Numerous accidents occur on New York City construction sites every year, most of them completely preventable. While the state has enacted many regulations to keep workers safe, there is always someone who could have done more to protect employees from injury, particularly when ramps and platforms are involved.
Part 23 Rules for Ramps, Runways, and Platforms on Construction Sites
NY Labor Law 241 requires owners and contractors to make construction sites as safe as possible. 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 since created specific construction safety rules, such as Part 23 of the New York Industrial Code.
Part 23 sets rules for both structural ramps as well as earth ramps and runways. Under provision 23-1.23, earth ramps of soil, gravel, stone, or similar materials must be:
- In compacted, even layers. Unless it is made of undisturbed material, all earthen materials in ramps and runways must be placed in layers not more than three feet deep, with each layer properly compacted. Earth ramp and runway surfaces must be maintained and free from potholes, soft spots, or unreasonable unevenness.
- Constructed at an acceptable slope. Earth ramps and runways may have a maximum slope of 25 percent grade. The total rise of any continuous ramp or runway must not exceed 12 feet unless such rise is broken by a horizontal section at least four feet in length at every 50 feet.
- Equipped with fall protection. Earth ramps and runways used by workers with or without wheelbarrows, power buggies, hand carts, or hand trucks must be at least 48 inches in width. Any ramps or runways more than four feet above the adjacent ground or level must have compliant safety railings constructed and installed.
- Reinforced for heavy vehicle use. Any earth ramps and runways intended for use by trucks or heavier vehicles shall be at least 12 feet in width for single-lane traffic only, or at least 24 feet in width if used for two-lane traffic. These ramps and runways must be constructed with timber curbing at least 10 inches by 10 inches securely pinned to the ramps or runways by steel rods, with beams at least two and one-half feet in height or with equivalent barriers along the sides.
Under Part 23-1.22, any structural runways, ramps, or platforms not made of earth or gravel must also meet certain standards, including:
- Vehicle application. All runways and ramps must be substantially constructed and securely braced and supported before use. Runways and ramps intended for use by motor trucks or heavier vehicles must be at least 12 feet wide for single-lane traffic or 24 feet wide for two-lane traffic. These runways and ramps must have timber curbs at least 10 inches by 10 inches placed parallel to (and secured to) the sides of runways and ramps. All flooring of these runways and ramps must be positively secured against movement and constructed of planking at least three inches thick full size (or metal of equivalent strength).
- Walkway use. Any runways and ramps intended for the use of persons only shall be at least 18 inches wide and shall be constructed of planking at least two inches thick full size (or metal of equivalent strength). All planking must be laid close, butt jointed, and securely nailed, and the surface must be substantially supported and braced to prevent excessive spring or deflection.
- Hand truck compliance. Any runways or ramps intended for the use of wheelbarrows, power buggies, hand carts, or hand trucks must be at least 48 inches in width. These runways and ramps must be constructed of planking at least two inches thick full size (or metal of equivalent strength). If planking is used, it shall be laid close, butt jointed, and securely nailed, and the surface must be substantially supported and braced to prevent excessive spring or deflection. These runways and ramps must have timber curbs at least two inches by eight inches set on edge and placed parallel to (and secured to) the sides of such runways and ramps. Bracing on these runways and ramps must be installed at intervals of no more than four feet.
- Ramp fall prevention. Any runway or ramp at a height of four feet or more above the ground or equivalent surface must have a compliant safety railing on every open side.
- Platform fall prevention. Any platform more than seven feet above the ground, grade, floor, or surface shall have a compliant safety railing installed on all sides except those used for loading and unloading. Sides used for loading or unloading must be protected by timber curbs at least two inches by eight inches. Exceptions: platforms of needle beam scaffolds, floats and rivet heater platforms used by structural ironworkers, ladder jack scaffold platforms, and trestle or trestle ladder scaffold platforms are exempt from safety railing or curb requirements.
Let Us Determine Who Caused Your Construction Injury
Owners and employers who flout the law put their workers at risk, and they can be held accountable for their negligence. If you or someone you love was hurt on a New York construction site, we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact Hofmann & Schweitzer today or learn more about your rights in our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.