Walk down nearly any street in New York City and you will quickly notice the many buildings and sidewalks covered in a large web of wood and metal scaffolding. In fact, as mentioned in a recent New York Times article, New York now has roughly 280 miles of scaffolding located throughout the city. There is even an online map you can use to track every project that is using outdoor scaffolding.
While it would be an understatement to say that some New Yorkers are frustrated by the forest of scaffolding covering the city’s sidewalks, the truth is that most of these structures are necessary to protect the safety of both the pedestrians below and the workers above.
Simply put, New York takes its scaffolding very seriously. Indeed, when it comes to worker safety, New York has some of the toughest scaffolding laws in the country.
New York’s Scaffolding Law: The Basics
As many of those who work in construction already know, New York’s Scaffolding Law (Labor Law §240) is designed to protect the safety of construction workers.
Essentially, this law requires those who control a construction site — such as property owners and general contractors — to provide workers with necessary safety equipment, including properly erected scaffolding and safety harnesses. This requirement applies regardless of whether the workers are building, repairing, painting, demolishing or even cleaning a building.
Sadly, despite this law, construction workers continue to suffer injuries in serious falls from scaffolding too often. Fortunately, though, these injured workers may be able to seek compensation for their injuries because of the Scaffolding Law mentioned above.
However, navigating this law is often easier said than done, which is why it is best to contact an experienced attorney if you have any questions.