It is nearly impossible to walk down the streets of New York City without seeing a scaffold, and in many instances, pedestrians are walking under the scaffolds even as construction workers walk above them performing repairs. Scaffolds are vital to the upkeep and continued growth of our great city, but they also come with inherent risks. Not only are they high above the ground, bringing with them a risk of falling, but they can also cause injury by collapsing if they are not properly constructed or inspected.
According to reports, the majority of construction workers frequently work atop scaffolds, which is why the regulations behind the safety of scaffolds are so strict. In order to conform with OSHA requirements, a scaffold must be able to support four times its maximum intended load, as well as the weight of itself, and a competent person must inspect the scaffolds. This person should also supervise the movement, erection and other such alterations of the scaffold should such actions occur.
Thanks to New York Labor Law section 240, construction workers have even more protections from the dangers of construction accidents suffered by scaffolds. It is often called the scaffold law, and it imposes absolute liability on instances in which negligence is displayed by contractors or owners of a work site. What this essentially means is that if adequate safety and care were not displayed and a worker suffers an injury, the contractor or work site owner will likely be held liable for the injuries, even if the worker himself was displaying negligence before the injury.
Workers' compensation benefits are extremely important to construction workers, and scaffolds are a significant reason for that. Because the risk of injury is so high, construction workers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of their workers' compensation benefits if they suffer an injury on the job.