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Scaffold Safety Laws & Scaffold Injury Lawsuits in NYC

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Scaffold Safety Laws & Scaffold Injury Lawsuits in NY

Scaffolding is a temporary structure made of metal poles and wooden planks that is placed on the side of a building during construction jobs involving the building, take down, cleaning, repair, or maintenance of that building. Often, materials and tools are left on scaffolding, causing falling object and trip hazards. Falls are the number one biggest and most common killer in the construction industry and much of this is in part due to negligence and accidents that occur with scaffolding. If you have been hurt or lost a loved one due to a scaffolding accidents, Proner & Proner can help handle the legal side of things and get you the compensation you deserve while you recover. Contact our offices today to schedule a free consultation for your potential scaffold injury claim.

Contact Proner & Proner today for free initial legal consultation on your scaffolding accident case.

Common Causes Scaffolding Accidents in New York City

Scaffolding accidents usually occur due to construction workers not following proper procedures and OSHA regulations when constructing, maintaining, and deconstructing them. When workers don’t follow proper procedures, they often endanger the lives of those around them. The most common causes of scaffolding accidents include:

  • Failure to construct scaffolding to hold weight evenly, staying stabilized, or stay in place
  • Leaving tools or materials in the walking path of scaffolding, obstructing movement of others
  • Overloading the scaffolding beyond its weight carrying capacity
  • Failure to maintain and inspect scaffolding regularly to keep the structure secure and safe
  • Improper training of employees on how to construct, maintain, and/or deconstruct scaffolding
  • Driving construction vehicles into scaffolding by accident
  • Environmental factors including toxic gas, high winds, extreme temperatures, etc.

Common Injuries Associated with Those Injured in a Scaffolding Accident in Queens and Brooklyn, NY

Most injuries sustained in regards to scaffolding are due to falls or collapsing scaffolding falling and striking a construction worker from below. Falls, especially from such great heights of towering buildings in New York City, are often fatal. When they are not, chances are that a worker will sustain serious injuries with often permanent physical consequences such damaged muscles, brain issues, or paralysis.

A full list of the most common injuries sustained from scaffolding accidents include:

  • Broken or Shattered Bones – usually legs, ankle, feet, arms, hands, or the spine
  • Severe Bruising and Abrasions
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries or Concussion
  • Severe Limb Damage – often resulting in amputation
  • Paralysis – Full or partial.
  • Coma
  • Death

OHSA New York Regulations and Requirements Regarding Scaffolding in Construction Zones

The OHSA has an extensive list of requirements and rules that all contractors, employers, and construction employees MUST follow. As aforementioned, most scaffolding accidents are due to violations of these rules. A full detailed publication on all rules and regulations can be found here.

Highlights of the OSHA scaffolding requirements and regulations in New York:

  1. Fall protection or fall arrest systems—“Each employee more than 10 feet above a lower level shall be protected from falls by guardrails or a fall arrest system, except those on single-point and two-point adjustable suspension scaffolds. Each employee on a single-point and two-point adjustable suspended scaffold shall be protected by both a personal fall arrest system and a guardrail.” 1926.451(g)(1)
  2. Guardrail Height—“The height of the toprail for scaffolds manufactured and placed in service after January 1, 2000 must be between 38 inches (0.9 meters) and 45 inches (1.2 meters). The height of the toprail for scaffolds manufactured and placed in service before January 1, 2000 can be between 36 inches (0.9 meters) and 45 inches (1.2 meters).” 1926.451(g)(4)(ii)
  3. Cross Bracing—“When the crosspoint of cross bracing is used as a top rail, it must be between 38 inches (0.97 m) and 48 inches (1.3 meters) above the work platform.” 1926.451(g)(4)(xv)
  4. Midrails—“Midrails must be installed approximately halfway between the toprail and the platform surface. When a crosspoint of crossbracing is used as a midrail, it must be between 20 inches (0.5 meters) and 30 inches (0.8 m) above the work platform.” 1926.451(g)(4)
  5. Footings—“Support scaffold footings shall be level and capable of supporting the loaded scaffold. The legs, poles, frames, and uprights shall bear on base plates and mud sills.” 1926.451(c)(2)
  6. Platforms—“Supported scaffold platforms shall be fully planked or decked.” 1926.451(b)
  7. Guying, Ties, and Braces—“Supported scaffolds with a height-to-base of more than 4:1 shall be restained from tipping by guying, trying, bracing, or the equivalent.” 1926.451(c)(1)
  8. Capacity—“Scaffolds and scaffold components must support at least 4 times the maximum intended load. Suspension scaffold rigging must at least 6 times the intended load.” 1926.451(a)(1) and (3)
  9. Training—“Employers must train each employee who works on a scaffold on the hazards and the procedures to control the hazards.” 1926.454
  10. Inspections—“Before each work shift and after any occurrence that could affect the structural integrity, a competent person must inspect the scaffold and scaffold components for visible defects.” 1926.451(f)(3)
  11. Erecting and Dismantling—“When erecting and dismantling supported scaffolds, a competent person must determine the feasibility of providing a safe means of access and fall protection for these operations.” 1926.451(e)(9) & (g)(2)

OSHA’s scaffolding standard defines a competent person as “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions, which are unsanitary, hazardous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

New York Labor Law 240: “The Scaffolding Law”

New York State has a unique law, known as Labor Law section 240, also known as “the scaffolding law”, that protects construction workers from injuries suffered in scaffold falls. This law is so generous to the fallen construction worker that it allows him to sue for all his pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses, even in case of injured victim negligence. As long as someone else, for example a co-worker, or the boss, was somewhat at fault too, then the fallen construction worker generally gets full compensation from the general contractor, the owner of the worksite, or others.

Contact Proner & Proner Today for Professional Legal Assistance Regarding Your NYC Scaffolding Accident Injury Case

Falling from scaffolding is an often fatal experience, but if you are lucky enough to survive, there is still a lot of life destroying medical bills and a lifetime of potential pain and suffering to deal with afterwards. Proner & Proner understands how debilitating such injuries can be both physically and financially and can help fight your legal battle and get you the money you need to recover and get back to work. Our attorneys can help guide you through Workers’ Compensation procedures or help you sure when the insurance isn’t enough. Contact us online today for a free initial consultation regarding your scaffolding accident injury claim. We have offices in New York, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and throughout the state of New York. We have also represented clients suffering accidents throughout the United States.

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