Four Things You Should Know About New York’s Scaffold Law

Falls are the leading cause of construction accident fatalities in New York City and nationwide, accounting for a third of all deaths in the industry. Construction sites present a number of fall hazards for various laborers and construction workers including ironworkers, steelworkers, painters, bricklayers, electricians, etc. Most workers on construction sites — nearly 75% — work on scaffolding or platforms.

New York’s Scaffold Law, Section 240 New York Labor Law, puts the responsibility for the safety of scaffolding, hoists, ladders and other equipment required by workers to do their jobs on construction companies, contractors, building owners, etc. If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident or if you lost a loved one in a construction accident due to negligence (carelessness) relating to scaffolding, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries, damages and losses.

What You Need to Know About the Law

Here are four important things you should know about New York’s Scaffold Law:

1. It protects workers from fall hazards.

The main goal of New York Labor Law Section 240 (1) is to make sure construction site owners, contractors and their agents provide workers with not just a safe work environment, but also the specific safety devices needed to perform tasks when they are working above the ground. Therefore, this law protects workers from the hazards they encounter when they are working from heights. If a building owner, contractor or agent does not comply with this law and a worker is injured or killed, the worker and/or his or her family has the right to sue the owner, contractor or agent for damages.

2. The law holds owners, contractors and agents absolutely liable.

The duty of care that the Scaffold Law imposes on building owners, contractors and their agents is “absolute.” This means that they can be held financially responsible for injuries caused by a violation of this law regardless of whether they exercised any direct supervision or control over the work at the time of the injury. The law also prevents these parties from shifting the blame for the accident to someone else such as the worker or a subcontractor.

3. The Scaffold Law applies to a number of workers who do different jobs.

New York Labor Law Section 240 (1) provides several specific categories of construction work to which it applies including erection, demolition, repairs, altering or remodeling, painting, cleaning and pointing. If a worker is engaged in any of these activities while working on a construction site or even any other activity at the site at the time of the injury, the law can still apply to the injured worker.

4. If a worker is engaged in a “covered activity,” he or she should be provided with safety devices.

The Scaffold Law requires owners, contractors and their agents to provide appropriate safety devices to perform the work safely. Such equipment includes scaffolding, hoists, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys, braces, irons, ropes and other devices. They also have the responsibility to ensure that the safety devices are constructed, placed and operated in such a way that they provide the worker with protection. In addition, they must provide training to workers regarding how to use the safety devices.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

If you have suffered injuries in a construction-related accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.

Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker (an undocumented immigrant) who was injured on the job – one of the highest construction case settlements in New York that year. Our law firm also recovered $3,000,000 for a man who fell and suffered two broken legs when he walked into an open elevator shaft. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and/or medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:

1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES

Please visit us at:

Leave a Reply