Section 23 is one of the key laws keeping New York construction workers safe from injuries on the job. In addition to setting standards for nearly every facet of work, these statutes also mandate how to respond to a notice of noncompliance with Section 23 that could place workers in imminent danger.
How Owners and Employers Should Respond to Reported Violations of Part 23
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 have a duty 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 in Part 23 of the New York Industrial Code to protect people employed in construction, demolition or excavation work. Section 23-1.32 dictates how employees and employers should respond to a notice of potential hazards.
Once notified of noncompliance, the site owner, contractor, or agent must:
- Take all immediate and necessary measures to effect compliance that will sufficiently end the danger
- Label the dangerous area (or tag the dangerous device or material) with suitable posters or signs warning of the danger
- Forbid unauthorized entry into the area (or unauthorized use of the device or material) until the danger is ended
- Maintain such posters or signs as long as the danger exists
- Forbid employees from entering or occupying an area or to use a device or material that has been the subject of a notice of imminent danger, unless the employee is present to effect compliance and remove the danger
- Ensure that no person removes warning posters or signs without authorization
Posting warning signs is only one step employers can take to alert workers and the public to potential hazards when passing by construction, demolition, or excavation operations. Even when warnings are posted, employers are not exempt when construction injuries occur due to slips, falls, or negligence.
Employers and site owners may be found liable if they do not:
Keep walkways and temporary roadways clear.
All pathways must be properly maintained and free from obstructions, materials, tripping hazards, snow, sleet, ice and accumulations of water, dirt, or dust. Temporary roadways must have firm ground, be reasonably even, and be properly maintained to remove bumps and potholes.
All temporary walkways and areas beneath sidewalk sheds must be provided with illumination of at least five foot-candles (unless normal street lighting provides adequate illumination). Temporary roadways must be provided with sufficient illumination or reflectorized delineators along paths of travel to clearly indicate the side barriers or guardrails.
Organize stored materials.
Any materials stored near a public thoroughfare must be in stable, reasonably-sized piles and maintained to ensure that falling or shifting material will not endanger persons using the thoroughfare.
Shield welding operations.
If welding or cutting operations are being performed next to a public walkway, these operations must be shielded by an opaque screen.
Contain paints and particulates.
Any spray painting, sandblasting, or steam cleaning operations that are being performed next to a public walkway must be contained by canopies, tarpaulins, or other substantial coverings to prevent mists or flying particles from escaping.
Control service lines.
Any temporary service lines (such as hose lines, electrical wiring, cables, ropes, or piping) that cross public thoroughfares must be located or guarded in a way that does not constitute a tripping hazard for persons nor obstructions for vehicles. Any suspended service lines must be located at least eight feet above the surface where pedestrians are passing and at least 18 feet above the roadway surface where vehicles are passing.
Let Us Advise You After a Construction Site Injury
If you or someone you love was hurt on a New York construction site, we can explain your options and work to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact Hofmann & Schweitzer today or learn more about your rights in our FREE guide, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.