OSHA Scaffold Safety Standards in New York, NY

construction worker on a scaffold

How Scaffold Accidents May Occur?

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established regulations regarding construction site scaffolds. If a contractor or other party failed to comply with these standards and you were injured in a construction accident, you could be entitled to compensation.

If you or someone you love was harmed in a construction accident and someone other than your employer was to blame, you could be entitled to receive damages if the third party falls outside of the workers’ compensation system. The attorneys at David Resnick & Associates, PC, are skilled at evaluating construction accident claims and can help you determine whether the negligence of a third party caused or contributed to your injuries. Call our firm today at 877-815-6053 or use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your case.

We serve construction accident victims in the Manhattan, and all of New York City, including Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Long Island.

Here are the highlights of OSHA’s Scaffold Safety Standards, as found online at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10916

OSHA Scaffold Safety Standards

  • 1926.450 Title: Scope, application and definitions applicable to this subpart.
  • 1926.450(a) Scope and application. This subpart applies to all scaffolds used in workplaces covered by this part. It does not apply to crane or derrick suspended personnel platforms. The criteria for aerial lifts are set out exclusively in § 1926.453.
  • 1926.451General requirements. “Capacity”
  • 1926.451(a)(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (a)(2), (a)(3), (a)(4), (a)(5) and (g) of this section, each scaffold and scaffold component shall be capable of supporting, without failure, its own weight and at least 4 times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to it.

Direct connections to roofs and floors, and counterweights used to balance adjustable suspension scaffolds, shall be capable of resisting at least 4 times the tipping moment imposed by the scaffold operating at the rated load of the hoist, or 1.5 (minimum) times the tipping moment imposed by the scaffold operating at the stall load of the hoist, whichever is greater.

Each suspension rope, including connecting hardware, used on non-adjustable suspension scaffolds shall be capable of supporting, without failure, at least 6 times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to that rope.

  • 1926.451(a)(4) Each suspension rope, including connecting hardware, used on adjustable suspension scaffolds shall be capable of supporting, without failure, at least 6 times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to that rope with the scaffold operating at either the rated load of the hoist, or 2 (minimum) times the stall load of the hoist, whichever is greater.

The stall load of any scaffold hoist shall not exceed 3 times its rated load.

  • 1926.451(a)(6) Scaffolds shall be designed by a qualified person and shall be constructed and loaded in accordance with that design. Non-mandatory Appendix A to this subpart contains examples of criteria that will enable an employer to comply with paragraph (a) of this section.
  • 1926.451(b) “Scaffold platform construction.”
  • 1926.451(b)(1) Each platform on all working levels of scaffolds shall be fully planked or decked between the front uprights and the guardrail supports as follows:
  • 1926.451(b)(1)(i) Each platform unit (e.g., scaffold plank, fabricated plank, fabricated deck, or fabricated platform) shall be installed so that the space between adjacent units and the space between the platform and the uprights is no more than 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, except where the employer can demonstrate that a wider space is necessary (for example, to fit around uprights when side brackets are used to extend the width of the platform).
  • 1926.451(b)(1)(ii) Where the employer makes the demonstration provided for in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, the platform shall be planked or decked as fully as possible and the remaining open space between the platform and the uprights shall not exceed 9 1/2 inches (24.1 cm).

Exception to paragraph (b)(1): The requirement in paragraph (b)(1) to provide full planking or decking does not apply to platforms used solely as walkways or solely by employees performing scaffold erection or dismantling. In these situations, only the planking that the employer establishes is necessary to provide safe working conditions is required.

Except as provided in paragraphs (b)(2)(i) and (b)(2)(ii) of this section, each scaffold platform and walkway shall be at least 18 inches (46 cm) wide.

Each ladder jack scaffold, top plate bracket scaffold, roof bracket scaffold, and pump jack scaffold shall be at least 12 inches (30 cm) wide. There is no minimum width requirement for boatswains’ chairs.

Note to paragraph (b)(2)(i): Pursuant to an administrative stay effective November 29, 1996 and published in the Federal Register on November 25, 1996, the requirement in paragraph (b)(2)(i) that roof bracket scaffolds be at least 12 inches wide is stayed until November 25, 1997 or until rulemaking regarding the minimum width of roof bracket scaffolds has been completed, whichever is later.

  • 1926.451(b)(2)(ii) Where scaffolds must be used in areas that the employer can demonstrate are so narrow that platforms and walkways cannot be at least 18 inches (46 cm) wide, such platforms and walkways shall be as wide as feasible, and employees on those platforms and walkways shall be protected from fall hazards by the use of guardrails and/or personal fall arrest systems.
  • 1926.451(b)(3) Except as provided in paragraphs (b)(3)(i) and (ii) of this section, the front edge of all platforms shall not be more than 14 inches (36 cm) from the face of the work, unless guardrail systems are erected along the front edge and/or personal fall arrest systems are used in accordance with paragraph (g) of this section to protect employees from falling.
  • 1926.451(b)(3)(i) The maximum distance from the face for outrigger scaffolds shall be 3 inches (8 cm);
  • 1926.451(b)(3)(ii) The maximum distance from the face for plastering and lathing operations shall be 18 inches (46 cm).
  • 1926.451(b)(4) Each end of a platform, unless cleated or otherwise restrained by hooks or equivalent means, shall extend over the centerline of its support at least 6 inches (15 cm).
  • 1926.451(b)(5)(i) Each end of a platform 10 feet or less in length shall not extend over its support more than 12 inches (30 cm) unless the platform is designed and installed so that the cantilevered portion of the platform is able to support employees and/or materials without tipping, or has guardrails which block employee access to the cantilevered end.
  • 1926.451(b)(5)(ii) Each platform greater than 10 feet in length shall not extend over its support more than 18 inches (46 cm), unless it is designed and installed so that the cantilevered portion of the platform is able to support employees without tipping, or has guardrails which block employee access to the cantilevered end.
  • 1926.451(b)(6) On scaffolds where scaffold planks are abutted to create a long platform, each abutted end shall rest on a separate support surface. This provision does not preclude the use of common support members, such as “T” sections, to support abutting planks, or hook on platforms designed to rest on common supports.
  • 1926.451(b)(7) On scaffolds where platforms are overlapped to create a long platform, the overlap shall occur only over supports, and shall not be less than 12 inches (30 cm) unless the platforms are nailed together or otherwise restrained to prevent movement.
  • 1926.451(b)(8) At all points of a scaffold where the platform changes direction, such as turning a corner, any platform that rests on a bearer at an angle other than a right angle shall be laid first, and platforms which rest at right angles over the same bearer shall be laid second, on top of the first platform.
  • 1926.451(b)(9) Wood platforms shall not be covered with opaque finishes, except that platform edges may be covered or marked for identification. Platforms may be coated periodically with wood preservatives, fire-retardant finishes, and slip-resistant finishes; however, the coating may not obscure the top or bottom wood surfaces.
  • 1926.451(b)(10) Scaffold components manufactured by different manufacturers shall not be intermixed unless the components fit together without force and the scaffold’s structural integrity is maintained by the user. Scaffold components manufactured by different manufacturers shall not be modified in order to intermix them unless a competent person determines the resulting scaffold is structurally sound.
  • 1926.451(b)(11) Scaffold components made of dissimilar metals shall not be used together unless a competent person has determined that galvanic action will not reduce the strength of any component to a level below that required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section.