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Scaffolding dangers and the New York Scaffold Law

New York City and the surrounding area have experienced a building boom in recent years, but the increase in construction has also produced an increase in accidents, injuries and death.

Construction workers who spend their days at high elevations are exposed to the possibility of falls, which is why they have legal protection under the New York Scaffold Law.

An incident in the Bronx

The Building Department issued a record 168,243 construction permits in 2017, and in that year, there were also 45,242 hardhat workers. Two of those workers sustained serious injuries at a 12-story apartment building project when they fell through poorly built scaffolding. The workers fell 20 feet through a gap made by three missing boards. Both suffered neck and head injuries. The Building Department put out a partial stop-work order after discovering not only that were there missing boards, but also that the scaffolding did not have end railings and neither of the injured men could produce training cards for scaffolding work.

Further training ordered

In 2016, the Building Department hired 140 new inspectors, and in October 2018, the mayor gave approval for a requirement that compels hardhat workers to take more training. These efforts have resulted in fewer penalties and safer conditions, but with so many construction products underway, accidents and the accompanying injuries and fatalities continue to happen.

About the Scaffolding Law

Officially, the New York Scaffold Law is Labor Law Section 240. Contractors and company owners must ensure the proper construction and mounting of scaffolds and that workers do not exceed the weight limit for scaffolding equipment. A safety coordinator for the general contractor in the 2017 Bronx accident confirmed that the two injured workers had built the scaffolding themselves, and it was not up to code.

Fair compensation

In addition to plank problems, support failures are often to blame for accidents with scaffolding. Anyone injured due to equipment failure or noncompliance with appropriate safety measures can expect full and fair compensation from the responsible party to cover medical expenses and more.