If you work construction in New York City, you more than likely spend some time on scaffolding. The law requires the site foreman to provide you with safety equipment, and to properly erect and routinely inspect the scaffold in order to prevent you from falling. Unfortunately, not all construction companies or foremen meet these requirements, which puts your life at risk.
What does the law say about working on a scaffold?
The law requires that you do the following if you work on a scaffold:
- You must always wear a safety harness.
- You must always use an individual lifeline.
- You must have access to a secure anchor point apart from the outrigger tiebacks.
- You must attend the class on scaffold safety training.
- You must receive the Certificate of Completion from the class.
- You can anonymously report any safety violations you see.
In addition, the law requires the following steps:
- All mechanical equipment, including the brakes and motors, requires routine checks.
- Prior to operation at the site, conduct an equipment check and perform any required routine maintenance.
- Train workers to deal with on-site mechanical issues, which might also help ensure a platform does not go vertical.
- Ensure safety mechanisms and emergency brakes remain in place. If any fail to function properly, keep workers off the scaffold.
- Be aware that inclement weather increases safety risks on scaffolds.
Even when you, your employer and supervisors follow these rules, you still might fall. Many falls from scaffolding come with serious injuries. Even if medical personnel do not consider your injuries life threatening, they could still require a lengthy recovery period. In some cases, you end up with lifelong repercussions from your injuries.
At a minimum, workers’ compensation benefits should cover your medical expenses and a portion of your income. Depending on the length of your recovery, you might also receive temporary disability benefits. If you suffer permanent injuries, you might receive permanent disability benefits. Because of your injuries, doing the same work you did prior to the fall becomes impossible. Workers’ compensation benefits allow for other possible benefits such as vocational retraining in order to help you find employment in another field or another area of construction.
You could easily become frustrated with the process and might encounter resistance when applying for the benefits you need. You might benefit from seeing an attorney who routinely practices in this field. He or she will advocate on your behalf to get you the benefits you need in order to pay your bills and take care of your family despite your injuries.