Ladders and scaffolding are meant to prevent construction site accidents by stopping a worker’s fall. These temporary structures provide construction crews with a platform to stand on as they work on surfaces beyond arm’s reach. Safer than ladders, scaffolds often are used on construction sites, especially when the worker needs equipment, tools, or supplies.
While workers rely on ladders and scaffolding for the purpose of safety, these structures can prove dangerous if not properly constructed or maintained. Every year, thousands of construction workers suffer injuries due to collapses and falls. In fact, about 88 construction workers a year are killed in scaffolding accidents.
Known as the “Scaffold Law,” New York Labor Law Section 240 provides special protections for New York construction crews who work at heights. Under Section 240, workers must be provided with strong and secure scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes, and other necessary safety equipment to protect from falls, such as harnesses.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also has rules regarding scaffolding and ladders:
- Scaffolding must be provided for any individual doing work that cannot be performed from the ground, except in cases where a ladder is permitted.
- The anchorage or footing on ladders and scaffolding must be sound, rigid, and capable of carrying the maximum intended load without settling or slipping.
- Unstable objects should not be used to support scaffolding.
- Scaffolds and all scaffolding components must be able to support at least four times the maximum intended load without failure.
- Scaffolds and ladders should not be loaded in excess of the intended working load.
- Scaffolding must be constructed in a way that provides a barrier to protect from falls.
- Ladders and scaffolds must be maintained in safe condition.
- Ladders should not be placed on small scaffolds, especially mobile or “baker” scaffolds.
- Scaffolding must be visually inspected for defects before every work shift. Scaffolding also must be inspected after any event that could possibly affect the integrity of the scaffolding.
- Any ladders and scaffolding showing signs of weakness or damage must be immediately repaired and not used until repairs are completed.
- Scaffolding should not be used during storms or windy weather.
- Every employee using scaffolding must receive safety training.
According to OSHA, more than 70 percent of scaffolding accidents could have been prevented if the employer had complied with OSHA standards.
Employers behave negligently when they don’t take the legal steps for accident prevention. If a worker loses his life because of negligence, his family may be able to file a New York wrongful death claim. To learn more, contact the New York construction accident attorneys at Siegel & Coonerty.
If you or a loved one has sustained an injury in a scaffolding or ladder accident, then call Siegel & Coonerty at 212-532-0532. We’ll schedule a free consultation with one of our New York City personal injury lawyers. During the meeting, an attorney will listen to your story and come up with a personalized plan to help you get the fair and reasonable monetary compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.