New York Labor Law 240—the Scaffold Law

NY Labor Law 200, 240 and 241

Under New York Labor Law 240, also known as the Scaffold Law, construction workers have additional protection against falls from heights. In many instances, they can sue property owners and contractors when they have been injured due to unsafe work conditions.

Labor Law 240

Labor Law 240 addresses working at heights that are more 20 feet from the ground or floor. Building owners and contractors have control over the work being done and must meet the safety requirements. By comparison, workers do not have the same degree of control over work conditions.

Scaffolding or staging higher than 20 feet must have a safety rail that is attached, braced, bolted or secured. It must rise at least 34 inches above the floor or main portions of the scaffolding or staging. It must be fastened so it does not sway from the building or structure.

In addition, the scaffolding must be able to bear four times the maximum weight that is being used on it.

Types of Equipment that Owners or Contractors Must Provide

Contractors or owners are responsible for providing the safety equipment for construction work. Such equipment includes:

  • Scaffolding
  • Hoists
  • Stays
  • Ladders
  • Slings
  • Hangers
  • Blocks
  • Pulleys
  • Braces
  • Irons
  • Ropes
  • Other safety equipment

Types of Construction Work Covered by NY Labor Law 240

Property owners, their agents and all contractors are liable under the scaffold law. The exception is one and two-family dwelling owners, who contract for work but do not control the work directly.

New York Labor Law 240 extends protection to construction workers doing the following types of work:

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  • Erection
  • Demotion
  • Repairing
  • Altering
  • Painting
  • Cleaning
  • Pointing of a building (replacing aged mortar between bricks)

The law applies when due to unsafe working conditions; workers are injured as a result of a fall from a ladder, scaffold or staging area. It also applies when debris or falling objects strike and injure a worker.

NY Labor Law 200 and 241

You often hear about NY Labor Law 240 in relation to Labor Laws 200 and 241.

NY Labor Law 200 addresses workplace safety in general. It requires that construction company owners and contractors take precautions to ensure that machinery, devices and equipment are safely positioned, operated and guarded. Construction company owners and contractors must also ensure areas are well lit to create a safe work environment. When inspection reveals that construction sites are unsafe, inspectors give written notification to correct the problems.

In such instances, receiving a notification points to negligence on the part of a third party in charge of a building site, machinery or device. Lawyers representing construction workers in third party lawsuits use evidence of negligence to prove their cases.

Labor Law 241 offers protection for pedestrians and people walking by construction sites. The law sets safety standards to keep debris or objects from falling and injuring people during construction. Labor Law 241 applies for construction, excavation or demolition work being done in cities with populations of less than a million people.

What to Do if You’re Injured in a Construction Accident

If you suffer from a serious injury while working at a construction site and believe the accident occurred due to unsafe work conditions, contact an experienced accident lawyer as soon as possible. If you were walking by a construction site and falling debris or a falling object harmed you, you should also speak with an attorney. The attorney can explain your rights and determine whether you have grounds to sue.

Call our Long Island law firm at (631) 547-8989 to arrange a free consultation. You may also contact us online.

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The Long Island Law Office of John Fazzini represents clients throughout New York City and surrounding areas, such as the Bronx, Brooklyn, Huntington Station, Brentwood, Central Islip, Huntington, Amityville, Woodbury, Northport, Commack, Dix Hills, Oyster Bay, Bayville, and Hauppauge; Suffolk County and Nassau County.

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