NY Labor Law 240: Scaffolding and Ladder Laws

NY Labor Law 240: Scaffolding and Ladder Laws

Nearly 2.3 million construction-related workers spend part of their time on scaffolds each day. According to the US Department of Labor , this represents 65 percent of the industry’s workforce. Scaffold falls contribute to 40 percent of all work-related deaths in the US Many more people suffer injuries and life-changing conditions as a result of these scaffolding incidents. At Siler & Ingber, LLP, our goal is to help you obtain the compensation you are owed after such an event occurs.

Construction workers have rights

Every worker has the legal right to have a safe place to work. Employers are responsible for providing this type of environment. Construction work environments tend to be the most challenging places to stay safe due to the many risks and dangerous tasks associated with this job. However, there are several laws that aim to protect workers in these situations. In New York, Section 240 of the Labor Law deals specifically with scaffolding and ladder-related falls.

This law provides workers with protection against injury and death from falls/falling objects. Workers have the right to recover damages after these types of injuries occur on a construction site. It applies to:

  • Construction workers who fall from elevated platforms (such as ladders, scaffolding, or boards)
  • Construction workers injured by falling objects from any height.

New York scaffold law provides some of the most important liability protections for construction workers. Provides coverage where other laws do not. Specifically, this law imposes absolute liability. It applies directly to the owner or his agent in the incident. If a worker falls, suffers damages and losses, and goes to court, the case will focus solely on the amount of damages to be awarded.

Challenges of the Scaffolding Law.

Because of how intense and absolute this law is, that employees who fall must be compensated, it is one of the most difficult cases to bring to court. These cases are highly controversial and almost always end up in appellate court. For this reason, having a well-established case and an aggressive attorney is critical.

What are the requirements of labor law 240?

The following requirements must be met before the law can be applied to a case:


The law does not apply to homeowners or contractors working on one- or two-family homes. Specifically, this law does not apply when the owner does not have control over the work. If the homeowner directs the work and an incident occurs, then the homeowner may be liable.

This law applies directly to larger homes (more than three families), as well as all commercial buildings and apartments.

Work done to the structure.

The law only applies if the work is done on the structure itself and not on other items (such as trees). All types of structures are covered by this requirement, including tunnels, cars, ships, bridges, garages, and buildings.

Also, the type of work matters. Labor Law 240 only applies if there is demolition, cleanup, structure construction, alteration, painting, signage, and/or repair. This also includes erecting scaffolding, ladders, braces, and other devices.
The law only applies to the construction, not to the decoration, maintenance, or fabrication of the structure. Here are some examples of jobs that do not apply:

  • The installation of Christmas decorations.
  • Cleaning by maintenance staff.
  • Change light bulbs or manipulate the cleaning of the ceiling.
  • Installation of air conditioning filters or other routine maintenance.
  • Inspection of construction works.

The Rule of Gravity

Labor Law 240 also protects workers from the dangers associated with gravity. In other words, gravity caused the individual or an object to fall.

  • Working at heights where an injury occurs, but not a fall, does not qualify
  • A worker’s thermos falls off the scaffold and is not applied because this instance is the result of carelessness, not scaffold failure.

As you can see, these laws are very extensive, and obtaining accountability for them can be challenging. As a result of this, it is important for people to seek the support of an attorney. There are many steps necessary to ensure that you receive the compensation you are owed in scaffolding and ladder injuries.

Schedule a FREE Case Review on your NY Scaffolding Accident

People who sustain injuries from falling ladders or scaffolding in New York while working may be eligible for compensation. However, proving your injuries and losses can be challenging. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you work with the experienced liability compensation attorneys at Siler & Ingber, LLP. To learn how we will help you receive the compensation you deserve, call us for a free case review at 877-718-6079 or use our online contact form for more information.

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