Hole Covers Designed for Fall Protection
No Tools Required
Reusable and Recyclable
Owner & Founder, Steve Millman
Q&A with Steve
Why hole covers? Where did this idea come from?
Having grown up in the construction industry, I’ve witnessed the rapid advancement of new construction technologies. From self-healing concrete to advanced construction robotics, I’m amazed at our capabilities in construction today. Yet, every time I’m on a job site, I see the ground littered with plywood used to cover floor penetrations. How is it that we’re so advanced in other aspects of the industry, yet this is our best solution?
To stay OSHA compliant, any floor penetration 2” or moremust be covered. Today, that means a skilled worker drags a heavy saw to the site, cuts a piece of plywood, screws in a 2×4, secures it to the concrete and then spraypaints the word “hole” on it. This process is expensive and time-consuming. Even worse, these pieces of plywood get moved around or taken off, so the trades can run electrical cords or conduits, and another hazard is created.
After tripping over one of these on a job site, I knew there had to be a better, cost-effective way to keep workers safe from fall hazards.
What was the process of taking this idea in your head to a fully patented product?
It has been a crazy process and took over three years of trial and error. I wanted the product to be easy to install, load-bearing, reusable, and far more affordable than the old way. Initially, I was stuck on the notion that the product had to have gears. So, for over a year, we prototyped these complex, expensive models where you would crank little gears to make the hole covers adjustable.
At one point, I just walked away from it for almost six months. But I still couldn’t get this idea out of my head. Back at the drawing board, I started going to job sites to get feedback from the trades.
Then I worked on a project in my garage and used a retractable knife, and something just clicked. I thought maybe we could create sliding, tension-based clips that would secure the cover to whatever size hole you had. We prototyped, tweaked things here and there, and after adding the weather-stripping, we finally moved to production.
What kind of feedback are you getting from the construction industry?
While OSHA can’t recommend products, they are thrilled to see a product like this hit the market because it makes safety easy and affordable. We’re also getting great feedback from the trades. Anyone fined for an uncovered floor penetration could have avoided it in 30 seconds or less with CoverMe!
What’s next for CoverMe?
After going to several trade shows and meeting with contractors on the job site, we saw a need for a rectangular version of the hole cover. These cover holes that are close together and holes that are close to a wall. Another request we hear is for a larger size of the round hole cover. We’re working on one that covers holes from 12 to 18 inches, and even prototyping an 18 to 24 inch model, both of which should be available soon!