Fires are unfortunately common on construction sites. If safety codes regarding flammable materials and temporary burners aren't followed to the letter, workers can suffer severe burns, scarring, or even fatal injury. There could be many different people responsible, from a site owner or employer to negligent third parties—and it will take careful investigation by an experienced construction injury attorney to determine what you and your family may be owed.

Regulations for Temporary Combustion Devices on New York Construction Sites

Fire on a Construction SiteNY Labor Law 241 mandates that owners and contractors must make construction sites as safe as possible for workers. Under Section 241(6), owners and contractors must also comply with any rules made by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor to effect the provisions of the law.

The Department of Labor has since created Part 23 of the New York Industrial Code, which specifically includes rules for temporary combustion devices. Under Part 23-1.14, construction workers must be protected from fires and burn injuries by:

  • Ensuring ventilation. No open salamander, coke burner, or other device in which fuel or combustible substances are burned may be used in any enclosed area unless sufficient ventilation is maintained.
  • Removing flammable coverings. Tarpaulins and canvas coverings that have been treated with flame-retardant chemicals may be placed no less than four feet from a temporary combustion device, while untreated tarps and canvas coverings may not be placed less than 10 feet from these devices. All tarps and canvas coverings must be securely fastened to prevent accidental contact with combustion devices.
  • Protecting flammable surfaces. Combustion devices shall not be placed on any combustible surface without proper insulation. A minimum distance of four feet of overhead or side clearance and six horizontal feet around the perimeter of the combustion device must be observed.
  • Preventing tipping. All temporary combustion devices must have adequate and suitable legs or base supports to prevent tipping.
  • Providing fire extinguishers. Devices that burn charcoal, coal, gas, and other combustible materials must be set up on the same level as, and within 50 feet of, an approved fire extinguisher of a suitable type.

If you or someone you love suffered a serious burn injury on a construction site, we will work to get you and your family the compensation you are owed—and we do not collect any fees until after your case is won. Learn more about your rights in our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You're Not Alone, or fill out our quick online contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today.

Timothy F. Schweitzer
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Personal injury lawyer specializing in maritime, construction and railroad injury claims.