Chutes can be an invaluable time-saver on a construction site, allowing workers to clear debris from high levels quickly. However, chutes that are improperly installed or buckle under a heavy load can do more harm than good. When this happens, employees have a right to bring a third-party construction injury claim against the negligent party.
Workers Should Be Protected If Chutes Are Used on a Construction Site
Owners and contractors are required to make construction sites as safe as possible for workers under NY Labor Law 241. Section 241(6) of the law compels owners and contractors to comply with any rules made by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor to carry out the provisions of the law.
The Department of Labor has created specific construction safety rules, including Part 23 of the New York Industrial Code. Part 23-1.20 mandates the safe use of debris chutes, including their construction, installation, and proper openings.
Specific guidelines for chutes include:
- Chute enclosures. Chutes used on elevated levels of a structure must be entirely enclosed on all sides, except for openings used for the receiving and discharging of material and debris. All openings must be covered when not in use.
- Chute construction. Chutes over 24 inches wide must be constructed of exterior grade plywood at least two inches thick (or sheet metal at least three-sixteenth inch thick) and be rigidly supported throughout its height. Substantial gates and baffles must be installed at the lower end of every chute to prevent materials or debris from striking people beneath.
- Protection at openings. A four-inch by four-inch bumper or curb must be provided at each chute opening if the opening is at or below the level of the floor. Any space between the chute and the edge of the opening on a floor or platform must be solidly planked.
- Warning signs. A sign reading "DANGER" must be placed in a noticeable location at the discharge end of all chutes to warn workers and visitors beneath the chute of the potential overhead danger. Lettering on these signs must be at least six inches high and in a color that will contrast with the background.
If you have been hurt by falling debris or other hazards on a New York City construction site, you should have Hofmann & Schweitzer review your case as soon as possible. Contact us today, or learn more about your rights in our FREE guide, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.