Every construction site in New York City is protected by scaffolding laws. OSHA may set standards as to how scaffolds are erected and used, but the city’s laws determine who is liable for accidents when they occur.
What scaffolding laws do
New York City constantly has new construction projects going up. In 2015, over 80 million additional square feet of construction were added to the urban landscape. With these projects come increased risks of construction accidents. The city’s scaffolding laws protect construction workers and suggest ideal practices for safely constructing a building.
The New York Labor Law Section 240 is called the “Scaffolding Law” and protects workers who become injured on the job from falls and fallen debris. Section 241 focuses on increasing the safety of a worksite to prevent accidents. Under this law, most of the liability for construction accidents is placed on the construction companies and supervisors who know of the dangers that their workforce faces.
If a company fails to follow a regulation in the city’s scaffolding laws, the owner could be held liable for any accident that results in injury or death. However, being found liable does not automatically mean that a person is negligent. There are certain parts of the law that require careful interpretation.
Why scaffolding laws matter
Section 240 of New York’s construction law states that the building owner is responsible for any wrongful action that occurs due to damaged scaffolding. A company owner or supervisor must provide a safe workplace for scaffolding use or take responsibility in case of negligence. This means that injured workers may be able to seek compensation from the company or building owner.