New York has many different provisions to protect workers using scaffolds to perform dangerous work. In addition to following OSHA scaffolding regulations, employers are also expected to follow New York Industrial Code provisions to protect employees working at height. Failure to follow these regulations may result in negligence claims and pain and suffering damages when mistakes cause injury.
Protection for Workers on Tubular Scaffolds 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 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 § 23-5.4 sets forth the following guidelines for tubular welded frame scaffolds:
- Secure bracing. All tubular welded frame scaffolds must be correctly and securely braced to hold vertical members together laterally. These braces must be lengths that automatically square and align the vertical members of such scaffolds and make them plumb, square, and rigid. Diagonal-horizontal bracing must be provided at every level where building or structure tie-ins are required.
- Continuous vertical cross-bracing. Tubular welded frame scaffolds erected after 1972 and over 26 feet high must have continuous vertical cross-bracing on the inboard and outboard sides of the scaffold.
- Tower bracing. If tower bracing is used, each separate tower must have continuous vertical cross-bracing for the full height on both the inboard and outboard sides. Adjacent towers must be tied together on both the inboard and outboard sides by continuous horizontal members extending the entire scaffold length.
- Scaffold frames. Coupling pins, sprockets, or other safe positive couplers must be used to connect scaffold frames at every vertical frame extension. Each leg shall have a positive lock or fastener to hold one frame member to the other vertically.
- Brackets. Brackets cannot be more than 30 inches in width and must be supported by the vertical members of the scaffold frames. Brackets on any side of a scaffold usually requiring a railing must have provisions made on the outer end for a safety railing post.
- Safety railing posts. A safety railing post installed on a tubular welded frame scaffold must fit into a frame leg (or fit over a coupling pin connected to the outer end) and be securely fastened to the end frame by a positive locking device.
- Deconstruction of floor arches. Before demolition begins, all debris and materials must be removed from any floor arches and other adjacent floor areas. Planks of at least two inches thick by nine inches in cross-section must be provided for workers to stand on and provide safe supports should the arches between the beams collapse.
- Metal trusses. Any metal trusses must have sufficient support for the platform planks between the scaffold frames and have a strength capacity to provide the required safety factor.
Regulations for Tube and Coupler Metal Scaffolds
State regulations also impose strength and construction requirements when using metal scaffolds made of tubes and couplers, including:
- Structural members. All structural members of these scaffolds must be steel tubing, and all vertical, horizontal, and diagonal members must be securely fastened with approved safe locking devices to form positive connections. Grey cast iron fittings are prohibited in such scaffolds.
- Runners. All tube and coupler metal scaffolds must have a ledger or runner of metal tubing locked end-to-end to form a continuous length secured to each intersecting post of the scaffold. Runners shall be placed not more than six feet, six inches on centers vertically, and fasten with approved couplers or clamps.
- Bearers or putlogs. Bearers or putlogs of these scaffolds must be installed transversely between the posts, securely coupled to the posts, and bear on the runner couplers. Each bearer or putlog shall be of sufficient length to provide an overhang of at least four inches, but not more than 12 inches, beyond the inside and outside posts.
- Bracing. Cross bracing must be installed across the width of every tube and coupler scaffold at every third set of posts horizontally and every fourth runner vertically. Longitudinal bracing must be installed near the base of the first outer post upward at a 45-degree angle to the extreme top of the scaffold.
Let Us Advise You After Construction Site Accident
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.