It takes an enormous amount of moving parts to build each new structure in our skyline, and modern construction methods are making building work more efficient with each passing day. However, each one of these innovations carries additional safety risks. Fortunately, the New York Department of Labor has created numerous safety guidelines that apply to certain types of materials or equipment.
Catch platforms are one of the many installations that can help both employee safety and efficiency. Designed to streamline the vertical movement of loose materials, these platforms can stop serious falls from becoming fatal on a multi-level job site.
New York State Regulations for Catch Platforms on Construction Sites
Under Section 241(6) of NY Labor Law 241, site owners and contractors must comply with any rules made by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor to make construction sites as safe as possible for workers. The Department of Labor has since created Part 23 of the New York Industrial Code, which includes regulations for the use of catch platforms.
Under Part 23-2.6, the law requires catch platforms:
- To be used when construction of exterior masonry walls of a structure (except chimneys) is performed from a floor or scaffold inside the structure, and such floor or scaffold is more than 35 feet above the adjoining ground or equivalent surface.
- To be installed along the exterior face of the building not more than 20 feet below the floor or scaffold platform from which the work is being performed.
- To be at least 5 feet wide and have an outer edge at least 6 inches higher than the inner surface.
- To be equipped with outriggers of at least 2" x 10" and spaced not more than 8 feet apart.
- To be constructed of 2" planking (or more).
- To have all planking securely fastened to the platform.
- To have end supports lapped by 12" (or more).
- To have a barricade or fence on all open sides of the catch platform, OR have planks whose minimum cross-sectional dimensions shall be 2" x 9" (or material of equivalent strength) having one dimension at least 9 inches.
- To have no more than a 2" space between the inner edge of the catch platform and the face of the wall of the structure.
Why Are Rules for Catch Platform Use So Important?
The measurements used in these guidelines aren’t arbitrary. They have been carefully calculated to avoid breaking when catching a fall or spilling unexpected loads. If these rules aren’t followed precisely, construction workers may still be at risk of injury even when they believe the catch platform is fit for use.
Consider just a few ways catch platforms could fall short of regulations:
- The wall-facing end of a platform has a gap nearly 4 inches wide. A worker accidentally drops his hammer, which falls through the gap and onto a worker passing below.
- A section of a catch platform has less than the recommended thickness. A worker stumbles off of an open floor and falls on the faulty section, smashing through the platform intended to save his life.
- Several boards are not securely fastened to the platform. As winds pick up on the higher levels of an unfinished skyscraper, a board is picked up and becomes airborne, striking three workers on a scaffold.
- Instead of keeping the catch platform clear, a contractor piles unused materials on it to make them easier to reach. A worker above suddenly drops a pipe, which bounces off the full catch platform and onto the pavement below.
- In order to avoid the placement and installation of a scaffold, an employer encourages workers to use the catch platform to perform work on the facade or as a walkway between construction areas. Unused to the pitch of the platform, a worker loses his footing and falls.
- A catch platform is much too short on a corner of the building. As debris falls from the roof, it overflows the shortened section of the platform and piles onto a nearby staircase. A worker descending the stairs trips and slides down the concrete steps.
Have You Been Injured While Working On A Construction Site?
If you've been hurt while working at your construction job you need to speak with an experienced construction accident attorney as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our New York City law office directly at 212.465.8840 to schedule your free consultation.