What is the New York Scaffold Law?
on April 22, 2014on April 22, 2014
Construction sites, while constantly working to improve safety, are still one of the most dangerous worksites in the country. One of the primary causes of construction site accidents occurs due to the dangerous locations, including those at extreme heights.
In 1882, New York enacted a law imposing strict safety standards on high-altitude work. This law is often referred to as the “scaffold law” and it is codified as New York Labor Law section 240 and 241. The scaffold law requires safety precautions to be taken by property owners and contractors to protect employees working at significant heights. Further, the law imposes that an employer is absolutely and strictly liable for elevation-related injuries, which is anything over 18 inches off the ground.
The Scaffold Law also requires any scaffolding or staging that is more than 20 feet off the ground to meet certain safety measures, including safety rails and weight limits. Strict liability for injuries from heights means that the victim must only prove that the injury occurred and that the owner or contract was responsible for the worksite. In other words, the court does not review actual causation or whether the worker was at fault. Strict liability is typically only allowed in inherently dangerous situations.
Federal law also imposes workplace safety requirements. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establishes strict safety guidelines, conducts worksite visits and imposes fines for violations. As a result, an employer that fails to provide a safe worksite in New York can be held strictly liable for an elevation-related injury and OSHA can impose a fine if the employer also failed to provide proper safety equipment to the workers.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a fall at a construction site, let the personal injury attorneys at Slater, Tenaglia, Fritz & Hunt determine if the scaffold law or OSHA laws apply to your case.
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