In addition to OSHA regulations and state-mandated safety laws for workers on scaffolds, the New York Industrial Code has specific provisions to protect employees from falls on construction sites. Employers and site owners who don’t adhere to these regulations could be liable for negligence and pain and suffering damages in an injury claim.

Protection for Workers on Suspended Scaffolds Under the NY Industrial Code

Suspended Scaffold on a New York City Construction SiteNY 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 § 23-5.8 sets forth the following guidelines.

Guidelines for Suspended Scaffolds

  • Inspection. Load-carrying parts must be inspected for adequacy of anchorage and support before the scaffold is installed.
  • Suspension connection. No parapet, curtain wall, or similar part of a structure may be used to support the roof hooks or irons of a suspended scaffold unless certified as safe by a licensed professional engineer in the State of New York.
  • Installation and use. A designated person must directly supervise the installation and horizontal change in position of a suspended scaffold. Anyone who applies horizontal force to the platform while located more than 10 feet above the ground must use an approved safety belt with a lifeline.
  • Hoisting. All manual or power-operated hoisting machines used for suspended scaffolds (other than block and tackle) must be approved. At least four turns of the suspension wire rope shall remain on the drum at all times, and the end of the rope must be adequately secured to the drum. Fiber rope must not be used on hoisting drums.
  • Tie-ins. Each suspended scaffold must be tied to the structure at every working level. Window cleaners' anchors cannot be used for tie-ins. The planking of all platforms must overlap and either be nailed in place or otherwise secured against displacement.

Section 23-5.9 - Two-Point Suspension Scaffolds

Two-point suspension scaffold platforms must be between 20 and 32 inches in width, of sufficient size to properly fit the hangers, and securely fastened by U-bolts which pass around the hangers. Hangers must have supports for guard rails, intermediate rails, and toeboards and be able to sustain four times the maximum rated load.

Two-point suspension scaffolds must also have compliant:

  • Roof irons. Roof irons or hooks must be made of mild steel or wrought iron, be securely anchored, and have tie-backs of at least three-quarter-inch manila rope.
  • Safety railings. All open sides of two-point suspension scaffolds must have safety railings and wire mesh installed from the toeboards to the top railings. Workers on any two-point suspension scaffold must be provided with and required to use an approved safety belt or harness together with a separate hanging lifeline.
  • Suspension ropes. Wire rope used in hoisting machines must be at least five-sixteenth inches in diameter and capable of supporting at least six times the intended load. All fiber rope used for these scaffolds must be at least equivalent in strength to three-quarter-inch first-grade manila rope.

Section 23-5.10 - Multiple-Point Suspension Scaffolds

Multiple-point suspension scaffolds, including all supports and fastenings, must be designed by a professional engineer licensed to practice in the State of New York. A detailed inspection of beams and bearers must be made before installation, with inspections repeated at intervals of no more than 30 days during scaffold use.

In addition, these scaffolds have strict rules regarding:

  • Installation and design. Outrigger beams and platform bearers of these scaffolds must be made of structural grade metal. Supporting points for outrigger beams must be level, smooth, and able to provide firm seats. Outrigger beams must be adequately anchored and braced to prevent sliding or tipping.
  • Overhead protection. Platform supports must provide sufficient headroom for easy passage throughout their lengths. They must have proper overhead protection where there is a hazard from falling objects or materials.
  • Dismantling. When a multiple-point suspension scaffold is being dismantled, each person involved must use an approved safety belt or harness together with a lifeline unless the scaffold platform has been lowered intact to the ground.

Let Us Advise You After a Scaffold Injury

If you or someone you love suffered an injury on a 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 discuss your next steps or learn more 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.