Scaffold injuries can be deadly for construction employees, especially if a site owner or contractor ignores safety provisions required by law. Our New York construction injury lawyers explain state regulations to protect workers and whether victims could be owed compensation.
Special Scaffold Protections Under the NY Industrial Code
NY Labor Law 241 requires owners and contractors to make construction sites as safe as possible for workers. Under Section 241(6), owners and contractors must 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 in Part 23 of the New York Industrial Code to protect people employed in construction, demolition, or excavation work. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. Tit. 12 § 23 5.11-5.12 set forth the following guidelines for:
Needle Beam Scaffolds
- Use. Needle beam scaffolds may only be used to support workers performing riveting, plastering, painting, or similar work. Needle beam scaffolds must not be used for storing materials.
- Platform supports. Wood needle beams must be at least four inches by six inches in size and placed so that the greater dimension is vertical. All beams must be of one length and may not be spliced. Beams must have intermediate supports or hangers so that any span does not exceed 10 feet. If metal beams are used for needle beam scaffold platform supports, they must be of equal in strength to four-inch by six-inch wood beams.
- Rope. Ropes used to support needle beams must be equivalent in strength to one-inch diameter first-grade manila rope. All ropes must be attached to the needle beams with "square hitches" tied on rectangular beams to prevent such beams from rolling or otherwise becoming displaced. Mechanical stops (such as cleats or pins) must be used to prevent the ropes from slipping off the ends of the beams.
- Platforms. Planks used in needle beam scaffold platforms must be at least two inches thick and extend at least 12 inches, but no more than 18 inches beyond any end support. Any platform parallel to the needle beams must be at least three feet but no more than six feet. If needle beam scaffolds are used with one beam higher than the other (or where platform planks are otherwise not level), the platform must be secured against slipping.
- Tool containers. Suitable containers for tools, bolts, and similar objects shall be provided for every needle beam scaffold and securely attached to the scaffold.
- Height limitation. Horse scaffolds may not be constructed with more than two tiers of horses, and the height of the working platforms must not exceed 10 feet.
- Installation. All horse scaffolds must be adequately secured against sliding or tipping. The footings for horses must be level and braced against accidental movement. If horse scaffolds are superimposed upon other scaffolds, the horses must be placed directly over supporting beams.
- Spacing. The backs, bearers, or horses used in the construction of scaffolds designed for loads up to 25 pounds per square foot may not be spaced more than 10 feet, center to center. Scaffolds designed for loads up to 50 pounds per square foot must have a spacing of under eight feet, center to center. Scaffolds designed for loads up to 75 pounds per square foot must have a spacing of under six feet, center to center.
- Construction. All horse scaffolds must have sufficient diagonal and horizontal bracing to ensure rigidity. Horse scaffold legs may be lengthened by splicing on extension pieces only if the extension pieces lap the entire lengths of the scaffold legs and are securely attached using bolts. Legs constructed of metal must be of equivalent strength to measurements set for wooden legs. Horse scaffolds must also meet the following minimum requirements:
- Light-duty horse scaffolds must have members at least two inches by four inches for the backs or bearers and one inch by four inches for the legs and horizontal braces. The span of backs or bearers must not be more than four feet.
- Medium-duty horse scaffolds must have members at least one-and-one-quarter inches by nine inches for the backs or bearers and one-and-one-quarter inches by four-and-one-quarter inches for the legs and horizontal braces. The span of backs or bearers must not be more than six feet.
- Heavy-duty horse scaffolds must have members at least three inches by four inches for the backs or bearers and one-and-one-quarter inches by four-and-one-quarter inches for the legs and horizontal braces. The span of backs or bearers must not be more than six feet.
- The backs or bearers of horse scaffolds must always rest on gusset braces of at least one inch thick.
We Fight for Construction Workers After a Scaffold Injury
If you or someone you love was seriously hurt on a scaffold, the attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer could explain your rights at no cost. Contact us today at (800) 362-9329 to begin building your injury case or learn more about your rights in our FREE guide, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.