New Scaffold Law

SCAFFOLD INJURIES, ACCIDENTS & DEATH
The Department of Labor estimates that over half of the construction industry works on scaffolds, which means close to 2.3 million workers. These scaffold workers risk serious injury or even death every day at their jobs. While there are laws in place which require certain scaffold standards, these by no means guarantee a safe day for workers on their construction site. Frequently, mistakes and even negligence occurs on construction sites. Between 1 in 5 injuries that occur on a construction site involve a scaffold related accident. These accidents affect workers, and everyday people passing by the site. Serious scaffold injuries typically involve a plank slipping, a worker being struck by a falling object, and a scaffold support just giving way to the weight of the worker and other objects on the scaffold.

Are you aware of the new scaffold law and how it can affect your claim? Our New York scaffolding injury attorney can help you understand the new scaffold law and how it can benefit your case today.

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Scaffold accidents occur all the time and frequently involve non English speaking workers (immigrant workers). One such accident involved, a suspended scaffold that plunged 40 floors to the ground crushing a car and killing 3 innocent women. Another recent scaffold accident involved several Mexican immigrant workers who were standing on a suspended scaffold when it collapsed 4 stories plunging the workers to their deaths. These incidents could have been avoided if the scaffold safety regulations were properly followed.

Due to a building boom in New York City, more scaffold related and construction accident injuries and deaths are occurring. Mayor Bloomberg stated that "The unprecedented growth in our city is great news for our economy and for the tens of thousands of New Yorkers working in the building trades...But as the number of construction and maintenance projects in the City has risen, tragically, so too has the number of scaffold accidents." The most recent statistics from the year leading up to 2006 show a 60 percent increase in deaths as compared to the year before it. Better protection is possible and it can save thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths a year. In addition safe scaffolds are good for business because they can save over $90 million in lost work days.

Recent legislation was passed to help protect workers from scaffold accidents. There are Laws that already exist which provide for the scaffold footing or anchorage to be secure and stable, and the scaffold must be constructed to bear four times the maximum weight. Specific rules exist depending on whether the scaffolding is light, medium or heavy duty. A light scaffold may not be loaded with more than 25 pounds per live load per square foot, while a medium or heavy scaffold can bear no more than 50 or 75 pounds respectively. There are also planking rules, maintenance and repair rules, lumber rules, safety railings and proper overhead protection depending on the height of the scaffold. Despite these intricate rules, workers and pedestrians continue to get injured and killed.

Are you aware of the new scaffold law and how it can affect your claim? Our New York scaffolding injury attorney can help you understand the new scaffold law and how it can benefit your case today!

As a result, effective November 20, 2006, Local Law 52 of 2005 went into effect in an attempt to further protect workers on scaffolds as well as the public. With the passing of the new law, permit requirements have become more specific. A permit must be obtained and a licensed professional must submit drawings for any scaffolding that is 40 or more feet tall. If these requirements are not met, violations will be issued. Additionally there are specific requirements for people that may install, dismantle, repair, maintain or modify supported scaffolds. A person may not do any of these things without a supported scaffold certificate of completion. The course is modeled after a curriculum created by the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and must be delivered by a registered New York State Department of Labor apprenticeship training program or by an educational institution that is chartered, licensed or registered by the New York State Department of Education. Instructors must be certified under the OSHA provisions for construction safety. 32 hours are required to complete the course and if it was done more than 2 years ago, an 8 hour refresher program must be completed and after official completion this certificate must be available to Department personnel upon request.

Restrictions also apply to supported scaffold users who must also receive a user certificate with its own training requirements. A worker must take a four hour program which may be delivered by New York State Department of Labor apprenticeship program or by an educational institution chartered, licensed or registered by the New York State Department of Education whose instructors must also be certified under OSHA provisions for construction safety.

The New Supported Scaffold Law is a welcome change long overdue in the construction industry and whose purpose is to make construction sites safe for pedestrians and workers alike. This new law was enacted in an effort to minimize the number of accidents on scaffolds which result in serious injury or death. Hopefully, the new laws will further protect workers and pedestrians from such catastrophic and needless events.

Are you aware of the new scaffold law and how it can affect your claim? Our New York scaffolding injury attorney can help you understand the new scaffold law and how it can benefit your case today!

We stand ready to help you in every way. Remember to call an experienced scaffolding accident attorney to learn your legal rights.

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Michael Gunzburg is a New York Scaffolding Injury Attorney serving the New York Metropolitan area, including New York City, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland and Orange County.