New York City gets bigger every day and requires constant repair of existing buildings as well as new structures for housing and transport. Every day, construction work can be seen on highway overpasses and bridges in an effort to ease traffic congestion around the city. Unfortunately, safety standards are not always followed on these construction projects, leaving thousands of workers at risk of a serious or fatal injury.
Bridge and Overpass Construction Safety Under NY Labor Laws Sections 240 and 241(6) and New York Department of Labor Industrial Code 12 NYCRR Section 23, et seq.
The biggest hazard when working on bridges and overpasses is falls. While state labor laws require barriers or safety railings to be installed along dangerous openings, this isn’t always possible along the edge of an elevated road during construction. Generally, under OSHA regulations, any elevation differential of greater than 6 feet requires fall protection. New York’s Labor Laws and its Industrial Code are even more protective. Labor Law Section 240 provides among other things that where there is an elevation-related risk, proper equipment and protections are to employed to the job site and used. Failure to do so can result in strict liability against the property owner and general contractor.
Under Labor Law Section 241(6), compliance is required with the specific regulations in the New York State Industrial Code, in particular, those regulations related to Construction, found in 12 NYCRR Section 23.
In order to protect workers, 12 NYCRR Section 23-1.7(b)(2) requires workers on bridges to be protected by, among other rules:
- Safety belts. Employers are required to provide safety belts for employees doing structural or construction work on bridges or overpasses at elevations greater than 30 feet above land or water. If work is performed over highways or railroads open to public traffic, safety belts must be used at any elevation.
- Life nets and scaffolds. Scaffolding or life nets may be used as alternatives to safety belts as long as they are installed no more than five feet below the lower edge of the platform on which employees are working. All scaffolds, platforms, and life nets shall be installed and maintained at all times when work is being performed. If nets or scaffolds interfere with the placement of structural members or assemblies, they may be removed, and safety belts must be worn.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury on a construction site, the experienced attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer will work to get you the compensation you deserve—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Simply fill out our online contact form today or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a lawyer. To learn more about these kinds of injuries, read through our FREE guide, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.