New York Scaffold Law: What Construction Workers Need to Know
Across the U.S., as well as the state and city of New York, falls continue to be a leading cause of injuries and fatalities on the job. Accounting for one-third of on-the-job deaths in the industry, falls are the top cause of construction-worker fatalities. In 2017, there were 366 deaths linked to falls out of 971 total construction fatalities.
Construction sites pose many fall hazards for workers, including the presence and use of scaffolding. In February 2020, a 19-year old Albany construction worker fell from scaffolding to his death five or six stories below. New York labor laws hold owners and contractors accountable for the equipment workers need to do their jobs—including hoists, ladders, and scaffolding. Suppose you or a family member suffered injuries using scaffolding on the job. In that case, it’s time to contact a reputable Suffolk County personal injury attorney for help.
Which Workers are at Risk for Scaffold Injuries?
Many New York construction sites rely on scaffolding to complete their jobs. Frequently, construction workers use scale scaffolds as part of their jobs. Some of the most common jobs requiring the use of scaffolding include:
- Maintenance workers
- Window washers
The safe scaffolding law creates a “non-delegable” duty for both owners and contractors. As such, they cannot delegate the responsibility of ensuring that the scaffolding law is obeyed to another individual they hire—for instance, foreperson or subcontractor, to help alleviate them of liability if an accident should occur.
New York’s Scaffolding Safety Laws
Under New York Labor Law Section 240, contractors and owners are required “to give proper protection to a person so employed” when their work involves “erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building or structure.” Provisions included in the law to protect construction workers include:
- Scaffolding must be at least 20 feet above the ground or floor and must have a safety railing rising a minimum of 34 inches (almost three feet)
- Railings must be securely fastened to the scaffold to avert swaying
- The safety rail must enclose the entire length and both ends of the scaffold
- The scaffolding needs to be capable of holding four times its maximum weight
This law assigns strict liability in scaffold accidents to those responsible for assigning and managing the workload. Because of this, the failure to provide scaffolding and other equipment that meets the standards of the Labor Law can be enough to establish the liability in your claim and secure compensation for your injuries. Speak with a well-versed Suffolk County personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to learn more.
Did You Fall from Scaffolding on the Job? Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today
At the Law Office of David M. Kaufman, PLLC, we have observed just how serious scaffolding fall injuries can be. You may need several months off of work if you are ever physically capable of returning to your job. Your medical bills may seem insurmountable, and you long to do the activities you once enjoyed. While no one can erase the tragedy you’ve experienced, we can help you hold the right parties accountable to compensate you for your injuries. Receive your no-obligation consultation by calling our office today at 631-761-6400 or reach out online.