Construction sites are bustling as workers build, repair and renovate structures. These workers face numerous hazards daily.
One of the most common and dangerous risks is falling from heights. In New York, where construction is a thriving industry, safety regulations play a vital role in mitigating these risks.
Lack of fall protection
One of the primary reasons construction workers suffer falls is the absence of proper fall protection measures. New York Labor Law Section 240, also known as the “Scaffold Law,” mandates that construction site owners and general contractors provide appropriate safety equipment, including personal fall arrest systems, guardrails and safety nets when working at heights.
Unsecured ladders and scaffolds
Improperly secured ladders and scaffolds are another leading cause of falls in the construction industry. The state’s law requires regular inspections of these structures to ensure correct maintenance and setup.
Slippery and uneven surfaces
Slick surfaces can make construction sites treacherous, especially when working at heights. New York law, under Section 241(6), imposes strict liability on site owners and contractors for maintaining safe work areas. This responsibility includes ensuring surfaces are free from hazards that can lead to falls.
Employers must provide comprehensive safety training to their workers, including how to use fall protection equipment properly and how to navigate elevated workspaces. The law requires that employers comply with these training requirements to ensure the safety of their workforce.
Weather can contribute to construction site accidents, particularly during the winter months. Icy, wet surfaces can make it difficult for workers to maintain balance while working at heights. Employers must take appropriate precautions during adverse weather to minimize the risks.
In 2021, 46.2% of all fatal falls, slips and trips happened in the construction industry. A construction worker who suffers injuries after falling on a job site has the right to seek compensation under New York law. Workers injured in such incidents may be able to recover damages for doctor bills, lost wages and pain and suffering through legal actions.