A toeboard is a lowest-lying blockade between 4 and 12 inches in height, as part of the guardrail system closest to the walking-working surface, that prevents building materials, implements, and tools from falling to a lower level. Usually, toeboards also protect workers (mostly roofers) by restricting them from getting hurt when they fall off the platform, gangway, ladder, or scaffold.

Toeboard in a gangway

OSHA Standard Numbers 1910.28(b)(3)(iv), 1910.28(b)(3)(v)(B), and 1910.28(c)(1) mention toeboard requirements as mandatory. OSHA Standard Number 1910.29(k) stipulates its essential function as a deterrent from falling objects:

Height Requirement: “have a vertical minimum height of 3.5 inches (9 cm) as measured from the top edge of the toeboard to the level of the walking-working surface”,

Clearance: “do not have more than a 0.25 inch (0.5 cm) clearance or opening above the walking-working surface”, and

Force: “should be capable of withstanding a force of at least 50 pounds (222 N) applied in any downward or outward direction at any point along the toeboard.”