Code § 23-1.7: Protection from General Hazards

Construction workers have the right to work in a safe environment. New York Code § 23-1.7 protects workers from various hazards, particularly slip, trip, and fall hazards. This code is one that we use frequently at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., to fight on behalf of injured workers.

If you were injured at the workplace because your employer failed to protect you from the general hazards outlined in § 23-1.7, you may have a claim. Call The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., at (212) 577-9325 for a free consultation!

Types of Hazards on Construction Sites

This code outlines eight major hazard categories that construction workers have the right to be protected from.

  1. Overhead Hazards
  2. Falling Hazards
  3. Drowning Hazards
  4. Slipping Hazards
  5. Tripping & Other Hazards
  6. Vertical Passage
  7. Contaminated Air or Oxygen Deficiency
  8. Corrosive Substances

Overhead Hazards

If construction workers frequent the area and the area is prone to falling objects, the law requires employers to provide suitable overhead protection. The law defines “suitable overhead protection” as:

  • Tightly laid, two-inch thick wood planks
  • Tightly laid, ¾-inch thick plywood
  • Tightly laid material of a strength that can sustain at least 100 pounds per square foot

If there is an area that is prone to falling objects and the employer will not be providing overhead protection, they must barricade or fence off the area.

Falling Hazards

Wherever there is an opening that an individual could potentially step or fall into, employers are required to block that opening with a cover OR provide a safety railing around the area. Some workers are required to work in these types of openings, or pass through them frequently. To mitigate hazards for these workers, employers must provide a gate over the opening.

Other workers might not have to work in these openings, but rather near them. In these cases, employers must place planking below the opening. Either this or the worker must be provided a safety belt to secure them to their working area. This applies to employees working on bridges, highway overpasses, or on scaffolding, for example.

Drowning Hazards

Any employee who works in an area where they could fall into water should be afforded drowning protection. Construction worksites must be equipped with lifesaving equipment in the event that a worker falls into the water and is drowning, such as:

  • Boat with oars constantly patrolling the work area
  • Life preservers
  • Life ring fastened to a line of 50ft or more

Slipping Hazards

It is against regulations for employers to allow their employees to use floors, walkways, passageways, etc. that are in slippery condition. This can include snow, ice, water, grease, or any other object that makes the walking surface slippery. Employers can provide safe footing by removing the slippery surfaces, sanding them, or covering these types of surfaces.

Tripping Hazards

This part of the statute concerns passageways. Any dirt, debris, or related obstruction must be removed from these areas to avoid tripping hazards.

Vertical Passage

Construction workers often need to maneuver up or down their worksite via stairs or ramps. These types of vertical passages must be provided to workers except for when that type of passageway might impede the progress of construction, in which case a moveable ladder or other safe means can be provided.

Oxygen Hazards

Contaminated air or lack of air due to poor ventilation can cause workers serious harm. Employers are required to conduct testing to control air contaminants at construction sites and abide by exhaust system regulations.

Corrosive Substances

Corrosive substances, such as chemicals, can unnecessarily put workers at risk if they are not stored properly. Employers must provide their employees a safe place to store chemicals as well as protective equipment for workers who handle these substances.

Were you injured at a construction site? Contact the New York construction accident attorneys at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. Initial consultations are free and we never charge a fee unless we win!