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Protection Under Labor Law 240 for Falls from Heights

New York Labor Law 240, also known as the Scaffold Law, provides additional protection for NY construction workers involved with construction at elevated heights. No other state than New York offers this extent of protection for workers in the construction industry.

Landowners, their agents, general contractors and subcontractors may face liability under Labor Law 240 when injury or death occurs due to unsafe work conditions.

What is a landowner’s or contractor’s responsibility?

Labor Law 240 does not apply to owners of one and two-family dwellings who contract for work but do not direct or control the work. All other landowners and contractors directing and controlling the contracted work are responsible for safety involving the following type of construction work:

  • Erection
  • Demolition
  • Repair
  • Alteration
  • Painting
  • Cleaning
  • Pointing of a building or structure

A key factor related to liability is whether the contractor or landowner or landowner’s agent actually controlled the activity that resulted in injury. If so, an ability to avoid or correct the unsafe condition existed. Failure to do so would be negligent.

If the general contractor oversaw the construction work, and the landowner did not, then typically, the landowner would not be held liable. If the subcontractors directly controlled the work, then generally speaking, the responsibility would not fall onto the general contractor. Of course, there are exceptions and many nuances in a law as broad as Labor Law 240. Case law also would apply.

Safety Devices

Based on Labor Law 240, the owner, agent or contractor must furnish or erect appropriate safe devices to protect workers from the risks of working at elevations 20 feet or higher.

Safety devices could include: 

  • Scaffolding
  • Hoists
  • Stays
  • Ladders
  • Slings
  • Hangers
  • Blocks
  • Pulleys
  • Braces
  • Irons
  • Ropes
  • Safety rails

With proper safety precautions in place, hazards become minimal and workers should not be at great risk for accidents. Wearing harnesses and erecting properly fastened safety rails are examples of appropriate safety measures.

If you are seriously injured in a construction site accident, you should consult with an attorney. Initial consultations are free and there are no fees unless we are successful. We take construction accidents on a contingency fee basis.

Do you have further questions about How Labor Law 240 applies to your construction site accident?

Contact the New York law offices of Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP and schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We can discuss your claim.

Call us toll free at 888.519.6400, or contact us in Garden City at 516.248.2234, or in Flushing-Queens, Brooklyn or the Bronx at 718.539.3100. You can also fill in our contact form, and we will get in touch with you.

We know you take your injury seriously, and so do we.

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With offices throughout New York City and Long Island the personal injury attorneys at Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, assist accident victims throughout New York, including the cities of Manhattan (NYC), Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Flushing, Bayside, College Point, Jamaica, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona, Long Island City, Elmont, Forest Hills, Ozone Park, Springfield Gardens, Rosedale, Laurelton, Hollis, Ridgewood, Nassau, Hempstead, Elmont, Mineola, Freeport, Garden City, Uniondale, Westbury, Roosevelt, East Meadow, Levittown, Franklin Square, New Hyde Park, Williston Park, Valley Stream, as well as the communities in and around Nassau County and Suffolk County.

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