Scaffold Injuries & New York’s “Scaffold Law”
The lawyers at the Perecman Law Firm are dedicated to the success of our clients. If you have been involved in a construction accident, contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. Call toll free to make an appointment at 718-WORKERS (888-997-2354).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reports that accidents involving scaffolds or other types of lifts, hoists, ladders or horizontal supports resulted in 88 deaths in 2007. And the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports that “72 percent of workers injured in scaffold accidents attributed the accident either to the planking or support giving way, or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object.” If you have been injured in a scaffold accident, a personal injury lawyer can help. Contact The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. in New York today to schedule a consultation with an experienced New York scaffolding law attorney to discuss your injuries and learn more about your rights.
Scaffold accident injuries can result from a number of different factors including:
- Falls from the scaffold surface
- Improper installation of the scaffolding
- Defective design of scaffold components
- Failing to use proper protective equipment like harnesses and safety ropes when on a scaffold
- The planking or support of the scaffold giving way
- Construction components or tools falling from the scaffold onto workers below
OSHA Scaffold Regulations
OSHA sets forth stringent safety regulations for the proper and safe use of scaffolding equipment. It requires that every individual on the work site — including employers, supervisors, workers, contractors and subcontractors — comply with the relevant regulations concerning construction, inspection and use of the scaffold. OSHA specifically has regulations dealing with design and construction of scaffolds as well as a protocol for regular inspection of the equipment.
In accordance with the inspection protocol, a competent person is required to inspect the scaffold for any visible defects before work begins on each and every shift where it will be used. Additionally, protective equipment like body belts, harnesses, droplines, trolley lines, lanyards and points of anchorage also must be inspected prior to beginning work.
OSHA also sets requirements regarding the type of equipment, capacities, construction methods and uses for scaffolding. For example, OSHA mandates that every scaffold (and individual scaffold component) be able to support not only its own weight, but at least four times the maximum load capacity without failing. On suspended scaffolds, each suspension rope must be able to support a minimum of six times the maximum load capacity without failing.
New York Labor Law Section 240 — Scaffolding Law
New York Labor Law Section 240, which governs the use of scaffolding in building construction, demolition and repair, provides for the proper installation, maintenance and inspection of scaffolding to protect those working upon them. The law applies not only to scaffolds but also to “hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropers and other devices.” Similar to the federal OSHA regulations, Section 240 also requires that scaffolding is able to support four times the maximum load capacity without failing. New York law also calls for any scaffolding more than 20 feet off the ground to have a safety rail and to be fastened in such a way to prevent it from swaying away from a building.
Importantly, Section 240 imposes liability on contractors, owners and their agents for the proper erection of scaffolding. It also provides exceptions for professional engineers, architects and landscape engineers who are not specifically directing or controlling the on-site work. New York courts have interpreted this statute to mean that the responsibility for providing a safe jobsite ultimately lies with the owner and contractors, not with the workers themselves. In addition, some decisions even go so far as to state that negligence of a worker may not bar liability on the part of the owner and/or contractor in charge of the work site, so long as the worker’s actions were not the only cause of the injuries.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you have suffered an injury due to a construction site scaffold failure, you may be entitled to recovery in addition to workers’ compensation benefits. Contact The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. in New York today to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.
Copyright © 2011 FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.