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Is Scaffolding Safe to Walk Under in New York City?

Many New Yorkers do not think about it, but is it actually safe to walk under scaffolding in New York City?

Nearly all construction workers use scaffolding. New York law requires construction companies and property owners to follow regulations and safety codes when erecting scaffolding.

Unfortunately, not all construction companies follow those codes and regulations, which results in scaffolding accidents that cause injuries to construction workers and pedestrians walking underneath them.

But how safe is it to walk under scaffolding in New York City? Below, we will discuss what makes scaffolds dangerous for pedestrians when walking near or through construction sites.

Scaffolds are Dangerous When They Do Not Meet OSHA Requirements

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed special regulations for the erection, maintenance, inspection, and dismantling of scaffolds at construction sites.

Unfortunately, not all scaffolds meet OSHA requirements, which is evident fromthe list of most common OSHA violations in the United States. Under New York law, scaffolds must be built and erected on a solid foundation to ensure the safety of construction workers and pedestrians walking under scaffolding.

Once a scaffold is erected, the construction company should have a competent person inspect the scaffold every day to make sure that the structure is in a safe condition.

Is it Safe to Walk Under Scaffolding in NYC?

Whether or not it is safe to walk under scaffolding in New York City depends on two factors:

  • The scaffold’s compliance with all OSHA requirements and regulations; and
  • The presence of features that improve the safety of pedestrians and prevent scaffolding accidents.

In particular, construction companies can use the following two features to keep pedestrians safe when walking under scaffolds in New York City:

  • Debris netting. This feature prevents different kinds of debris, including nails, from falling on pedestrians walking under scaffolding. When debris falls from above, the netting will catch it.
  • Canopies, or overhead protection. These structures protect pedestrians from objects falling from heights as well as dust. People who walk through construction sites or under scaffolding are exposed to harmful dust in the air. A canopy can protect people who walk under scaffolds from dust particles.

Recovering Damages After a Scaffolding Accident in New York City

Following a scaffolding accident in New York City, the injured person may be entitled to compensation for their damages regardless of whether that person is a construction worker or pedestrian who was hurt while walking under the scaffold.

New York has a special law designed to protect construction workers from scaffold-related injuries. The law is called the “scaffolding law” –New York Labor Law Section 240 – and applies to falls from heights and objects falling from heights.

While Labor Law Section 240 is designed to protect construction workers, it does not offer protections for pedestrians who get injured in scaffolding accidents.

In most cases, injured pedestrians can sue construction companies and property owners for scaffolding accidents under the legal theory of premises liability.

Scaffolding structures not properly erected or secured and objects falling from scaffolds can cause devastating injuries and death to unsuspecting pedestrians walking under scaffolding.

If you have sustained injuries in a scaffolding accident, it is imperative to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer to recover damages for your injury. Contact theNew York City scaffolding accident lawyers at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman to discuss your particular case. Call 212-285-3300 for a free case evaluation.