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A look at scaffold law in New York

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2023 | Construction Accidents

Along with its history of tall buildings, New York also has an unfortunate history of construction accidents. This led to some early protections for workers — safeguards that still survive today.

One of these potential protections comes from a section in the labor law that specifically applies to scaffolding. It sets some explicit regulations which this article will discuss.

Railings on scaffolding

Guards are some of the simplest, most effective tools in preventing construction-related falls. The law is relatively specific when it comes to railings on a scaffold.

For any platform more than twenty feet off the ground that does not cover the entirety of an interior floor, there need to be adequate safety rails. The railings need to consist of sturdy material and they need correct fastening, allowing only space enough for the delivery of materials. Finally, railings need to be at least 34 inches from the platform’s flooring or main portions.

Stability and strength

Excessive motion also could lead to a fall. In addition to safety rails, scaffolding needs to attach firmly to the building or structure without swaying.

However, the most horrifying prospect of scaffolding is its potential to collapse entirely, taking all materials and workers down with it. The law mandates that all scaffolds must have the strength to bear four times the maximum operating weight in order to avoid this eventuality.

These laws only work to protect people if construction companies comply. Unfortunately, not all do so willingly. It sometimes takes civil legal action to get them to step up and take responsibility for their failures to provide adequate minimum safety per state mandate.


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