NYC: Scaffold Safety Laws Signed

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed three bills that were written to enhance safety for suspended scaffold workers as directed by the Suspended Scaffold Worker Safety Task Force.

The bills require all suspended scaffolds – the type that hang from the roofs of tall buildings by ropes or other means, not the ones anchored on the ground – to be inspected daily and that a record of the inspection at the job site be made available to New York City Department of Buildings personnel.

Also, they require any person using or installing a suspended scaffold hung from a C-hook or outrigger beam to notify the Buildings Department at least 24 but no more than 48 hours prior to the start of their use or installation. If there is a first violation, a penalty of $500 will be imposed, and a second violation would cost an employer $1,250.

In addition, the bills authorize the Buildings Department to issue a stop-work order, effective for a 2-day minimum period, if employers don't notify the department if the rigger is unlicensed, if the workers lack certificates of fitness or if the rigger has not filed proper insurance or bonding documents.

An increased penalty schedule also has been set for the violations: $1,500 to $2,500 for not having a certificate of fitness, and $1,250 to $2,500 for not having a licensed rigger on site or lacking insurance.
All subsequent violations will range between $2,500 and $15,000, Bloomberg stated.

“As construction across the five boroughs has boomed over the past 5 years, unfortunately so has the number of scaffold accidents,” Bloomberg said. “Every construction-related injury or death is a tragedy, and the implementation of the task force recommendations and adoption of these bills will help minimize such tragedies by enhancing inspections, ensuring proper installation techniques and increasing penalties.”

According to Bloomberg, of the 29 construction deaths in 2006, 20 of those accidents involved suspended scaffolding. Of those 20 accidents, six workers were killed and five were injured.

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