Worker Using a Power Tool on a Work Site

New York City construction workers have a higher risk of injury than employees in nearly any other industry. To make these workplaces as safe as possible, governmental agencies have set out specific standards to protect employees. When violations of the state law cause accidents, negligent parties could be subject to a construction injury lawsuit.

Tool and Machinery Regulations Under the NY Industrial Code

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. Part 23-1.10 specifically protects workers from injuries involving:

  • Unpowered hand tools. All edged tools (such as axes and chisels) must be kept sharpened, free from burrs and mushroomed heads, and discarded if handles become loose or split.
  • Shut-off malfunctions. All electric and pneumatic hand tools must have a functional cut-off switch located within easy reach of the operator. Except for the replacement of bits in electric drills, all electric and pneumatic hand tools must be disconnected from their power sources, air shut off, and the pressure in their hose lines released before adjustments or repairs are made.
  • Hose and electric lines. Any hoses and electric cables or wires must be guarded by location or by covering to protect workers from abrasions and tripping.
  • Improper grounding. Except for double-insulated portable hand tools, electrical hand tools must be properly grounded during use.
  • Lumber. Any lumber used to construct temporary structures must be fit for the intended purpose and not contain any defects, including large or loose knots, ring shakes, or other problems that could impair the strength of the lumber.
  • Nails. Nails must be driven to their full length, and shall be of the proper size, type, length, and number to provide adequate strength at all joints. Scaffolds may only be built using double-headed or screw-type nails.
  • Projections. All bolts, keys, set screws, and other projections on revolving equipment must either be countersunk or guarded by smooth, cylindrical safety sleeves to prevent accidental contact by persons. If projections cannot be mitigated, a stationary enclosure may be placed around shafts, pulleys, gears, collars and couplings as long as the openings in such enclosures measure less than one-half inch in diameter.
  • Power-driven saws. All portable, power-driven, hand-operated saws that do not have tables (except chain saws and circular brush saws) must have a fixed guard above the base plate to completely protect the operator from contact with the saw blade when the saw is active. These saws must also have a movable self-adjusting guard below the base plate to completely cover the saw blade to the teeth when the saw blade is removed from the cut.
  • Ripping saws. Any table circular saw used for ripping must have a spreader securely fastened in position as well as an effective device to prevent material kickback.
  • Sprockets or gears. All sprockets and gears which are not protected by location or design must be completely enclosed or be equipped with band guards and side flanges to prevent accidental contact.
  • Belts and pulleys. All non-conveyor belts, pulleys, and flywheels which are less than seven feet above the work surface where persons pass must have all moving parts guarded by safety railings or substantial enclosures.
  • Friction-discs. Any friction-disc drives which do not have band guards with side flanges or are not guarded by design or location shall be completely enclosed to prevent accidental contact.
  • Wire rope. Any nip points between power winches or sheaves and wire ropes must be guarded by substantial enclosures or by safety railings.

Get the Help You Need After a Construction Accident

If you or someone you love has been injured on a New York construction site, our legal team can investigate your claim and work to get you the compensation you are owed. Contact Hofmann & Schweitzer today or learn more about your rights in our FREE brochure, 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.