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New York's 'Scaffold Law' and how it affects construction workers

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Jul 30, 2015 6:39:56 PM

If you had to guess, how many construction workers do you think work on scaffolding, and how often do you think they have to be up on those metal structures? Would you guess 30 percent of construction workers? 40 percent? Those seem like reasonable guesses, right?

Well it turns out that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) looked into it, and they found that 65 percent of construction workers "frequently" work on scaffolding. That's an incredible figure that let's you know just how brave these construction workers have to be to frequently work in a precarious position.

New York City is constantly undergoing renovations and allowing new buildings to be constructed or worked on in some fashion. Many of these buildings require contractors to deploy scaffolding to allow their workers to reach the difficult spots that they need to work on.

Scaffolding isn't just important to New York's ability to construct new buildings and update old ones -- it's also hugely important to New York law. One of the laws on the books is called Labor Law Section 240, and it is often called the "Scaffold Law." This law says that employers have "absolute liability" when someone is injured while working on scaffolding.

Contractors and work site managers lament this law and say it drives up costs; but in reality, this law protects the people who are in extremely dangerous positions on a "frequent" basis. Thanks to absolute liability, employers are legally liable for a worker that was hurt while working on scaffolding.

Source: FindLaw, "Scaffold Injuries," Accessed July 30, 2015

Topics: Construction Accidents


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