ “struck by falling object” OSHA recordable events in the US annually.

Common Areas & Applications for Toe Kick Boards

Tips to Use in Conjunction with Toe Boards

Toe Boards & OSHA Standards

This section would detail the relevant OSHA standards and how they apply to toe boards, ensuring compliance and safety in the workplace.

Thank you for reading and stay safe!