Bricklayers Scaffold on a Work SiteScaffold-related injuries are some of the most common—and the most deadly—injuries on construction sites. Fortunately, there are several safety provisions to reduce these accidents and allow workers to recover their losses.

Under New York’s scaffold law, injured workers also have the right to sue general contractors for losses caused by a height-related injury. There are also specific rules regarding the unique scaffolds used by carpenters and bricklayers.

New York Scaffold Protections for Carpenters

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 must 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. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. Tit. 12 § 23-5.13 sets the following guidelines for carpenters' portable bracket scaffolds:

Supporting Brackets

All supporting brackets of a carpenters' portable bracket scaffold must have a triangular portable frame constructed of wood at least two inches by three inches in cross-section (or made of metal of equivalent strength). The members of these brackets must be properly fitted and securely joined.

Bracket Installation

Brackets must be attached to the wall of a building or other structure using a bolt at least five-eighths inch in diameter. These bolts must extend through the wall and be secured to support the required strength. If using five-eighths inch diameter bolts is impractical, brackets must be connected by whaler cleats or metal ties equivalent in strength to five-eighths inch diameter bolts. Spacing of the brackets may not exceed eight feet, center to center.


No more than two persons may occupy any given 16 feet of a carpenters' portable bracket scaffold at any time. In addition to occupants, the total weight of any supplies, tools, materials, or equipment placed on the scaffold must be less than 100 pounds.

Safety Railing

If the working platform of any carpenters' portable bracket scaffold is elevated more than seven feet above the ground or equivalent surface, the platform must be provided with an approved and compliant safety railing.

New York Regulations for Bricklayers’ Square Scaffolds

N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. Tit. 12 § 23-5.14 protects masonry workers by dictating the proper use of bricklayers' square scaffolds, including:

Square Construction

The squares of bricklayers' square scaffolds must be less than five feet in width by five feet in height and reinforced on both sides of each corner with gusset braces at least one inch thick. All squares must have braces measuring at least one inch by eight inches on both sides, extending from the center of each member to the center of the adjacent member (or otherwise arranged to secure the rigidity of the square). The minimum specifications of bricklayers' square scaffolds cannot be less than:

  • Bearers or horizontal members - 2” x 6"
  • Legs - 2” x 6"
  • Braces at corners - 1" x 6"
  • Braces diagonally from center frames - 1" x 6"

Scaffold Construction

Squares must not be set more than five feet apart for medium-duty scaffolds and not more than eight feet apart for light-duty scaffolds. One-inch by eight-inch diagonal bracing, extending from the bottom of one square to the top of the adjacent square, must be included on the front and back of every bricklayer's square scaffold.


The platform planks on these scaffolds must be not less than two inches in thickness, full size. The ends of the planks must overlap the backs of the squares, and at least three squares must support each plank. All platform planks must extend beyond the edges of the squares by at least six inches but no more than 18 inches.


No bricklayers' square scaffold may have more than three tiers. When erected in tiers, scaffolds must be constructed so that each square is directly above another. Upper tiers must stand on continuous rows of planks laid across the next lower tier and nailed securely or otherwise secured to prevent displacement. These scaffolds must be erected on firm and level foundations equivalent to a surface of two-inch by nine-inch planking.

Speak to a Construction Accident Lawyer About Your Scaffold Injury

If you or someone you love was hurt on a square or bracket scaffold, the New York construction injury attorneys at Hofmann & Schweitzer could help you get the payment you deserve. Contact us today at (800) 362-9329 to tell us more, or learn about your rights in our FREE guide, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.


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